Sales and marketing have the same goal of increasing turnover and improving the company image. However, they use different metrics and methodologies to achieve these goals. You have your classic hard-charging salesperson that wants the sale in yesterday, and all of the client’s needs addressed immediately. On the other hand, you may have the classic visionary marketing executive who focuses on brand, image and experience rather than day to day sales. Sometimes that results in friction and miscommunications.
Of course, it is best if everybody is on the same page. However, that may be impossible. When sales and marketing teams can’t work together, it can cause massive damage to the firm. The team members might wish the firm went down with the ship when all is said and done! There are a few common examples of hilarious miscommunication between sales and marketing.
The most common miscommunication deals with the vision of a particular marketing campaign. The salespeople generally want as many leads as possible. On the other hand, the marketing team seeks to improve the brand image, make an impression and spread a positive message about the company. That results in clashing, often hilarious miscommunications.
For example, salespeople often want to stress the urgency to buy while marketers want to emphasize the urgency. A car company marketing team might want the message of “A safe car, for the long haul” while the sales team might want “Going fast after this weekend prices go up!” The teams go back and forth until a senior manager finally breaks the tie.
Sometimes, the international marketing team just doesn’t understand the local culture as the salespeople do. They may use campaigns that have slogans or numbers that don’t work in the local language. For example, there was the US marketing team that wanted to offer a $250 discount on a product. However, 250 in Chinese has an additional meaning of “you are a fool”. So any customer would feel that they are a fool for buying this product. Of course, sales didn’t appreciate this funny mix up.
The same thing can happen when teams speak different versions of the same language. British, Australian and Indian teams working together often have foolish miscommunications about ideas that are “brilliant”, “rubbish” or “cool” based on the context and whether the speaker was using sarcasm or not.
The same thing happens for domestic teams as well. For example, retailer Bloomingdales created a tagline “Spike your friend’s egg nog when they’re not looking” with a picture of a man eyeing a beautiful woman. This campaign definitely didn’t take into account the cultural context of date rape and how it is extremely perilous for women. Unfortunately, the sales team didn’t have a chance to review and immediately correct this campaign.
Terminology Mix Up
Sometimes, the problem is a simple mix up in terms. A salesperson may call a “lead” what a marketing person calls an “opportunity.” Sometimes a salesperson recognises the entire contract value for a long-term deal upfront in their numbers, while a marketing person only recognises the contract value this month, quarter or year. That leads to a vastly different number and confusion about how the firm is performing. A salesperson might say “our bookings are up 20% over last year” while the marketing person might say “our bookings are down 5% over last year” based on this simple miscommunication.
At Frizbee, we face these challenges every day. How we come to a resolution is not by a “senior manager breaking the tie” – but through the connecting activities, we do i.e. escape rooms / Brazilian BBQs / wine & cheese tastings – that is where we settle our differences.
Interested in learning more about settling marketing and sales differences? Come by for a chat with us! Coffee is on us.