The Vinaigrette Moment: Marketing and Sales Integration

Drip olive oil and vinegar onto a plate, and you end with little pools of each, unmixed, only really able to be enjoyed with some effort by manipulating your fork to get just the right amount of each to adhere onto the lettuce. However, if combine olive oil and vinegar in a receptacle and whisk them, you end up with a lovely blended vinaigrette. This description of basic salad dressing chemistry is a useful metaphor for bridging the divide between marketing and sales – a topic that was the subject of a panel in which I participated at the recent Tech Marketing Summit in Santa Clara.

Fundamentally, there is a lot about marketing and sales that is different:

  • Marketing tends to be more project (campaign) oriented while sales is more process (ongoing, repeated effort) oriented.
  • Testing and educational failure is (or should be) valued by marketing but is not really part of the sales lexicon.
  • And, most obviously, sales has revenue targets while marketing typically does not.

Oil and vinegar. But, with a little effort in the form of enabling technologies like integrated CRM/Marketing Automation systems, and some shared and defined objectives, the two can work separately but harmoniously to achieve good results.

Where things get really interesting, though, is when the two set aside their natural differences and really cooperate and collaborate. For example, if marketing interviews salespeople and finds that 15-20% of their time is spent creating presentations and doing customer research, there is a huge opportunity to give those sales people another 7-10 hours of sales time every week by creating presentation templates and a customer intel portal.  Likewise, if marketing and sales work together to analyze win/loss rates in certain segments, a picture can emerge of latent opportunities to pursue new markets or better allocate marketing investment to maximize the revenue opportunity. It’s only with this kind of collaboration that you get true go-to-market optimization.  And that’s the vinaigrette moment that produces real results.