Sales and marketing have perhaps the most well-known tension since cats and dogs — only it’s far more important they get along.

Short of couples therapy or family counseling, how do you cut the tension between these teams and create a symbiotic relationship leading to stronger sales messaging that consistently wins over buyers?

In this episode, we’re speaking with Michael Schaumberger, Principal Executive Advisor and Global Lead for Insights and Messaging at Challenger. He shares the secrets to bringing your sales and marketing teams together to build an insight-led selling approach.

Listen as we discuss:

  • Marketing’s role in developing a sales narrative
  • The misconceptions both teams have about one another’s roles in the sales process
  • The rise of sales enablement and how it’s helping to bridge the sales and marketing divide

Listen to “#64 Aligning Sales & Marketing for a Stronger Sales Narrative” on Spreaker.

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The role of marketing in developing a sales narrative

Collaboration and alignment between sales and marketing is perhaps one of the least understood and most important tools for meeting your customer where they are and providing excellent value.

Still, there’s one thing many don’t understand, but we’ll let you in on the secret: Marketing plays a huge role in developing a sales narrative.

“Marketing is a big part of the process in terms of understanding what’s out in the market and what customers are looking for,” Michael says.

While sales drive the processes and offerings to customers, marketing plays an essential role in determining what the customer needs. With its direct line to potential customers and its feet on the ground in the market, marketing has insights into competition and demand that provide sales the upper hand when it’s time to convert.

“Marketing needs to be brought in every day,” Michael says. “They need to be thinking about how to change the course of the alignment and how to get the customer to think differently about what they’re doing.”

But alignment and cohesion can be easier said than done. According to Michael, leaders need alignment from the very beginning.

Misconceptions about sales and marketing in the sales process

While both sales and marketing play essential roles in the sales process, both teams tend to have misconceptions about the other. 

While there are many others, Michael says there are two major inaccurate beliefs everyone should be aware of:

Misconception 1: Sales is just building a script

As an organization goes through the sales process, other departments may begin to think sales’ main focus is script development. Marketing teams, in particular, often believe that businesses build troops of script-spewing robots that can only connect with potential customers when parroting lines verbatim — but that’s simply not the case.

In reality, sales is being educated about the customer journey.

“We build a conversational guidepost,” Michael says. “Everyone should be tailoring the conversation to their own style, comfort level and the stakeholder they’re talking to.”

Consistency is key, but not in a robotic sense. Rather, the sales process should be consistent while still allowing for differentiated conversation.

Misconception 2: One insight fits all

A single insight can be groundbreaking, but no matter how newsworthy it is or how many initial leads it attracts, one insight doesn’t fit all — and it certainly won’t last forever.

“I want you to build a library of insights,” Michael says. “Depending on the stakeholder, the vertical, the initiatives that are going on, we’re going to have differentiated conversations.”

What works for one client won’t always resonate with another.

All good things must also come to an end. As time passes, competitors catch up, customer needs change and different processes and fresh challenges emerge. The solutions for today’s problems likely won’t hold up to the challenges of tomorrow.

That said, your sales process should reflect a diverse, evolving environment and prepare you for the future as long as you make continuous deposits into your library of insights.

Michael shares how you can use unique commercial insights to drive success by:

  1. Capturing your customer’s current thinking
  2. Exposing the flaws or misinformation
  3. Presenting a better course of action that ties to your unique capability

The rise of sales enablement (and how it’s bridging the divide)

The tension between sales and marketing has long been unhealthy. Fortunately, it no longer has to be. Sales enablement has increasingly gained attention over the past several years and succeeds where no previous counseling or process has — bridging the divide between sales and marketing.

To explain the relationship between all three functions, Michael draws parallels to that of parents and kids or a couple going through marriage counseling.

“Sales and marketing are kids and they’re fighting or they’re not communicating properly,” he explains. “Sales enablement helps calm their nerves and gets them both working together.”

The role of sales enablement goes beyond creating cohesive communication, though — it helps create consistency. That way, all the voices in an organization are in alignment with the execution of its goals.

“So many people look at a sales enablement as a training function,” Michael says. “But it’s more than that. It’s the piece that keeps the connections together to make sure voices are being heard and there is consistency throughout the organization.”

Want to learn more about gaining sales and marketing alignment? Listen to the full episode of Winning the Challenger Sale where Michael reveals more about marketing’s role in developing a sales narrative, common misconceptions between the teams regarding their roles and the rise of sales enablement

To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the Winning The Challenger Sale podcast on our website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or just search for it in your favorite podcast player.

Andee Harris

Andee Harris is CEO of Challenger. Andee brings more than two decades of experience growing and scaling service and technology businesses. She has previously led multiple companies, both as CEO and Senior Vice President, through periods of rapid revenue growth, critical fundraising, and successful acquisition. These companies include Highground (acquired by Vista Equity Partners), TMBC (acquired by ADP), Syndio and Emerging Solutions (acquired by Emtec).