In life, strengths can also be weaknesses. This is certainly the case in business-to-business companies where there is often tension between the sales and marketing teams. In b2b companies, the sales teams are usually top dogs.
Business-to-business companies are obsessed by sales. This is not unreasonable. All companies look for sales because they bring the necessary revenue and growth that is a company’s lifeblood. It also means that sales teams in b2b organizations are the heroes, the go-getters, as they bring home the bacon.
In most b2b companies every customer is a known entity. Each is listed on a database or CRM system, or is in the sales person’s email address book. Sales forces guard these lists with their lives. Customers are where they spend their working hours. Customers have been cultivated and nurtured over time and a b2b sales force is fearful of releasing these lists to just anyone. Market researchers could interfere with these closely guarded and cherished people. If researchers go poking around their customers, who knows what might they find? Worse still, what if these findings contradict or confuse what the sales team has been saying for years?
On the other side sit the marketers. These people are interested in selling products but they are also aiming to build a brand that stands for something that is different and better than the competition. Theirs is a long-term aim with a focus on the company’s reputation rather than a specific product. There isn’t as much glory in this job as the results may not be apparent for some time.
No wonder, therefore, sales is king. But should it be? Both functions serve an important purpose, but the table below summarizes how polarized sales and marketing teams can sometimes be: