How can Sales and Marketing work together to create a dream team?
Your revenue engine works best when Sales and Marketing are working in lockstep, yet for many organizations, this is just a dream. Their tools, tactics, metrics and mindsets get in the way of making this fantasy a reality. That’s why I asked Shane Snow “How can Sales and Marketing work together to create a dream team?”
Shane is the Founder of Contently and author of the book Dream Teams, which explores why some teams succeed while others fall apart. In other words, he’s the perfect person to answer this question and explain how teams can get on the same page. I highly encourage you to check out Dream Teams.
Without further adieu, please enjoy this vlog with Shane Snow!
Hey, everyone. Brandon Redlinger here, Director of Growth at Engagio, and today I stoked, because I am talking with Shane Snow. Shane is the Cofounder and Editor at large at Contently, and one of my absolute favorite authors. He wrote the book SmartCuts, which is one of my favorite books of all time, and he just published Dream Teams.
Dream Teams is about how teams can really work together without falling apart. So my question is, how can B2B sales and marketing teams leverage some of the principles within Dreams Teams, so we can build a Dream Team of their own, within their organizations.
So, Brandon, thank you for your question. There’s so much here, but there’s a few things that I can say. The first is that one of the biggest problems with a lot of teams, especially when you have factions within those teams, is the, in psychology terms, this super ordinate goal is not the same.
So, what that means is, everyone has a list of goals in their life at any given time, usually your primary goal is to stay alive. But, anything on down from there, those are your other goals. And what your super ordinate goal is, is whatever’s the most important goal out of all of your list at a given moment.
And a lot of times when you have a sales team and a marketing team, each of those team’s super ordinate goal is a little bit different, or maybe individual members within those teams have a different goal that is their top goal. And, this happens, a lot of times, because of the ways that we incentivize teams. You know, the most typical is your incentivize a sales person to makes sales, that’s how they make money, you promote them when they make a lot of sales.
And sometimes you might, everyone on the sales team shares in the joint success. If you all hit quota, than you get some sort of incentive as well. A lot of times, that’s different than a marketing team might have, and in theory, all of this should roll up to the company doing better. You know, if the marketing team’s are to get leads or qualified leads, or whatever it is, and we try to spend as much time as can aligning those, but one of the biggest breakdowns that happens, and the biggest argument I usually see, even in my company is, oh, well we can’t hit our goals because we’re not getting enough good leads from the other team.
Or, we’re getting these great leads and the sales team won’t close them. And so the first rule of great teamwork is everyone needs to feel like they are part of one team. And this, too often happens. That, the little things we do from the incentives to just the way we talk about our teams leads us to have these factions.
Another things that happens, an easy way to get a little bit more of a team thing going on, is we actually physically sit the sales people and the marketing people away from each other. I think it’s actually really important to mix people. You don’t get that much more efficiency from having all the sales people together. You got a little bit, you get some excitement, but if you actually have people mix, or even better, switch seats. Rotate the seat assignments. That’s even better, because then people start to learn the plight of each other.
One thing that happened, not between sales and marketing, but between sales and design in my own company, years ago. Is there’s this beef between the design team and the sales team, that they were frustrated with the sales team, had all these demands, things that they wanted the design team to do. They didn’t get the deadlines and the design team thought that they were being pushed around, and the sales team thought that the design team was being difficult.
And I remember sitting down with my head designer, my art director, and explaining to her how sales commissions worked. And this light bulb went off. She didn’t realize that Cory or whoever it was on the sales team, who was hounding her so much for this design stuff, and now that he made rent if he made enough sales, and if he didn’t make enough sales, than he couldn’t make rent.
And her realizing that, gave her so much more empathy. And that’s actually the second thing I would say about getting the sales team and the marketing team to work together, is get them to build empathy with each other as individuals, as human beings, ’cause it’s easy to hate on, or it’s easy to have beef, or just not do, be us versus them, when someone’s a category, and not a human.
When someone is something other than human, this is how every horrible war we’ve had, how we’ve convinced people to kill the civilians, or to not care or whatever, or to do inhumane things. By, ‘we’ I mean the bad people. We turn the enemy into something that’s not human.
So, you want to get your people to get to know each other. Have them share their stories. Send them coffee or to dinner, and get them to talk about their lives, not about work. The more you do this, the harder it is to make things personal, when you have the inevitable conflicts between different people’s jobs.
So, building empathy is really important. There’s lots of stuff in Dream Teams about that. The other thing that I would say is, we think that, and it’s been forever that we’ve had this conception, that getting along and being happy together, and being similar, having similar personalities and interests, and fitting together, is what makes for a great team.
It turns out that all that stuff is nice, it’s fine, but what makes a team is actually the friction between your differences. Cognitive friction is what it’s called. When you start to think of the different things you bring to the table as fuel, that when it mixes, it helps you sort of push the rocket ship forward, and get into orbit, or whatever the analogy you wanna use, that becomes really interesting.
Sales people and marketing people and designers, and anyone else for that matter, in your company, they all have different perspectives, they all have different toolkits that they’re bringing to the table. You want to lean into that instead of avoiding that.
Instead of thinking of that as conflict to be avoided, think of that as conflict to be harnessed. So, when you’re doing marketing planning, invite a sales person or two into the room, to have them contribute. When you’re doing sales planning, have some marketing people, and not just the leaders, not just the people who’ve earned the right there through seniority or whatever.
Invite individuals contributors, random people. So, at Contently, our head of marketing and content, would, in every big meeting, you know, marketing meeting, he would invite someone from another department as sort of an honored guest, and they got to not only sit in and understand, and sort of learn and absorb, but they got to participate.
They were asked for their opinion, they were asked to participate just as much as any other member of the group. These kinds of things start to get you to feel like you’re one family, first of all, but they allow you to actually lean into, hey, I have a different way of seeing things, and that’s important.
And the other people say, yeah, that’s important, so let’s explore that. These are the kind of things that, they’re subtle, and they’re little and they sound simple, but they make all the difference. There’s a whole bunch more in the book about that, when I think about sales and marketing in particular, I think about getting past that, our group versus their group, or our group and their group, and starting to get towards that, we all have the same overriding goal, and we’re all part of the same team.
Anything you can do to do that, the little inefficiencies you think, of actually mixing them too much. That’s actually friction to be harnessed, so there you go.