The Chicken or the Egg? Sales or Marketing Focus

At the risk of being a little controversial – I have to say I’ve never understood why so many companies talk about “Sales & Marketing” as a discipline, rather than “Marketing & Sales.” Often, conversationally and organizationally, the focus is on Sales first – with marketing placed in an enablement role. The truth is that the process of finding a prospect and converting them to a customer starts with Demand Creation – and the majority of that activity begins with Marketing. Marketing is setting the stage, targeting the most likely segments, honing the right message, and hopefully creating the right set of sales materials, in addition to customer collateral, to give Sales everything they need to take that prospect through the sales process. Without this crucial orientation, it’s too easy to cut marketing when times get tough. Sales people are pushed out the door to “sell harder,” but not given the marketing support to make that happen. Put the activities in their proper order. Think about them in terms of an extended and repeatable progression and you will have gone a long way into aligning and integrating the efforts of both organizations. They are mutually interdependent – so alignment has nothing to do with having one department report to the other.

— Lisa Dennis

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