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Ending the War between Sales and Marketing

During the 6th century BC, the Medes and the Lydians were battling for territory in what is now modern-day Türkiye. For more than five years, they fought back and forth over the same ground, with neither side gaining an advantage over the other.

But on May 28, 585 BC, the war suddenly came to a halt.

We know the precise day because it was the date of a full eclipse. According to the historian Herodotus, “Just as the battle was growing warm, day was on a sudden changed into night.” Even though the eclipse had been predicted by an astronomer named Thales, the two warring parties interpreted it as an omen. As a result, both the Medes and the Lydians “were alike anxious to have terms of peace agreed on.”

The Medes and Lydians decided to divide their territories at the Halys River. A prince from one group married a princess from the other, and they all lived happily ever after.

Did this event really happen? It’s hard to say because Herodotus was a famously unreliable narrator. But it does point to a universal truth: when two equally matched groups are fighting, it takes something pretty dramatic to get them to lay down their weapons.

We sometimes see a similar dynamic at work within sales and marketing teams.

Because they are so results-driven, the sales team often thinks the marketing team is superfluous. Sales doesn’t always see the value in marketing’s long-term outlook, and they sometimes don’t think the quality of leads they get from the marketing team is very good. They might even feel resentful when marketing tries to tell them what to do.

On the other side of the equation, the marketing team gets frustrated by the sales team’s willingness to sacrifice long-term strategic objectives for short-term sales goals. When the sales team goes off-script and promises something the product can’t deliver, marketing gets blamed. But when things go well, sales takes all the credit. And when you throw in the fact that marketing folks tend to have more education but make less money than the sales team, it’s not hard to see why there is plenty of resentment on both sides.

So should you start praying for a sign from the heavens to stop the conflict?

Well, you could. But we’ve had better luck delving into the source of the problems and taking steps to resolve the root causes of the tension. We explain how in the webinar on Reducing Friction Between Sales & Marketing. It takes an in-depth look at six specific sources of tension and lays out some practical ways to alleviate them. It also explains how to identify mutually beneficial solutions and develop the right interpersonal skills to keep things calm.

And if that doesn’t work, maybe plan a team-building event for October 14, 2023 or April 8, 2024, when the next solar eclipses will cross the United States. Let us know how it goes!

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