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Five Tips for Marketing to Win Love From Sales

by Nasheen Liu  |  
September 9, 2013
In the article, you will learn...

  • How to avoid common mistakes of working with your Sales stakeholders
  • Five productive and rewarding approaches to take for Sales enablement

"It's complicated" would be the proper way to describe the love/hate relationship between Sales and Marketing. They depend on each other to succeed, but they don't often get along. Each has a preconceived notion of what the other should be. The interesting part is that this rather intense relationship seems to persist from the most junior personnel all the way up to senior executives.

Marketing often considers the disconnect as inevitable and has learned to live with it. It is, however, neither comfortable nor productive.

Having been on both sides of the fence, I have a few tips to offer to my fellow marketers. Hopefully, these tips will help make your Sales stakeholders fall in love with you.

Tip No. 1: Be specific when asking for input

Marketing needs input from Sales throughout the planning cycle. A common mistake that many of us make is that we tend to be too general when we have a conversation with Sales. We ask questions such as "How can I help you"? "What do you need from marketing"? These open-ended questions often invite plenty of creative yet unattainable ideas. They also set false expectations for Marketing from the get-go.

Instead, be very deliberate and specific when speaking with your Sales counterparts. Listen to what they have to say, but define your questions to seek actionable input. For example: "My budget is X and my resources are Y. Given that you have these five priorities to focus on this quarter, where would be the biggest bang for the buck for marketing?"

This approach makes conversations more productive, helps everyone to focus, sets realistic expectations, and turns input into actionable output.

Tip No. 2: Act like an expert in your own domain

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Nasheen Liu is the VP of marketing at The IT Media Group, a high-touch C-level content and relationship marketing firm based in Toronto, Canada. She has been in technology marketing for over a decade and previously headed software marketing nationally for SUN Microsystems of Canada.

Twitter @CsuiteDialogue

LinkedIn: Nasheen Liu

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  • by Randy Milanovic Mon Sep 9, 2013 via iphone


  • by Tyler Tue Sep 10, 2013 via web

    I love and identify with everything about this, except the following:

    "I laugh every time I see a "PLEASE READ" headline. That email usually goes straight to my trash box without getting opened."

    Your tips on crafting better emails and subject lines are right on, but the idea that you automatically trash all "Please Read" emails just seems small and unhelpful.

  • by Nasheen Tue Sep 10, 2013 via web

    Thank you Randy and Tyler for your comments.

    Tyler, I appreciate your perspective about the "PLEASE READ" section. It wasn't my intention to recommend that people should delete "PLEASE READ" emails without opening them. I just shared they didn't do much for me. The reason they go straight to my trash box is that I find them unnecessary and frankly a bit insulting. Are there any emails we send that we don't want our receivers to read? We open our emails because either the sender or the subject or both are important to us...not because someone is shouting at us in caps:-). The message here is to focus on building credibility so that we don't have to "demand" attention and respect.

  • by Caroline Le Brun Sat Sep 14, 2013 via web

    These are really great tips and I would add to this "Don't give up" they do come around. Even though you'll embrace these 5 tips you will see that change takes time, and when you are ready to give up is probably the time when you need to push a little more and get the breakthrough you have been expecting. Just don't give up!

  • by Gracious Store Fri Sep 20, 2013 via web

    One of the main reasons why many people including sales/ marketing department do not get along is if there is poor communication. So the best way to improve any relationship between these two departments is to improve communication between them and each party must be willing and ready to listen to the other party

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