Do you think sales really uses anything that marketing produces?

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I’m going to guess it’s not very high.

I’ve never worked specifically in sales, although you could argue I sold myself as a freelancer for the better part of the last 36 months. I’ve also worked in sales functions as an adjacent.

Let’s say I’ve sat in close to 1,000 sales meetings, which feels accurate enough.

In those 1,000, I’ve heard references to marketing ideas, i.e. funnel stage, content, resources, assets … maybe about 6–10 times.

I’ve heard references to “touches” and “follow through” and “getting after them” probably 4,000 times.

This is a limited sample size and I am a limited person. But let’s be honest, any “sales thought leadership” you read is by someone with a limited sample size and a specific set of experiences in their life.

The unavoidable fact, though, is that most sales leaders operate on “touches.” It makes perfect sense. A shitty clock is still right twice a day. Even a crap sales guy focusing on touches can do 100 “touches” a day, nail 3 of those, and 1 becomes business. Now the whole ecosystem was worth his time.

Because marketing and sales are often very silo’ed — and that happens because the incentive structures are different — you almost have this common situation where marketing creates their shit in a vacuum, without any idea what sales discussions are happening.

The sales guys (and girls) use whatever helps them sell — which in a lot of cases is steaks, scotch, smile and dial, whatever the hell. I met a guy once who described his sales process as “shock and awe.” As you might guess, I wasn’t a big fan of his.

Who’s gonna send some hard-charging executive an “infographic” with a straight face? Your email would be deleted in under two seconds.

I know the bullshit term for all this is “sales enablement,” and I just wonder how much that really happens. Sales and marketing are two different worlds. They ideally should be aligned, but it feels like they aren’t often.

What’s your take?

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