If it seems strange to think about marketing and sales organizations in the same company as “frenemies,” you probably haven’t been a part of marketing or sales teams.
There are many understandable reasons why dysfunction exists between these teams that are so dependent on each other for shared success, most notably:
For scalable success at any company, including those within healthcare and MedTech, it’s important to keep harmony between marketing and sales teams. Here are six tips for fostering win-win relationships.
1. Complementary Goals
In theory, marketing and sales share the same goals related to company success, but the common reality is that these teams have different goals. Furthermore, these goals are measured and compensated differently.
In many companies, the marketing team might not know what the sales team’s goals may be, and the sales team would want all marketing goals to be entirely focused on helping the sales personnel reach or exceed their quotas.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing for marketing and sales to have different goals in terms of how their success is measured. However, when the goals can be structured and incented to be complementary, the potential for increased success for both teams and for the organization is amplified and exponential.
Establishing and linking complementary goals between marketing and sales teams requires:
Sales personnel are already measured and at least partially compensated on the basis of sales quotas but a frequent concern for them is that they receive too many unqualified leads from the marketing department.
If executive management of the company establishes published criteria for what constitutes a qualified lead (including feedback and hopefully buy-in from both marketing and sales groups), the marketing department could rise in accountability and receive bonus compensation for producing a specific quota of qualified leads.
Salespeople would potentially see an increase in the percentage and volume of qualified leads based on the compensation component for the marketing team pertaining to production of qualified leads.
Both teams benefit from this kind of complementary goal.
2. Agreeing on Buyer Personas
Most businesses have multiple buyer personas based on different types of customers, and different targets within a customer organization who may influence or approve a purchase.
It’s not uncommon for salespeople to believe they understand the buyer persona better than the marketing folks, and vice versa. It’s unfortunately all too common for the buyer personas to be established by either senior management and/or the marketing department without buy-in or feedback from the sales team.
Sales teams that are field-based bring a front-line perspective to the buyer personas. Their interactions and experiences when selling to physicians or hospital administrators should harvested for new or more nuanced insights into pain points, buying preferences or competitive intelligence.
Agreement between marketing and sales regarding buyer personas is vital for both the marketing messaging and the sales tactics to be effective.
3. Organizing Regular Meetings
Not everyone has time for meetings, and unstructured company and departmental meetings can turn out to be a waste of time. However, curing dysfunction and increasing productivity between marketing and sales requires each team to really understand and know each other as individuals and teammates, and not simply as impersonal, bureaucratic departments. Emails and edicts from management are no substitute for face-to-face interaction.
Quarterly meetings and in-person interaction between marketing and sales personnel may appear challenging to schedule but these may be among the most valuable meetings that a company conducts.
Video conferencing may be a reasonable and practical option in some situations but remote dialogue and interaction is not as personal or powerful as being in the same room.
Many organizations sponsor or present at medical conferences or MedTech sales associations to showcase their healthcare innovations. Consider organizing touch points or at least time for social gatherings to allow team members from different departments to collaborate and get to know one another.
4. Creating a Feedback Loop Between Sales & Marketing
Marketing and sales teams benefit from mutual feedback about everything from internal processes to customer perceptions, comments, attitudes, and complaints. Even when a process for such feedback exists, both teams may feel their input is falling on deaf ears.
This is another reason why in-person or video conference meetings are so valuable. It’s harder to ignore or dismiss feedback when it is shared and discussed in direct, real-time conversations.
Walking a mile in the other person’s shoes can be incredibly enlightening and can build stronger, more collegial relationships. Yet, it’s rare to find companies that make shadowing between marketing and sales personnel a regular endeavor rather than a one-time training protocol for new hires.
Many marketing team members would jump on a chance to ride along with a field-based team member to experience a range of different sales meetings to see their buyer personas and prospects firsthand.
There’s no better way to gain perspective and empathy for a sale reps daily challenges than experiences first-hand sitting for extended periods of time in the doctors’ waiting room, or navigating the problem with credentialing medical sales reps to access the hospital or gaining a sense for how busy and typically distracted physicians can be.
An effective shadowing process invites better feedback and collaboration between marketing and sales personnel.
6. Don't Shortcut Lead Nurturing
Marketing teams always feel pressure to produce leads for their sales team. While this is understandable and predictable, it can also be a detriment to the mutually shared goal between marketing and sales to produce more qualified leads.
Different buyers will be ready and receptive to sales interaction at different times during a lead nurturing process within the marketing funnel, but sales managers need to resist the temptation and pressure to shortcut the lead nurturing process.
If the marketing and sales organizations are more interactive, and connected as a result of employing tips 1 through 5, there is a much greater likelihood the lead nurturing process will produce more qualified leads for the sales team to close.
Carevoyance is built with teams in mind. Our tools promote collaboration and coordination at every turn, such as codifying and sharing your buyer personas to auto-generating sales presentation with a focused theme or marketing message.
Click the button below to request a free sales presentation and learn how technology can be leveraged to coordinate between sales and marketing teams. Turn former frenemies into a well-oiled machine that accelerates sales to your hospital and physician prospects!
About the Author
Carevoyance contributor Lonnie Hirsch is the Founder and CEO of Hirsch Healthcare Consulting, one of the premier consultants and strategists for helping medical practices and hospitals across the U.S. and in other countries achieve profitable top line and bottom line growth.