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If business is a family, then marketing and sales are siblings forced to share the same bedroom. Both think the other one is always invading their space.  Both blame the other for missing socks and having shoes that smell. Both think the other one is always trying to get the other one in trouble at home and at school. One is a slob who believes the floor is the best place for clothes and the other arranges his shirts by color in the closet. Some of you are thinking, yes, that was me growing up while others are glad that you were an only child.   

Video:  Inbound Leads Vs Outbound Prospecting    

You may not agree with my opening paragraph when it comes to marketing and sales in your company, but let’s just say, “buyer beware!”  Things are not always what you think they are or how you expect them to be! Sales and marketing can be nicely holding hands nicely one month and then boom, numbers are missed, goals are not met, and suddenly the cage fight begins with both sides taking bets.  

The alignment of sales and marketing does not have be determined by a cage fight.  I’ve had the privilege to be a part of some of the largest marketing teams in Fortune 100 companies, managing massive media budgets. I’ve also had the honor of making sales calls in multiple industries in the toughest of markets. Both sides are necessary, and both departments need to be optimized if success is expected. 

I won’t go deep into how sales and marketing departments should be set up. Instead, I want to share the fundamental roles each one plays. I’m going to spell it out as simply as I can with the following definitions: 

Sales:  Owns the customer relationship.  Sales is responsible for qualifying prospects, converting them to customers and ensuring each sale made opens the door for the next opportunity with the customer.  Sales optimizes the price, ensures the profit, and delivers customer value to create a sustainable business all parties. The sales department that works with marketing develops the optimal customer profile and owns the prospect development process, with marketing’s assistance.  Marketing will provide “MQL” marketing qualified leads; however, it is the role of sales to turn them into “SQL” sales qualified leads.  Sales understands that they are not dependent on leads from marketing, because they have the knowledge to generate better leads. 

Marketing:  Owns the brand, and its reputation in the marketplace. The role of marketing is to create awareness for the company and products being sold and educate the customer on the value of the outcomes they can receive.  Marketing monitors the marketplace for emerging trends and opportunities. The marketing department that works with sales identifies customer groups to focus their efforts against and helps to create “MQL” marketing qualified leads for the sales organization.  

To put this into picture, let’s view marketing as the one who organizes the party, determines where it’s going to be, the music to be played or the entertainment. They arrange for the food and drink and make sure everything is ready.  Sales is the one that refines the invite list, reminds people to come and when they do come, sales are the ones who get the guests their food / drink and ensure they’re having a great time.   Sales would not be able focus on the guests if marketing didn’t handle all of the arrangements.  Marketing needed sales to ensure people show up and have a good time. By having the sales and marketing teams work together, the party is a big hit, people ask when the next party is going to be, and if they can bring their friends. 

Can you clearly see now the lane that each one is driving in on the freeway called business?  It works and it works well, and best of all when both sides are doing what they’re supposed to do, you can accelerate even faster.  There’s no reason for the back-biting or blame games.  No need for cage fights; all you need is an understanding.

In my new book, A Mind For Sales I have a chapter dedicated to this issue of sales versus marketing and in particular, about how it deals with leads.  When both sides are following the definitions I’ve laid out, it’s easy to see marketing provide leads to sales, but it is sales who’s responsible for the prospecting process.  This means sales must also develop leads; they can’t outsource such a critical function to anyone else.  It comes down to another very simple concept: 

  • Business requires sales 
  • Sales requires customers 
  • Customers are created from prospects 
  • Prospects are found in leads

If you want sales, you start with leads. If I were you, with something that important, I would make sure you’re driving the process.

Be sure to buy a copy of my new book, A Mind For Sales, set to be released next month. Pre-order your copy today!

Copyright 2020, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter” Sales Motivation Blog.  Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Result

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