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We sometimes overlook the truth in the axiom: The more things change, the more they stay the same. We read an old poem the other day that compelled us to think about the dysfunctional ways in which many companies go about doing business, have always gone about doing business — in particular, the finger-pointing loggerheads at which marketing and sales people still seem to find themselves. Here’s an excerpt:

Away across the great divide
That separateth teams,
Where marketing and sales collide
Life isn’t what it seems.

While software programs gin up leads
For sale folks to pursue,
Marketing folks write the screeds
By which the leads accrue.

But no one ever seems to guide
Conversions to complete.
So, both sides sit there stultified,
And ne’er the twain shall meet.

Okay. We didn’t read that poem. We made it up. But its relevance abides.

We also sometimes overlook the fact that commerce dates back 150,000 years or more to the point at which prehistoric people started exchanging goods with each other. At first they did it out of friendliness or tribal goodwill. As soon as anatolian obsidian was introduced as the first currency, people who exchanged goods for friendliness and goodwill also realized they did it out of stupidity. And as soon as they came to that avaricious revelation, the people responsible for communicating the ostensible value of exchangeable goods found themselves at odds with the people responsible for selling those goods and realizing the accrual of the currency:

Grok: You no close deal.
Darg: You write lousy copy.
Grok: Prospect wanted brontosaurus hide.
Darg: But me no have time.
Grok: Why not?
Darg: You generate too many leads.
Grok: But you say me write lousy copy.
Darg: Yeah. And why you talk like Tonto?

As if this weren’t bad enough, as soon as the persona was invented — and the distribution of stone tablets was automated by flocks of carrier pigeons — the modern marketing dilemma was born: Marketing people do their thing. Sales people do their thing. And they blame each other if their disjointed things don’t amount to the right thing.

Ready. Fire. Aim. The more things change …

Someday, marketing and sales might remember they need to talk to each other. That’ll constitute either irony or poetic justice.