The "Good" - fostering sales/marketing partnership using the analogy of a champion auto racing team.
I just finished presenting the 2008 marketing plan at my company's global sales meeting and I used an analogy that really resonated with both marketing and sales. If you're trying to more closely align with Sales then try thinking of the combined unit as an Indy Racing team, and marketing as the Pit Crew. Here's the analogy...
Team Owner (President/GM) - Owns several teams (sales regions) and expects a return on his investment in the form of racing championships (exceeding revenue targets).
Driver (Sales Representatives) - Competes aggressively in weekly races in order to earn points toward the championship (exceeding quota). Must be able to perform on his own out on the track, but also needs the pit crew (Marketing) to make adjustments to the car and provide fuel at regular intervals.
Auto Shop (Product Marketing) - Works with the engine designers (R&D) to build the car (product). Must have regular input from the driver in order to enhance the design and make the car competitive week-in and week-out.
Business Manager (Corporate Marketing/PR) - Builds brand awareness with the fans by promoting the driver/team through all media outlets.
Pit Crew (Corporate Marketing) - Provides race strategy (marketing plan) and supports the driver throughout the race by delivering fuel (leads), changing tires (sales tools), and making adjustments to the car (competitive comparisons/demos).
- Crew Chief - VP/Director of marketing that analyzes the competition, develops the race strategy and regularly makes tactical adjustments to the plan. Also develops relationships/deals with other drivers (channel partners) to work together against other teams.
- Fuelers - Integrated marketing managers that execute lead generation programs via the web, events, direct marketing, teleprospecting, etc.
- Tire Changers - Field marketing managers that develop/deliver sales tools, collateral, demos, RFP responses, etc.
The pit crew must work seamlessly as one unit in order to be faster than other crews and give their driver a competitive edge. Moreover they must be in constant communication with the driver in order to make real-time adjustments to the strategy and tactics. The bottom line is that the driver can't win races without the pit crew and there is no reason to have a pit crew without a driver. Sales and Marketing must partner to win the race for revenue.