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Sales/Marketing Friction

November 3, 2010

I consider myself extremely fortunate to work within an organization with a tremendously equipped and highly qualified marketing team.  If I need a hand with a tricky proposal, detailed presentation, additional business intelligence on an industry vertical or a strategic prospect – I’ve got a team that fully has my back and can’t do enough to help.

Without naming names or throwing any organization under the proverbial student transport – let’s just say that this has not always been the case within my career.  The best organizations I’ve been a part of have been, what I would consider to be “World Class”.  At the other end of the spectrum the org structures have been loose, informal, and not conducive to positive growth.

Typically, sales and marketing generally reports to some sort of “VP of Sales and Marketing” – a grand poobah of revenue.  The question then becomes a chicken/egg thing – does marketing serve sales or the other way around.  My gut level response is from the sales point of view – sales produces revenue, and until marketing decides they will man the phones and jump into meetings and presentations, sales performance by sales professionals will  drive business growth.  There’s a school of thought that the brand, the identity, and the message makes the company, and that marketing wields that power alone.  They possess the capability to shape and mold the image and in some cases create products and markets in which to sell them.

Yin and Yang.

Black and White.

FoxNews and MSNBC.

As I mentioned, I’m very fortunate to have a marketing engine fueling my sales efforts and driving new opportunities to me while adhering to our brand promise.  they do yeoman’s work – creating all kinds of awesome and supporting everything I want to do within my book of business.  I consider myself lucky.

Unfortunately I also consider this extremely rare.

This will be the first of a four-part series dealing with the tricky relationship between sales and marketing.  Even if you get ZERO help from marketing, and if you feel that your whole marketing department could be cut and life would march forward – there’s still MARKETING taking place at some level, and it’s probably you doing it yourself.

  1. November 4, 2010 9:19 am

    This is an excellent topic that has not been given enough attention in recent years. The fact is that with the advent of all things Social, the relationship between sales and marketing is being redefined at a blistering pace. Putting the conversation into the chicken/egg context will benefit organizations that have not yet adjusted their Sales & Marketing efforts to take advantage of these new opportunities.

  2. November 4, 2010 11:05 am

    Glad you feel that way Alex. Talking amongst present and past coworkers, this is an area that when it works well – the sky is the limit.

    When it’s broke – look out…

  3. Joe DiCioccio permalink
    November 4, 2010 9:44 pm

    Great Topic!! Having had some of the same experiences as you (in different companies) a good marketing team can be a tremendous asset. I’ve recently joined an organization where the marketing program is developed by the sales managers and it can be very dangerous. Being part of a smaller company inside a large organization the message is very different from site to site. I’m looking forward to the next posts!!

  4. November 5, 2010 10:12 am

    Ying/yang and sometimes cat/mouse.
    In my experience sales people make OK marketers and Marketers make average sales people.
    They are not interchangeable. Not by a long shot.

    Here’s my take:
    Marketing sifts prospects, increasing the likelihood that Sales can close the deal. Closing is always hard and takes persistence.
    Marketers are rarely handing a prospect a pen, looking them in the eye asking for the sale. They seldom overcome objections.
    They don’t stand in front of the customer, they put things in front of customers.
    They are very good at finding the right people to approach with the pen. And at pinpointing what characteristics make someone a likely prospect for the pen.

  5. November 5, 2010 10:28 am

    “In my experience sales people make OK marketers and Marketers make average sales people.”
    – Very True… Totally agree!

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