The Problem with the Sales vs Marketing Blame Game

Traditional sales and marketing teams claim to be partners but let’s be honest- someone is always playing the blame game. We’ve all been in that meeting. You know the one where the CRO says, “Why is pipeline creation down last week?”

Here’s a common scenario we see play out.

Sales Manager: We had no new inbound leads last week and last week’s webinar had 10 people – 2 customers, 3 freemail tire kickers, and 5 people already in an active cycle.

Marketing Manager: We’ve had 105 new leads in the last 6 weeks that have not been called or emailed by the sales team.

Sales Manager: We went through them all.

Marketing Manager: Emailing them one time doesn’t count.

Sales Manager: A bad phone number and a mailenator address don’t equal a marketing qualified lead (MQL).

Rinse and Repeat. Every. Single. Week. Who wins in this back and forth? Sales is frustrated. Marketing is annoyed. Meanwhile, the CRO is mad because we’re off the commitment by 15%

What if instead of siloed departments pointing fingers, we built revenue generation teams comprised of both marketing and sales that are singularly focused on creating pipelines?

Before you start angrily “@-ing” me saying I’m so cynical and your team is awesome because everyone is “One Team One Dream” let me ask you this…. is everyone really in it together? Are your KPIs, compensation, and incentives for each role set up to drive a singular focus? Is that focus revenue?

Many organizations I talk to have well thought out analytical goals. Marketing needs X number of MQLs. SDRs need Y number of meetings booked. Sales needs Z number. In theory, MQLs lead to meetings, meetings lead to pipeline, pipeline means sales. So it should work right?

I was in a meeting where the marketing manager was accepting congratulations for bringing in 1000 new MQLs in the prior month. KPI was green! What an amazing record-breaking accomplishment. SDR meetings booked were up- woohoo. We’re crushing it.

Pipeline creation… down. What? Why? Why were we down with all these MQLs? We should be crushing the number.

Turns out those MQLs were from a content partnership on a topic and to an audience completely outside of their ICP. Sure they had leads. Those leads led to meetings. Those meetings led to conversations with people who had no business pain for the solution we were selling. Goals were misaligned. Now we’re off the number and behind on the only goal that matters- revenue.

Revenue Generation

Don’t call it sales. Don’t call it marketing. Don’t call us late for happy hour. The reality is that both teams need to work together with a singular focus on creating a qualified pipeline through awareness and execution. Revenue generation is the game we need to play.