Marketing. Sales. A Rose By Any Other Name… (Part 2)

I’m revisiting a topic, which is sales vs marketing. Why? Because I think it’s easily ignored, especially in professional services firms. And to prove that any good metaphor eventually breaks down.

To illustrate my point, I want to tell a story. A modern parable if you will.

But first, a note: I realize most professional services firms don’t have huge corporate headquarters with auditoriums and separate, fully-staffed marketing and sales departments. Frankly, the very reason our firm exists is to serve as, or supplement, the marketing and sales “department” for our clients. That said, the principles in the story hold true. Like I said, there are no perfect metaphors!

So, on with the story.

The setting is the corporate headquarters of a regional CPA firm, Verona Partners. The employees are all assembled in the auditorium for the release of the firm’s annual report. The mood is tense, as this year has been… well… different. Things have been ok, but there just don’t seem to be as many new clients coming in.

The sales team is working as hard as ever, and the marketing team has been putting out great content. But the two department heads, and subsequently their respective team members, are hardly on speaking terms. Most see this as a bad thing, but nobody really says much about it because sales and marketing don’t really need to work together anyway.

Just as the meeting is about to get started, a commotion is heard in the back of the room.

Cap, VP of Marketing: “Our fault?!?! If you pretty boy salesmen would bother to use any of the marketing materials we produce, maybe you’d have something to talk to your prospect about!”

Monty, VP of Sales: “Don’t tell me how to sell! You stick to your blog posts and junk mail and leave the heavy lifting to me and my team!”

As this is going on, a very different scene is playing out near the front of the room. Julie, the newest — and lately the highest-performing — member of the sales team, is in a heated discussion with a member of the marketing team — Romey. Only this discussion is heated for a very different reason.

Julie: “Romey — I’ve got a huge meeting with a prospect tomorrow morning. What do you meanthe new pitch deck isn’t ready yet?!?”

Romey: “Look Julie, I told you I’d get it done and I will. I know what the deadline is and I know how important the pitch deck is to your process. Relax!”

The other members of the respective departments see each of these heated discussions and immediately move to break them up. If there’s one thing they don’t need at Verona, it’s another vicious marketing-sales turf war.

The two groups grab their people and split the room like the red sea. But as they do, Romey and Julie tear themselves from the masses and run to the center of the room. Standing back to back, they make their impassioned appeal:

Julie: “Don’t you see what you’re doing to Verona? You’re tearing us apart! Marketing or sales, sales or marketing. It’s all communication!”

Romey: “She’s right! What are we all but storytellers? They with their lips, we with our pens. How can we connect with our prospects if we are a firm divided?”

Ham from HR: “To be, or not to be, that is…” Sorry — got carried away.

Mr. Prince, CEO: “Julie, no! Put down the knife!”

Julie: “Relax! It’s just a box cutter to open the stack of annual reports. What did you think I was going to do, kill myself because sales and marketing don’t get along? Wow — you guys read too much Shakespeare.”

Aaaaand scene.

Originally published by Cygnal — “Marketing. Sales. A Rose By Any Other Name… (Part 2)