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Marketing and sales departments ultimately have the same goal – to increase revenue and drive profitability. In order to do so, these disciplines should have a symbiotic relationship. However, for decades, rather than cooperate, marketing and sales functions have been known to antagonize one another like two squabbling siblings.

As the lines between marketing, communications and sales continue to blur, and the analysis of ROI grows ever more intense, Cognito brought together top industry professionals to talk about how they're bridging the divide between these historically disparate departments, and how they're using technology, communication and transparency to create a more integrated approach.

Our panelists included:

  • Moderator: Ryan Barr, U.S. Managing Director, Cognito
  • Nicole Davis, Director of Business Development & Marketing, BBR Partners
  • Christine Farrier, Senior Manager of Field Marketing, Demandbase
  • John Johmann, Head of Marketing & Communications – Securities Services, BNP Paribas - Americas
  • Connie O’Brien, CMO, Tungsten Network


Key takeaways from our lively discussion surrounding better alignment and collaboration between marketing and sales included:


1. Stop thinking that there is a point where marketing “ends” and sales “begins”

  • Siloed teams are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Marketing and sales need to operate as a cooperative rather than organizational obstacles.


2. Bridging the divide

  • Both marketing and sales have to view each other as equals. This works best when companies have balance, structure, shared culture and collaboration from the top down.
  • Make sure everyone comes to the table and meets often. Segregated teams can’t work because it inhibits trust. Companies need to foster trust in order to build working teams.
  • Communication, iteration and transparency are key.
  • Always be thinking about the common goal. Develop end goals that everyone shares. This creates a common language.


3. Understand the importance of your counterpart’s role

  • Set expectations and ensure that everyone is working within the same timeframe and from the same information.
  • Have everyone focus on the same metrics and care about the same goals.
  • Don’t let either team get overly fixated in their own plans or uninterested in the other’s.
  • Respect each other and work in partnership.


4. Develop metrics everyone agrees upon

  • Engagement is king, and that doesn’t mean counting likes and shares. Knowing how something is driving a lead through the funnel is critical.
  • Velocity and turnaround time are paramount to delivering results.
  • Understand how current clients and prospects want to interact with you.
  • ROI should drive budget allocations. Money should not be spent on something if it’s not making a proven impact.
  • Everything you do should track back to the common goal.


5. Develop relevant content for your client/customer, not for you

  • KYC – Know Your Customer – Be thoughtful. Listen and keep an eye and ear out for what your clients are talking about.
  • Including sales’ POV in content development enables marketing to create materials that better connect to prospects through relevant and proven storylines.

As time marches on and marketing and sales evolve, organizations that value culture and integrate the two departments will see the most success. Enhanced technology and tools will mean more data, and therefore, more accountability to ladder efforts back to common goals and increased efficiencies.

As competition increases and margins narrow, there will be heightened focus on efficiency and increasing ROI. Teams accomplishing this through the alignment of marketing and sales will be the ones others will emulate.