There’s sometimes an unfortunate rift between two crucial departments of an organization: the marketing team and the sales group. While this Great Divide exists, it’s still up to both to make a company successful. In an ideal situation – which can exist – the two would collaborate on budget decisions, attend each other’s departmental meetings and share input and ideas for better all-around execution. In other words, there would be no need to “bridge the gap” because there wouldn’t be one. 

However, you can still find plenty of marketing teams blaming sales teams for failure to convert leads, and sales teams pointing fingers at marketing for sending lousy ones. It doesn’t have to be this way. 

Enabling Sales And Disabling The Rift 

Marketing, in its purest form, is simply sales enablement.

Marketing supplies the sales team with qualified leads →  Sales closes the deals → Your company succeeds

So, if there’s potential interdepartmental harmony, why would there be a rift? The answer: Misguided incentives placed on the wrong metrics. More specifically, the division forms when bonuses are brought into the picture. Often times, marketers are bonused on leads delivered, which means that some will send lousy leads to sales simply to hit numbers. That’s when sales gets frustrated. In reality, only 27% of leads are ever contacted, so more of those can result in more wasted time. It should be about quality over quantity.

Then there are other times when marketers are bonused based on revenue closed from sales opportunities. If the sales team does a poor job of closing, marketing gets frustrated. There’s an issue with the metrics being measured here.

Companies need to find the right sales and marketing metrics for each team to be judged and rewarded.

Measure The Metrics That Matter 

The metrics themselves are not the issue. Without metrics, it’s impossible to determine what actions drive results. The real challenge is that marketers are often measured by “fluff” metrics (which are interesting data that do not give us tangible answers), and their compensation is then tied to those numbers. Measuring web traffic is a perfect example of fluff marketing metrics. Everyone loves to see an increase in web traffic. But if it’s up 50% and leads are down 30%, how does that traffic boost benefit the business? Why should someone get a bonus for this? Web traffic is an indicator of success, but not a metric that guarantees results.

Tying fluff metrics to compensation opens the door for fraud, which is ultimately a lose-lose situation for the company as a whole. Identifying the right key performance indicators (KPIs) could unlock the true potential of sales and marketing departments, as they’d be focusing on activities that have an impact on the bottom line and profitability..

How To Set Up Your Marketing And Sales Teams

  • Identify metrics that truly reflect actions and results that support your specific goals and your bottom line. Don’t get caught up in fluff metrics.
  • Be careful in how you tie metrics to compensation, and avoid any approaches that allow fraudulent attempts at hitting numbers. If numbers can be inflated to “check the box” of the bonus requirements, the company suffers in the long run.
  • Encourage your sales team and marketing department to seek out mutually beneficial solutions to convert leads into opportunities more successfully. An effective path from lead to qualified lead enables your teams to drive more revenue together – and bicker a lot less.

What You Need Is Quality

 When all valuable metrics are used in context with one another, the big picture becomes a lot clearer. Make sure you’re focusing on specifics that can give you a tangible “yes” and “no.” Quality assessment of sales and marketing metrics and purposeful incentives lead to quality leads, and thus, quality engagement and success within the company.