If you want to understand why Sales and Marketing can sometimes conflict, check out the movie version of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross. Blake, the character played by Alec Baldwin, represents the company’s management and its marketing department. He abuses the sales team and shows them a packet of hot Glengarry leads, neatly tied with a ribbon. Then he says he’ll only give them to the two top salesmen – the other two will be fired.
Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Ed Harris, and Alan Arkin play the competing salesmen, who spend the rest of the movie bitterly complaining about how unfairly the company treats them and plotting ways to get their hands on the Glengarry leads.
Of course it’s all depicted with cinematic excess, but the story captures the gist of the situation: Marketing thinks it’s doing a fabulous job and blames the sales force for not bringing in new business. At the same time, Sales thinks that Marketing consists of arrogant desk jockeys who don’t appreciate the specialized skills needed to make sales.
These different world-views are the result of the basic fact that Sales and Marketing play fundamentally different roles in developing, maintaining, and growing a company’s customer base. To succeed, it’s vitally important for you, as a business owner, to understand these differences and work to create alignment between both teams.