In what has been described as both surprising and shocking by industry leaders, especially given the recent focus in B2B to get sales & marketing teams working more closely and collaboratively together, new research from Heinz Marketing and On Target has found a direct correlation between companies delivering sustained, scalable sales and revenue results, and those that have and even actively encourage an environment of tension between the sales and marketing organizations.

Based on research conducted among more than 500 sales and marketing leaders, directors and front-line producers (a combination of sales reps and marketing campaign managers), the survey found that:

  • Organizations that reported high or very high tension between sales and marketing were three times as likely to hit or exceed their sales goals
  • In organizations where the CMO and/or VP of Sales indicates they either “don’t trust” or “don’t like” each other, sales results were on average 18 percent higher in 2015 than in 2014
  • Companies that have implemented initiatives to improve relations between sales and marketing also reported that their sales results have actually decreased by on average 22 percent in the past 12 months

The study was conducted in early March 2016 and focused on North American companies in B2B industries with revenue between $50-500M/year.

To say that these findings are counter-intuitive to industry expectations is understating the reaction we heard from several B2B leaders.

“I mean, we’ve been told all along that we need to act as one unit, that marketing needs to embrace revenue responsibility and work together with sales,” said Meagen Eisenberg, chief marketing officer for MongoDB.  “This completely changes how I will approach my relationships with sales moving forward.  And hey, wait a minute, will this work with IT too?  Can I start blaming them more for stuff and get my systems integrated faster?!”

For sales leaders, the findings were surprising but not entirely unexpected.

“I KNEW it!” said Trish Bertuzzi, CEO of The Bridge Group and author of the recently-published Sales Development Playbook.  “I never trusted those arts-and-crafts marketers anyway.  The more they piss us off in sales, the more motivated we are to sell the s*%t out of our territories without their help.  The more I think about it, the more this makes complete sense.”

Based on the research findings and implications, Heinz Marketing is developing a new framework for how sales and marketing teams can operationalize their working relationships moving forward.  The framework is summarized by the acronym RAH – which stands for Resentment, Animosity and Hatred.

“Although the data was surprising, we will begin actively helping our clients implement the RAH Framework and develop more palpable tension in their organizations moving forward,” said Robert Pease, pipeline performance practice lead for Heinz Marketing. “If sales results are what we’re after, a few flame mails and shouting matches aren’t going to hurt anybody.”

To read more of the survey’s findings or to get more information about the RAH Framework, please click here.

  • TheIrreverentSalesGirl

    Great article, Matt with a fabulous quote from Trish.

    This article made my day!

    And, yes, it definitely works with my IT guy when I blame him for all that is wrong in my territory. Sales are up 35% since I started doing my own IT work (the result of blaming my IT guy for everything).

    Love it UP!

    The Irreverent Sales Girl