There’s a gap between marketing and sales.

Marketers complain about salespeople who don’t make effective use of the materials marketers work so hard to give them. They ask questions like, “Why did I spend all this time on a first-class sales script when salespeople just end up winging it?”

On the other side, salespeople wonder if marketing really understands what it’s like on the front lines. “Sure, they know marketing theory, but do they really know my customers? Have they ever been on a sales call?”

What the gap represents is different training. Different ideas. Different experiences. The kind of differences that you want to keep, not crush.

The reality is that both sides have a point.

Sales is really tough, and salespeople deal with lots of rejection. And with lots of rejection comes a deep and hard-won understanding of the people they work with – what they want, what they definitely don’t want. Sometimes the flyers, emails and other materials they get from the marketing team are right on the money.

But sometimes they’re not. This is when salespeople go off script, so to speak, which is completely understandable. They have a pretty good idea of what’s going to fly and what’s not. They may even communicate to marketing what isn’t working with a particular piece or even a whole campaign, then get frustrated when marketing nods and carries on just as before.

For their part, many marketers have never stood face to face with a customer asking for a piece of business. Most have never stared at a CRM database figuring out where to go next. Most have never experienced the challenge and rejection of a day on the phones. Most have never felt the high of the closed deal or the crushing disappointment of the lost deal you knew you had.

But this doesn’t mean they don’t understand how to sell. They may get it wrong sometimes. Not being in direct contact with customers on a daily basis, it’d be surprising if they didn’t get it wrong sometimes. But they also get it right, more times than not.

The point is, both of you – marketing and sales – are working toward the same goal. You’re coming at it with different skillsets and perspectives, sure, but what you’ve got in common far exceeds what you don’t. If you drew a Venn diagram, you’d find the overlapping part of the two circles is a lot bigger than the part that doesn’t overlap.

So the part that doesn’t overlap? That’s your gap.

Bad gap. Or is it? Is the solution to eliminate that gap?

Absolutely not. In fact, that gap is a good thing. Or at least it can be.

What the gap represents is different training. Different ideas. Different experiences. The kind of differences that you want to keep, not crush. Get rid of the gap and where are all your really good ideas – the ones neither side is going to think of completely on their own, the kind that change the game – going to come from?

Why the gap between marketing and sales? Better to be glad it’s there in the first place. But to make it work for both teams, communication has to improve. The best ideas from both sides need to meet in the middle of that Venn diagram, roll around, get mixed up, and result in something better than the sum of the parts.

To be a great strategic partner to sales, marketers need to be deeply immersed in the business and sales process. Salespeople, on the other hand, should take the time to understand why marketers do the (sometimes confusing) things they do.

Then both sides need to communicate. A lot. They need to explain what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. To share what works and what doesn’t. To walk a mile in each other’s shoes, and in the process, learn not to dread the gap but to use it – and do more business along the way.

At LEAF, we know the ins and outs of commercial equipment sales businesses, and we’re here to help you solve real problems, like establishing a marketing approach that can actually help you improve sales.