Bridging the gap between Marketing and Sales

An estound client talks about how to convince your team to quit pointing fingers and start closing business.

The 1992 film Glengarry Glen Ross begins with a famous scene of business bullying. A manager takes away his sales team’s coffee, threatens layoffs, introduces incentives, and berates them for failing to close the latest leads.

“The leads are weak,” one protests.

“The leads are weak?” The manager shakes his head in disgust and literally points his finger at the salesman. “You’re weak.”

Finger pointing between marketing and sales, huh? Who woulda thought?

This friction is as old as the corporation itself. And it makes zero sense. In fact, the whole goal of marketing is to smooth the sales process. So estound asked one of our long-time clients, David DeCamillis, VP of Sales and Marketing at Platte River Networks, about four key ways he helps the two sides help each other.

1. Understand MQLs, SQLs, and the gray area in between.

David DeCamillis, VP of Sales and Marketing at Platte River Networks

Media strategists love to talk about the consumer’s “path to purchase.” But from inside a business, that path looks more like a dance, with Marketing and Sales smoothly passing a prospect back and forth at key moments. 

“There’s one handoff when Sales takes a Marketing Qualified Lead and turns it into a Sales Qualified Lead. And another back to Marketing so we don’t lose sight of the lead, and they don’t lose awareness of the company. And even after a lead becomes a customer, Marketing has to stay involved, cultivating and communicating with that customer.”

How do you keep your team engaged after Marketing delivers MQLs? Try downloading the Tactics Brainstorming Worksheet at You’ll see it includes columns for tactics required after a lead has been qualified. Asking people to think all the way through the sales cycle will get them as excited about closing as they are about advertising.

2. The new three C’s of marketing? Consistent, Constant Content.

A ringing cash register isn’t the only sign of a successful interaction with a prospect or customer.

“For us, success can mean someone clicking, replying, or filling out a form,” DeCamillis says. “If they’re choosing to engage, that’s what defines success. And that’s our opportunity to respond quickly and show we care. So Marketing has got to have the right infographic, article, product literature or whatever ready to go.”

That means creating content. Lots of of it.

A salesperson can’t always be there. but Marketing can be. And if you have a lengthy sales process, like Platte River Networks often does, that requires nonstop attention. “Consistent newsletters, involvement in the community, events, email campaigns… It has to be constant so you’re there when the opportunity is.”

3. Encourage honesty. It’s worth the risk.

Remember the scene from Glengarry Glen Ross? Conflicts like that may not be as unhealthy in real life as they appear on screen. But being truthful about what’s working will require people to set their feelings aside. 

“If we’re getting bad leads, if people are unsubscribing… Sales has to be honest and let Marketing know. On the other hand, if an event or an article worked great, Sales should be coming back with feedback, saying, ‘Yeah, let’s do more of that.’” 

There are a few guidelines, though, that can ensure regroups between Marketing and Sales go productively, without anybody putting their personal opinions in front of the business’s needs.

  • Make it part of the process: Don’t just get Marketing and Sales in a room when something goes wrong. Make it a standard step in your process, so the feedback doesn’t feel like an ambush. 
  • Use scorecards: DeCamillis has his team score MQLs and SQLs on four factors: Interest, Budget, Timing and Understanding. Those four factors may not be right for every business. But it’s important to have benchmarks to ensure meetings stay productive.
  • Look at things, and then people: If revenue is down, resist the urge to assume anyone is to blame. DeCamillis starts by looking at processes, tactics, and even products, “and then, if those are all solid, you can start talking about who on the team needs to up their game.”

4. The future is on automatic pilot.

When asked what success looks like, DeCamillis doesn’t mince words. In fact, he goes straight to the numbers.

“One qualified lead a day.”

Goals like that help everyone approach their jobs more objectively. And they inspire the team, too. But the way to achieve those goals isn’t just new technology or just adding staff. It’s a combination of the two.

DeCamillis believes the most exciting thing about the future will be automation. “No question about it. Being able to document the journey from lead to customer? Having it all in one playbook? Knowing that if we do X, they’ll do Y? That’s going to be amazing not just for us, but for our customers. We’ll always be able to deliver the right message to the right person. And the salesperson and the marketing person will both know it in real time.”

Automation will be a tool not just to increase revenue, but to facilitate collaboration. So Sales gets more leads and Marketing gets better data.

(And hopefully, everybody gets to keep their coffee, too.)

Platte River Networks is one of Denver’s top providers of IT support and technical services. See what they can do for your business on their website.

Want to see how aligned your team is today? Take estound’s Marketing Diagnostic. 

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The UMS method has transformed our business. The discipline it gave us helped us survive through tough times and then thrive with years of double-digit growth. This process works and we are evidence of it.

David DeCamillis
VP Sales & Marketing, Platte River Networks