Why Growth and Sales need to work together

I’ve written a lot about different possible processes and team structures when setting up and scaling a growth department. One thing I often mention is that all the departments in your company contribute to growth and therefore need to work closely together.

The risk of a sales vs. growth rivalry

I’ve worked with half a dozen companies where sales and marketing were not aligned. In most cases, this misalignment can be incredibly problematic. In some instances, I’ve even worked with businesses where sales and growth were rivals or even nemeses. This can be a serious blocker for scaling your efforts.

Companies are a bit like football teams. Sales people are like strikers; they need to be clinical and effective and they are the ones who make sure we ‘score’ (close). Growth people are more like midfielders. We score the occasional goal, but our main job is holding everything together and providing enough assists (leads) for the strikers to score.

As in football, it isn’t unusual for strikers to blame midfielders for not providing enough solid passes; much as midfielders can sometimes blame strikers for not scoring from their beautiful assists. It’s important to avoid any sort of blame-games. After all, we’re all just trying to get the best results.

Sales and growth share a number of goals

Even though sales and growth might have different OKRs and some different metrics to track, it’s important to keep in mind that long-term revenue growth is a key metric that both departments share; and it’s not something that both departments can effectively work on if they are isolated from one another.

It’s in everyone’s interest to collaborate. Sales people want to have the best leads possible for them to close and marketing people want to know that their leads are being closed effectively.

Making sure you coordinate on things like lead flow, lead qualification and consistent messaging is vital for ensuring a seamless customer experience.

Growth and sales can learn from each other

At Recruitee, we work very closely with the sales team to make sure we are on the same page in terms of short-term and long-term strategies for growth. The way we do this, is by having a monthly meeting between the two departments which we call ‘Sales ❤ Growth’ or ‘Growth ❤ Sales’ (we switch it up every month). In these meetings, we outline the key challenges that we can solve together.

One example of this is messaging. To provide the best customer experience and close deals, you need to make sure that your messaging is consistent. We regularly align with sales to ensure this is the case.

Another is data-attribution, which can be challenging in B2B SaaS. A couple of months ago, we asked our sales guys to ask new customers where they first heard about us and where they decided they would choose our product. This turned out a to be incredibly helpful, providing vital qualitative insights to contextualize and enrich our quantitive analytics. This has become a regular practice for us since and has contributed to a number of important measures we have taken to improve lead generation.

The most useful way in which growth and sales can learn from each other is through feedback. Lead scoring alone won’t give you the full picture on the quality of your leads; especially when you’re testing a new channel. Whenever we test something new or expand to a new market, we make sure we align with sales about how good the leads are in terms of heat, education and ease-of-closing, allowing us to gather vital soft data and make quick decisions despite a lengthy sales-cycle.

Sales and growth can share resources

The last thing that should bound sales and growth is the chance to share insights and resources.

There are so many things that are shared by sales and growth; value propositions, messaging, market expansion strategy, promotional materials, content and outbound copy — to name a few.

Our ability to quickly outline our shared challenges and pool our resources allows us to be flexible, lean and quickly achieve results.

The most important thing is that there is a strong and open feedback loop. If you build a culture of collaboration over confrontation, you can reap the benefits of a seamless coordination on customer acquisition.