How many times have you heard of a start-up having a VP of marketing and sales? For those on the inside, having someone who can do both roles is essential to cutting costs for a company that’s new or in the process of a change. However, outsiders that are business-savvy know that this kind of position is a “suicide” for a company that wants to be successful.
What’s the Issue?
The first thing to understand is that sales and marketing are two different things. Sure, they both have the same goal; to make money for the company. But, the ultimate path to get there and the results or consequences at the end of that path, can be drastically different.
The object of a marketing team is to bring in leads by promoting the product to the best of their ability. Of course, there are other things that come into play, but generally, that’s the idea. Sales, on the other hand, needs to snag in those leads, and convert them into becoming buying customers.
Having these roles shared by one individual is actually quite counterproductive. The reason? Well, there are a lot of conflicts that come into play. Not that one should anticipate these kind of conflicts, but being aware of them and how they can negatively impact your company is really important. It’ll motivate you to make the right decision when it comes time to hire.
The Potential for Conflict
Conflicts are often inevitable between sales and marketing, which is one of the reasons a VP of both doesn’t really make sense. Think of it as a presidential candidate wanting to be both a Democrat and a Republican.
Doesn’t really work.
One conflict comes with CRM. If sales can’t update CRM information, then marketing can’t go forward with any of the leads. However, sales doesn’t always feel as though they have the time to make these updates. Instead, they believe that marketing should be able to do what it has to do regardless of sales not updating the CRM.
The second potential conflict comes when marketing and sales can’t see eye to eye about what leads to a sale. The sales department believes that they are more familiar with what kind of person is going to buy, no matter what that customer’s history is. Marketing, on the other hand, feels that they have the specific data that tells them everything they need to know to predict what a customer’s action will be. When sales isn’t trying to work with a customer’s behavior, fingers start pointing where they shouldn’t be.
Lastly, there’s the conflict of vision vs. realism. Marketing tends to be the team that’s comprised of the “dreamers.” The ones that see that with hard work, creativity, and great ideas, anything can be accomplished. Meanwhile, over in the sales department, team members are being a lot more realistic. They know that ultimately if someone wants to buy, they’ll buy. If they don’t, they don’t, and marketing needs to do a better job of honing in on exactly what will make someone do just that. Sales will do the rest.
These are just a few of the problems that arise with marketing and sales. I know what you’re thinking:
“Having someone responsible for both roles will mean that there’s no conflict, because they’ll be aware of the needs of both sides.”
While that argument certainly makes sense, the fact of the matter is that it’s just too much for one person to handle. The jobs are not the same. Despite the fact that there might be conflicts regardless of who is in charge, you simply can’t expect one person to do the work of the apples and the oranges.
In order to get the most out of marketing AND sales, there needs to be two separate roles that can take each job to its highest potential. (Unless, there’s an off chance that the VP of marketing and sales has experience in both fields, without any biases.)
If the sales and marketing teams in your company are butting heads, here’s your “therapist” letting you know that, “It’s completely normal for two people who care so much about each other to have fights once in a while.”
That being said, having a VP of both marketing and sales, isn’t the answer. Instead, other teams, like communications and HR needs to be just as strong to keep everything together. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s all about everyone having the company’s best interest in mind.
Request a demo at Mission Suite today to help your sales and marketing team to all be on the same page.