Sales and Marketing: We’re on the same team, right?

My name is Jay…and I’m a sales person.  I rely heavily on marketing to generate awareness and understanding of our products to the appropriate markets so that I have a viable pool of leads that I can sell to.  For sales people to be most successful, we require context for all of these leads/contacts – Where did they come from? What campaigns did they responded to at the time of their present hand-raise and historically?  This information empowers us to target, engage and sell more effectively.  That being said, without proper alignment with marketing, how can a sales department acquire this valuable insight?  While sales and marketing should technically support one another with the mutual goal of driving bottom line revenue, more often than not there exists some level of demarcation between the two departments that creates a lack of communication and confusion of responsibility.  Furthermore, due to this inherent separation there is a lack of ownership over who is to blame when things go wrong, when in reality there should be more “bipartisan” alignment and agreement.  Sound familiar?

After all sales people and marketers compete over the same budget capital so they should have a vested interest in the appropriate usage of those budgetary dollars for each other’s departments!  Right?  But how can you assign responsibility appropriately and take ownership without understanding how the efforts of each department contribute to these end goals? Having a clear understanding of what each department’s responsibilities are also helps dictate how these two departments work interdependently through the lead generation, qualification, and sales process to accomplish specific end goals. But to validate the success of these internal processes we really need a proof of concept. We require clear, accurate, and uniform visibility into the success of our efforts, as well as an understanding of how they have contributed to our mutual goal- bottom line revenue.

As sales, we can be easily linked to bottom line revenue contribution based on the deals we close, but it is bit more complicated in correctly understanding marketing’s contribution.  For marketers, you really require a way to manage your marketing performance to operate most effectively.  You need to understand your contribution to revenue.  You need to see the ROI of your campaigns.  You need to identify trends and better understand how your efforts drive leads/contact through different stages of the sales funnel.  I digress, but you get the bigger picture: meaningful visibility and understanding into the efforts of both departments is integral to achieving alignment, which in turn helps drive bottom line revenue.  Sales departments were handed that clear visibility with the birth of salesforce.com.  Now it’s your turn marketing!

Jay Jennison

About Jay Jennison

Jay works as a Corporate Accounts manager at Full Circle Insights and previously worked within the corporate sales division at Salesforce.com. He attended Duke University for his undergraduate and graduate degrees where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in History and Markets and Management and focused the subject of his Master’s thesis on developmental strategy for third-world economies.