Good on Daniel Newman for bringing this to light. Organizations should pay heed to his advice. They are often not aligned, in my opinion, because they don't have the same accountability metrics. Marketing generates leads and sales complain that they're weak. There are multiple branches under each organization, or should be, so that the strengths of each or highlighted. i.e. Sales are looking for high valued customers that takes focus and commitment to win while Marketing brings brand awareness and the leads generated could be pre-qualified before being handed over to sales.
I'm always thankful when more prolific authors write about something I have a long time ago (without the clicks or attention).
I wrote in October 2011 on everyone needing to get on the same page: I had written succinctly: It all comes down to hunting (catching), farming (sowing) and then cooking (customer service) and delivering (operations).
I am going to side with sales on this debate simply because "sales" seems to be a catchall title Responsibilities evolve depending upon who the person is selling for, what the organization's definition of sales is, or who is selling.
Why? Because I have found across the years, that most people in organizations consider "anyone who talks to a customer is in sales". That is just wrong - everyone in every organization should be talking to customers.
To reason why this attitude is fragmenting companies and scattering the focus of its sales professionals. A really cold lead generated from an inquiry from your website is not something that you automatically hand over to sales. If you want your sales to increase, they need to focus. You can't expect them to be running around like a dog chasing its tail following up every single slip of napkin with a name on it as sales lead.
To help this debate, everyone needs to get at the table (again) with a flip board. If you're the business owner, don't delegate this to someone else. If you end up refereeing between marketing and sales, it is your own fault for not clearly outlining what is expected from marketing and sales.
What is marketing's job?
- sales material
- direct mail
- generating leads
- social media
- communications with customers
- promotions or programs to create sales leads
- increase awareness
- advertising campaigns
- telemarketing campaigns
- email campaigns
What is sales' job?
- hunting for new business
- visiting/servicing existing customers
- following up ALL leads
- following up pre-qualified leads
- solving issues by customers
- chasing past due accounts
- communications, writing, proposals
- securing and responding to RFPs (requests for proposals)
- solving billing issues
- cold calling
- completing weekly, daily call sheets for management
- scheduling appointments with decision makers
- forecasting revenue from accounts, prospects, suspects
- projecting new sales opportunities
- keeping CRM (customer relationship management) systems up to date
I hope you get my drift ... if you bombard sales with so much on their "to do" is it any wonder that they're unfocussed, scattered and unable to plan carefully where their next activity will be. Depending on the company, the frequency of responsibility can vary as well.
If you want sales to focus on driving new sales from high valued customers, why would you have them pulled in so many directions at the same time and by so many people?
Successful sales organizations have a structure and tiered system on which to handle incoming inquiries, issues, soft leads, etc. They understand that their sales funnel has multi-levels and should be handled by the right people, with the right skills, at the right time. Distinguishing deal seekers from customer relations is critical.
I wrote this so you can begin the conversation. Whether you are launching a new business with a sales arm and marketing arm, carve out the expectations and responsibilities for each activity. Don't just have sales forecast revenue, have marketing predict leads to be generated. Have them assign a dollar amount but don't just have it as an amount in a column in a month. Do follow up on a quarterly basis to monitor who is blowing smoke up everyone's hinds. Far too many fall for great numbers without comparing with actuals.
Don't fall into the trap that a sales pro who generates a lot of activity is doing you any favors. That is done so that you will be distracted and think they're doing amazing work for you, until you look at your actual revenue graphs. Show them who's the boss in a way that you lead in a way that gives your team to perform while you hold them accountable.