"Maybe ever'body in the whole damn world is scared of each other." —Slim, to George, in Of Mice and Men
That quote from the well-known John Steinbeck novel may be a bit of an exaggeration if we apply it to the relationship between salespeople and marketers, but it's clear—and not especially surprising—that the people in Sales and those in Marketing can have differing mindsets.
It's also clear that if an organization is to be successful, Sales and Marketing must work hand-in-hand, combining their strengths to reach the company's goals.
How do organizations create empathy and greater collaboration between Sales and Marketing?
We've held key sales and marketing positions for many years and now work for the same company. We've spent many of our waking hours thinking about ways to get salespeople to think more like marketers—and vice versa—and putting that shared understanding to work for our business.
What we've learned is that it's critical to create empathy between the two teams. When you foster an understanding of what each team's members are charged with, they all can more easily understand one another's motivations and behaviors.
Doing so takes a commitment of both time and resources, but it can and should be done.
First up: some primary concepts marketers needs to adopt to understand salespeople.