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.
To bring the groups together and get good results, try these tips:
Practice regular team-building. The fastest way to build resentment within your work force is to imply that one department is more important than another. While some divisions more directly impact the bottom line than others, all your employees should feel their work is equally important and valued by the company.
Trade places. Make your marketing people accompany your salespeople out in the field. Pluck a salesperson for office duty with the marketers. Fostering an understanding of what each team does can lead to stronger working relationships and more effective cooperation.
Streamline systems. While it's important to quantify your business's activities and requirements regularly, evaluate the number, complexity and need for forms and reports at least twice a year. Most businesses have too much unnecessary paperwork. See if you can streamline your systems through less frequent reporting, using e-mail, or some other mechanism.
Check personality issues at the door. While many workplaces are relaxed in tolerating employee individuality, progressive managers may encounter employees who cross the line of professionalism. Make it clear that your employees should keep their personality issues in check. While abusive, racist, sexist or other inappropriate behavior should never be tolerated, simple personality conflicts run amok can also wreak havoc on your employees' productivity.