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Playing Nice

How to get your sales and marketing teams to work together

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This story appears in the November 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Whether you've finally managed to grow your business to the point where you've got separate sales and marketing teams or you're working with an outside marketing agency and a small-but-scrappy band of salespeople, you undoubtedly cling to the same vision: The marketing folks will create greater awareness and demand through careful planning and execution, while the sales team will be out on the streets closing deals. Now if you could only get them to stop bickering and work together...

When it comes to workplace interaction, few relationships are as fraught with tension as that between the sales force and the marketing department. While it is possible to eliminate the us-vs.-them mentality, the productivity of many firms is greatly reduced by the infighting of this potentially oil-and-water combination. While the overall goals of both departments are to promote the company's products, services and image, they achieve those goals in very different ways: Marketers need statistics and hard information in order to do their jobs effectively, but salespeople often rankle at gathering such data because they feel it takes too much energy away from their sales efforts. The result is often resentment in both departments, which leads to decreased productivity for everyone.

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