The Sales and Marketing Divide

Sales | 4 Min, 45 Sec Read

The Sales and Marketing Divide

There’s always this love-hate relationship between the sales and marketing sectors of a company. It has been going on for years and there may never be an end to it! Such a vicious cycle.

Even though both the departments have the same end goal, of driving revenue and contributing to the overall success of the organization, they can just never do it together. No one can understand why. When questioned, this is what they had to say…

Sales Rep:

“Marketers just don’t understand what we consider a lead. We’re passed ‘leads’ that are of low caliber and aren’t even qualified. Why would we want them? And what’s worse, sometimes, we don’t get leads at all. They just aren’t marketing it to the right people.”


“Our Sales team doesn’t know how to follow up and then they complain when they don’t receive leads. And when they do, the leads aren’t good enough for them. How is it our fault? How would they know when they wait too long to reach out or are too pushy when they do their follow-up (s)?”

Define WHO you are selling and marketing to—TOGETHER

Most of the time, there is a gap between Sales and Marketing because the two departments lack a common understanding of whom they are selling to and whom they are marketing to. What better way than to allow the two teams to work together to define the company’s ideal prospect(s) through firmographic and demographic traits. Put the teams together in a room and start the session. The session should include the goals and target audience. The two teams must understand clearly, at the end of this session, as to whom they are going to go after and what personas they should be marketing/selling to.

Define lead stages and processes for handling leads

How can aligned Sales and Marketing lead the way to success? For this, they must understand each stage of the buyer’s journey and how leads should be nurtured based on their stage. The majority of the time, the first-time visitors are not yet ready to buy, so a process for nurturing them into the deal is needed. What is the right time for the lead to be handed off? This too should be decided together, by both the Sales and Marketing. Pinpoint as to which actions indicate a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). From there, create a process for passing the leads to Sales..

Develop content worth reading

The content generated from the Sales department is powerful because they are often exposed to the pains and challenges that the prospects and customers face every day—and what will likely sell them on your company’s product or solution. So team up with your Sales department and question them as to what is on “top of mind” for their prospects or clients. Once you’ve got a hold of this information, your content will be much more impactful and successful—making your job and your Sales team’s jobs easier. Remember, the more nurtured the prospect is, the easier they will be to sell to.

Set marketing goals based on sales targets

How will you know if the Sales and Marketing departments are truly aligned and are working parallel? Only if both departments map their goals to the same metrics and numbers, will this be possible. The good news: it is relatively simple to align your marketing goals with those of the sales’.

  • How do you measure sales goals? Monthly, quarterly, or annually? Now, back your marketing goals to this number.
  • Define the percentage of total revenue your Marketing department is aiming to contribute through lead generation efforts. How many closed needs are required to achieve the number? Once you have that figure calculated, calculate how many qualified prospects you need to achieve that many new clients.
  • Finally, calculate the amount of traffic needed to generate the necessary number of qualified leads.
    Once these values are determined, you can more effectively outline your marketing strategy.

When the two departments know that they must rely on each other to achieve success and they see it happen, they will be working side-to-side throughout.

Create an SLA (service level agreement) between Sales and Marketing

An SLA is a document created to define how the two departments will work together to better achieve success and reach their shared revenue goals. Here are some questions you might want to answer in your SLA:

  • What is each team responsible for separately?
  • What tasks do the two teams need to work on together to achieve success?
  • How will Sales and Marketing communicate with each other, without any hassle?
  • When will leads be passed to Sales?
  • What is the process for those who aren’t yet ready to commit to purchasing?
  • How many qualified leads do the Sales team need to make quota?
  • What is each team responsible for separately?
  • How many calls/emails should Sales make in an attempt to engage with each marketing lead?
  • How often will Sales and Marketing meet to review what’s working and what’s not?


In today’s world, it is of vital importance for any organization looking to achieve predictable, sustainable growth, that the sales and marketing teams truly understand each other’s roles and work together toward the same goals. Target your prospects more effectively by working together to define your ideal buyer persona(s). Sales will have more qualified leads to work and a healthy sales funnel to pull from. This can happen only when your sales team puts out impactful content, the lead stages are defined and the process for handling prospects is clear. And finally, set your market goals based on the sales targets. Create an SLA that both teams can follow, and you will establish a ground that allows both teams to succeed—together. And, now, welcome to the world of Smarketing.