Who “Needs to Know”? Marketing or Sales?

Watch CIA, FBI, or military movies and you’re bound to hear the term, “Need to Know”. We all know that when we hear those words, somebody isn’t smart enough, tactful enough or competent to handle the knowledge appropriately and the people saying those words consider themselves better able to act appropriately.

Recently, I met a sales executive that didn’t know his company was a Hubspot user, didn’t know the kind of data that was available when a lead was generated. Realization started when I asked the question, “How many sales have your salespeople closed as a result of inbound marketing?”
This is what I think is going on. The marketing executive doesn’t think that the sales force is capable of helping with marketing. So, he doesn’t share access to the data.
Could it be something else?
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15 thoughts on “Who “Needs to Know”? Marketing or Sales?

  1. If you believe that knowledge is power, then you have to conclude that the real reason that marketing doesn’t want to share knowledge with sales is because they don’t want to share the power. This is the classic disconnect between sales and marketing. Unfortunately, many marketing ‘professionals’ are insecure about their results and so to share their knowledge (data) with sales is to open themselves up to more questions that they can not answer. Instead they talk about # of visits, inbound links, etc.

  2. As Carole suggests, there’s a definite disconnect here. Why? Hard to say on the limited information provided. But when information stays in the marketing area and isn’t being shared with the sales force, there’s often an executive leadership issue that needs to be addressed.

  3. Absolutely, Bill! Sometimes the question is not, “Who did this?” but rather, “Who let this happen?”

    Thanks for chiming in.

  4. Love this. There is such a traditional and long-standing disconnect between sales and marketing and frankly, as a sales trainer, it really irks me:) Marketing is there to help sales. Sales cannot be executed effectively and successfully without the full trust of sales. Being at odds undermines both departments. I’ve started to run meetings bringing together the sales and marketing teams in my client companies. We have a tight agenda, there is full disclosure and it seems that everyone has bought into the idea and actually likes it. Thanks you for your post.

  5. Exactly, Adrian!

    Maybe there used to be a need for two departments, but it now might be appropriate to merge sales and marketing into the Smarketing department and develop a ‘cradle to grave’ process for customers. We typically begin with an evaluation of ideal/target customers, their needs, etc and compare it with the abilities, talent and mindset of the team. From there, we can develop a strategy to find, attract, nurture, and convert new customers with the understanding that the entire team needs to be informed and involved through the entire process until the customer qualifies as a bona fide evangelist.

    BTW, thanks for being a long time, loyal reader!

  6. More and more teams realize that they need to work in coordination to get it right. ANY information that helps close business is essential. Lead intelligence is one of the most important aspects of creating trust and really understanding what is going on with your prospects.

  7. Interesting that the immediate assumption is that marketing is “hiding something” from the sales team. My thinking is: Who cares if the sales guys know you use Hubspot or not – as long as you’re feeding them useful data in a tool they’re already using every day, they don’t need to. Make sure Hubspot is connected to their CRM.

    It’s been our experience that marketing would love it if sales got more excited about what they have to offer. And sales guys (the good ones anyway) would rather be out talking to customers and closing deals than learning new software tools and analyzing leads’ behavior patterns online. This is new territory.

    I suspect that’s it’s more of a communication disconnect. Assuming that the sales team is already comfortable using a CRM – we need to find a way to get that data into the CRM system in a way that makes sense to the sales rep, and structure opportunity notifications to alert them when something changes.

    Let’s not ask sales to become experts at using marketing’s tools; better to find a way to share our insights using the tools they’re already comfortable with. And send a gracious “you’re welcome” every time they announce a new sale (;>)

  8. Hiding can go both ways. I remember a pretty good salesman that wouldn’t enter new leads that he developed into the CRM program because he didn’t want his manager to start asking questions about their progress, didn’t want help and/or didn’t want anyone else ‘meddling’ in the relationship. So, the “need to know” mentality is going on on all sides.

    To your point, as Dan Tyre said, I think that if sales doesn’t get ALL of the raw data, they get filtered data and the filtering may omit something that’s important. Salespeople don’t typically resist using tools like cell phones, laptops, cars, and credit cards. All sides usually agree that they’re necessary. This is the 21st century and salespeople and marketers alike that don’t use 21st century tools like CRM, social media and an fully integrated sales and marketing process are doing their company, their families and themselves a huge disservice. It would be like owning a smart phone, buying the service, but only turning the phone on when you wanted to make a call. Why have the ability to receive calls, get voice mail, send/receive email, surf the web, etc. if you’re not going to use it.

    If salespeople and marketers resist full disclosure, sharing and cooperation, maybe it’s time for new salespeople and marketers.

  9. Rick and friends.
    I don’t think this is accidental or just communication.That would be nice but there are reasons for a lack of communication.
    Marketing and sales NEED to work together and that means being open. as a sales guy i love to see the lead history and analytics, i do care and most good sales people do. anyone who says why do they need to know probably doesnt or cannot sell.

  10. You can break this down two different ways.

    1. The individual salesperson doesn’t know what’s going on, i.e. is failing to be proactive in generating more sales from inbound leads through learning and doing.

    2. The organization has a systemic problem. There’s no sales and marketing alignment and specific process in place to guide the individual behaviors of sales and marketing personnel.

    In reality, you need both.

  11. Thanks, Frank. I’ve never met a salesperson that can’t glean valuable information from the tracking data that will help make the sale. In addition, marketing can use information from the sales process to attract and convert the next process, if sales shares.

  12. John, I’d go so far as to say that the first is actually part of the second. If a company is looking for 100% alignment between sales and marketing. Doesn’t it mean that the company has to hire or train it’s salespeople to use a process that’s integrated and aligned with all departments in the company?

  13. The biggest kicker is that the sales AND marketing people I speak with agree that there is a disconnect, that they need to work together, yet it still doesn’t happen. Why?How do you get an elephant to take a first step? How do you steer an elephant? How do you get them to keep taking those steps?

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