We see it all too often: The typical discord between Sales and Marketing. Conflicts, friction, disagreement, blaming and shaming. But could there be a way to build on the synergy of collaboration, rather than trying to score points over each other? Believe it or not, the answer is in the animal kingdom.

Monkeys helping tigers

Imagine this: You are a monkey. You’re surrounded by tigers.

But don’t worry, you are not meant to be tiger food! Your primary role is to help the sales tiger to hunt. However, you do need to work together as a team. Because if you don’t find a way to truly collaborate, you will end up being eaten after all.

Relieve the pressure

In any business, we all have targets and objectives. But Sales in particular suffers enormous pressure. Your job as a marketer is to not add to the pressure – but help relieve it. Now, this is not as selfless as it may sound, as you will in fact benefit from it yourself.

The Sales/Marketing teams that are the most successful are the ones that are able to see themselves as part of the same unit. They work together, solve problems together, and allow each other to shine.

Now, let’s try this thought experiment:

Consider the benefits that the monkey has over the tiger. It is small, nimble, intelligent and curious. It can quickly shift from the treetop view to the action on the ground, and has a much clearer perspective of what’s going on. The monkey can help the tiger spot their prey as well as their obstacles, then jump down onto the ground to help track and catch the target.

Communication is key

This scenario, however, only works if it is possible for the two to communicate with each other. Although this is obviously a challenge in the animal kingdom, we make up for it as humans. By asking questions, taking and giving input, sharing insights and valuing each other’s ideas the hunt becomes infinitely more successful than if each was doing their own thing.

As a marketer, you may have access to a set of advanced tools that Sales don’t have, but they rely on Marketing using them efficiently just like you rely on Sales catching the prey. They are not just YOUR tools – they serve the Sales process.

Always consider the perspective of the tiger before you make a decision. Even if Sales may not like your decision, you need to at least be prepared to explain why your decision serves the bigger Sales and Marketing vision.

Stay curious

If you can take one single lesson from the monkey, I would suggest you nurture your curiosity. Stay on the path of continuous learning and development, both as a marketer and as an individual. This will help you approach the world around you – and in particular your allies in the Sales department – with a fresh, creative view.

Want to learn more?

Find the book Hunting with Tigers – the Marketer’s Career Survival Guide on Amazon.