It’s time to quit the game of sales blaming marketing and vice versa when things don’t go right. It’s a dumb argument, and doesn’t accomplish anything. I have sat in far too many meetings and heard way too many mindless arguments about why “the other group” is not doing what they’re supposed to do.

In my new book A Mind For Sales, I focus one chapter on just this topic and more importantly about how I believe it should be handled.  To keep things simple, let me ask you a simple question before sharing my thoughts. The question is: who is going to know more about the customer – sales or marketing?  The answer is sales and for one simple reason: they’re the ones with the most one-on-one contact with customers. It’s sales that knows why the sale goes through and why it doesn’t. 

Watch the video: Sales Vs. Marketing:



The role of marketing is to create awareness, educate the marketplace and help create need on a macro level. It’s sales’ role to run with it from there and take it to the individual customer. Both departments are absolutely necessary. Each department supports the other. Both have expertise that the other lacks. Most important of all, both sales and marketing do their best when they stay in their respective lanes. 

When I say respective lanes, I’m not saying the two can’t talk to each other. No, that’s absolutely not true. It’s important to have a tremendous amount of collaboration between the two, because each need to know what the other is doing. You don’t need sales to critique marketing’s ad campaign nor marketing to rip apart how salespeople communicate with customers.   

The rubber really hits the road when it comes to leads and inbound opportunities. Yes, a big piece of marketing is helping drive inbound opportunities and leads, but let’s not get carried away. These leads and opportunities are at best “MQL,” Marketing Qualified Leads, they are not yet “SQL,” Sales Qualified Leads.  This means they line up with a potential customer’s profile; however, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a motivated need.   

Sales is the one that determines if the lead / opportunity is SQL, not marketing! It is the sales team’s responsibility to help marketing be as knowledgeable as possible about what makes a lead an SQL; it will help them in their MQL process. Typically, the issue I find is that too many departments cannot clearly articulate what an MQL or SQL is.  Without going into the weeds, here is a quick overview of each one: 

  • MQL (Marketing Qualified Leads):  A person or business who shows characteristics similar to that of a perfect customer. 
  • SQL (Sales Qualified Leads):  A person or business who shows characteristics similar to that of a perfect customer and there’s a potential need present. 

We can make the case that it’s great when marketing can go as far as identifying the customer’s specific need, but this should not be their objective.  When marketing becomes too focused on uncovering the need, they will eliminate too many marketing qualified leads that could, with nurturing, become sales qualified leads.  An exercise I recommend sales and marketing go through on a regular basis is to identify who / what makes a perfect customer. This might seem simple and mundane, but when you isolate the characteristics of a perfect customer, it’s amazing how it can change things for both marketing and sales.

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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