I have commented before about the epic battles between Sales and Marketing and how to avoid them. I am following my own advice and being very proactive about getting connected with the sales force and letting them know my strategy and plans, and getting their input and advice. This was very important to do immediately since I was already contacting potential customers I knew in this market and setting up meetings at an upcoming trade show. So here are the steps I took:
Step 1 - Contact VP Sales - I actually called him last week before I started, but he wasn't in, so I left a voice mail. I followed up with an email on Monday introducing myself and my desire to make sure we had "good sales/marketing coordination in this segment". I then listed the companies I was already in contact with about setting up meetings.
I received a "Welcome Aboard" email with the names of the salespeople for the accounts I named, and a thanks.
Step 2 - Contact Sales People - Dropping the name of the VP ("VP Sales gave me your name as the person to contact") I called and emailed the sales people, letting them know who I was, my position, and my desire to speak to them about their specific account. They all called back almost immediately and I had great conversations with all of them. They appreciated me getting their insight, account history, and their advice on how to move forward. In return I gave them my contact names and information, and my promise to keep them up to date on everything that happened at the trade show.
So now that I have included them in my strategy formulation and made them a part of the process from the beginning, sales and marketing can feel (and act like) we are on the same team.