How can sales & marketing get along?

About Lynn Wittenburg

Senior Vice President of Marketing, Tampa Bay Lightning

I’m often asked how sales & marketing should work together and if they can. There always seems to be tension between the two in most sports organizations, even though fundamentally they should be integrated.

Since I spent eight years selling tickets before crossing over into the world of marketing, the answer seems pretty simple to me. So here goes…..

For the Marketers

Remember you are there to SELL. That’s it. Pretty simple. No matter what industry you are in, you are selling something. In sports, it’s tickets, partnerships, merchandise, your brand (and on and on). You serve SALES. PERIOD. END OF STORY. In fact, you serve your entire organization. So,

Step 1: Understand their goals and objectives.
Step 2: Meet with them regularly in case their goals/objectives change. And not just with the managers. Get to the people ACTUALLY answering the phone.
Step 3: Repeat this until you get it and adjust accordingly.

For the Sales People

  1. Remember YOU are there to SELL. So, focus on your job. In sports, sales is still a numbers game.
  2. Track every sale you can. This really helps marketing since DATA DRIVES DECISIONS.
  3. Give Marketing constant feedback on what is working and what makes the phones ring or makes your job easier.
  4. Know the Marketing Campaign and incorporate it where you can.

My sales pet peeve

Often, sales people go by gut. Here’s a sample conversation:

Salesperson: “The phones were ringing like crazy today”
Me: “Really, how many calls?”
Salesperson: “I don’t know; a lot.”
Me: “Well, what made them call?”
Salesperson: “I don’t know. I didn’t really ask.”
Me: BANGING HEAD ON DESK UNTIL I NEED ASPIRIN with thought bubble rising to the ceiling, “You think it could have been marketing?”

To sum up for both:  CONSTANTLY COMMUNICATE

I can’t promise if you’re in sales you will always get someone in marketing who understands selling and truly knows their job is to help you. And I can’t promise  the marketing department that sales will ever get the big picture and all you are tasked with. When you are focused on building the BRAND, not every message will be a sales one. That’s a good thing that salespeople don’t often get.

But, I do know this: Organizations cannot survive without these two departments aligned and working as one team. So, start talking. Tweet @LynnWitt below or post to your LinkedIn page!


Cover photo courtesy of Certified Su.

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