The struggle is real. The sales department clamors for a particular deliverable, say, a whitepaper, to move prospective investors or would-be medical device buyers to sign on the dotted line already. The marketing department spends months developing just the right whitepaper, sending it along the way for legal and regulatory reviews. The finished piece, in all of its glory, is at last delivered into the salespeople’s hands. Two weeks later, it’s filed away on the server never to be used.

Why is it so difficult to align sales and marketing?

Differing philosophies, for one. Marketing is in charge of moving prospects down the funnel, from awareness to nurture to intent. In this industry, this can happen painfully slowly. The sales department is in charge of landing the deal, meeting quota, reporting to execs the expected sales and revenue figures – fast and furious. By the time the finished project gets to the sales department, the sales team has already moved to the next emergency.

What’s the secret to a happy sales and marketing marriage?

Listening.

The marketing department’s client is not only the external audience but also internal salespeople. When medical device corporations make this shift and dedicate marketing departments solely to internal marketing, the effectiveness of sales and marketing efforts skyrockets.

Medical device big dogs regularly conduct target market research internally as often as they do externally. Gathering, distilling, disseminating and acting upon data from internal sales and marketing employees gives these corporations a huge competitive advantage. Most conduct brand research reviews, many are A-B testing advertisements, several even ask for executive-level feedback from frontline players – all with internal staff.

Regularly listening to both sales professionals and their marketing counterparts gives everyone a sense of participation and buy-in on company initiatives. It provides executives with a clear picture of what is actually happening from the ground level up. It allows marketing departments to prioritize and respond to sales department demands with far more agility. It provides the sales department with a forum to articulate its collective needs rather than make demands on a project-by-project basis. It gives both departments an opportunity to develop internal communication solutions that will actually work –because they were catalysts to those solutions.

All of these efficiencies add up to marketing and sales efforts moving to market more quickly and with far more effectiveness.