By ZoomInsights staff

Sales and marketing teams don't always play well together. In fact, within many companies, there's a vast, often unspoken (although usually complained about) friction between the people who produce sales tools and the ones who use them to hunt down new business.

This chasm resurfaced recently when a survey by collateral management company KnowledgeTree highlighted tensions between the sales and marketing groups. No surprise: Everyone thinks everyone else could do a little better.

On question after question, sales gurus and marketing geniuses voiced starkly different opinions about the performance of their tools and collateral. Here are the findings — as well as a few tips on how to heal this age-old divide within your own team.

Completely different perceptions

The numbers don't lie. These two teams, critical to business success, need to be reunited, as KnowlegeTree's survey reveals. Check out the breakdowns in the accompanying infographic.

Infographic by KnowledgeTree

The tools may be good, but no one knows about them.

Marketers and their sales counterparts disagree about whether collateral is easily accessible and whether team members are even aware of what they have.

On second thought, the tools might not actually be so good.

Salespeople aren't sure what they’re getting is of high quality, while marketers are suspicious that the materials that result from their hard work aren't being used the right ways.

The tools are one-hit wonders.

While plenty of marketers think their output is as evergreen as it gets, salespeople say the company is sacrificing ROI because of collateral that can only be reused 22 percent of the time.

The tools are stale.

Ineffective messaging can seriously hurt sales, and the salespeople polled report that their tools just aren't fresh (despite 68 percent of marketers insisting their work is up-to-date).

The tools aren't actually helpful.

Only about half of the sales group was satisfied with the tools marketing provided and not one respondent was "strongly satisfied”!

The top five take-aways
How do you fix it? Here are a few lessons for both sides of the great divide to help everyone get what they want and to turn tension into teamwork.

For salespeople

  1. Study up! Be aware of the tools you have, and ask questions if you're not sure how they work.
  2. Get better at using them. Make sure you have a deep understanding of your own sales materials.
  3. Reuse tools whenever possible, and let marketers know which collateral is most useful, so they can make more of it.
  4. Alert the marketing team when tools need updating. They can't read your mind!
  5. Be proactive. You're the sales expert, so propose new tools that you know will work for your market.

For marketers

  1. Hold training sessions to teach salespeople what collateral is available and how to use it for maximum effectiveness.
  2. Develop a checklist to make sure every tool is versatile and reusable.
  3. Manage your collateral life cycle so that every piece gets refreshed regularly, then ruthlessly root out ineffective materials.
  4. Satisfy your sales team. Poll them to find out which new tools will help the most and then create them!
  5. Tag and organize tools so they're easy to find fast.

Multiply win rates
Great collateral can boost sales and drive new business but you only get there when the sales and marketing teams pull together. As KnowledgeTree CEO Daniel Chalef says, "Compelling sales tools get deals closed. When salespeople find the tools they need, it multiplies win rates and dramatically reduces frustration."

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