There are cat people and there are dog people. Then, there are people who love both. And those are the people you wanna be friends with.
Because what sane person doesn’t like one of these:
It’s kind of the same principle as marketing and sales (although, not as adorable). A fully functional B2B company can’t have one without the other.
A successful B2B company actually aligns the objectives of sales and marketing through a little something called empathy. Going back to our analogy, that’d be like one person living in harmony with a dog and a cat.
It can be done, people!
Take it from Gary Vaynerchuk (GaryVee), entrepreneur extraordinaire. I interviewed the VaynerMedia Founder & CEO back in 2017, but his insights are ringing as true as ever today.
The #1 reason your sales & marketing teams aren’t aligned
When someone goes into either marketing or sales, they tend to become apathetic towards the other. Kind of like when you adopt a kitten and the “cat-person persona” along with it.
Who needs dogs, anyways? (Jk, dogs. We love you.)
Marketers: You make a lot of stuff that doesn’t matter. (Gary’s words, not mine. You know how he can get.)
Truthfully, though, marketers have the luxury of testing out a lot of different deliverables. Some work and some don’t. As long as the head of marketing can convince leadership to look at the long-term effects, you’re still going to get the playing time (aka, budget) you need.
It can be frustrating when you don’t have incredibly tangible numbers to present to your team. You know you’re putting in the work and creativity — it just takes a little bit to see the payoff.
Then, when you make that big play and score, you’re celebrated for the whole team’s success.
You see, on Gary’s hypothetical B2B football team, marketers are the wide receivers. You’re the offensive superstar that makes the game-winning catch and is revered for all your hard work.
The narrative is a little different for the salesperson.
Salespeople, you are like the offensive line. You’re there in every 👏 single 👏 play. 👏 Busting your butt, making cold calls, sending emails. But, you hardly get the kind of recognition the wide receivers get.
You’re grinding day in and day out. Even cleaning up some of marketing’s mistakes. People on and off your team often take your work for granted, which isn’t fair, I know.
Plus, you have to meet a quota every month to prove your worth. All while marketing is taking the credit.
“As a salesperson wearing that jersey, you’ve got to make sales. Everyone’s just looking at your numbers. Nobody’s giving you any credit for the setup.”
You can see where there’s gonna be some tension, right?
Empathy for your teammates
Many teams lack the empathy that’s necessary for sales and marketing to align themselves.
So, for the teams that do have empathy for one another, where does it come from?
Heads of marketing. Heads of sales. You are the coaches. If you aren’t showing understanding for each other and the rest of leadership, how do you expect your teams to do it?
Heads of sales: Have empathy towards your marketing counterpart’s objectives. Recognize that everybody’s working towards the same overall vision and that a win for marketing is a win for you.
Heads of marketing: Demonstrate concern for sales’ challenges and offer to create deliverables that will support them. Just because outsiders don’t realize that sales deserves credit doesn’t mean you can be blind to it too. Give recognition where recognition is deserved
“That’s what great coaching is: Getting your offensive and defensive coordinators completely aligned to create a cohesive unit. Most people are not good at it.”
Make karma practical
What happens when you do the right thing, expecting nothing in return?
Gary urges B2B companies to make karma a practical approach between you and your competitors. However, the same idea can be used between your marketing and sales teams.
If your goal really is to align sales and marketing, ask yourself:
“What can my team do to make the lives of our salespeople (marketers) easier?”
Putting yourself in the other person’s shoes — that’s what empathy is. Acting on it is a bonus for the other person and can turn into good karma for your team. Either way, you’ll be on the right track towards alignment.
You might be thinking this article was about marketing and sales (or, maybe cat people and dog people).
Nonetheless, the big takeaways I hope you — well — take away are…
Alignment starts with empathy and empathy starts at the top.
Recognize and call-out the hard work your sales/marketing counterparts are putting in.
Figure out how to make the lives of your sales/marketing counterparts better.
Basically, be a good person. See the positives in both cats and dogs and learn to love both.
We’re all just animals anyway, right? 😉
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