Because sales and marketing are, or should be, inextricably linked, the key to ensuring proper alignment of the process is to understand the roles these two different, but equally important entities play.
The old adage is genius in its simplicity:
Sales take the product to the customer; marketing brings the customer to the product.
It all starts with an objective.
What are the business objectives? Which ones can marketing impact? Which ones can sales impact?
For the sake of brevity, we’ll key on an objective set forth in most organizations:
Basically, there are only two ways to increase sales: (For simplicity, acquisitions are omitted here)
- Grow $ / Volume from existing customers
- Get new customers
The growth from existing customers is primarily the responsibility of sales. Yes, marketing can/will provide support, but sales does the heavy lifting.
Marketing, however, is primarily responsible for attracting new customers, or generating leads for the sales force. This is simply a matter of efficiency; marketing can reach more people more often than the sales force. Each entity plays an important role, but at different steps in the buying process. (See chart below)
The key here, is understanding where the customer/prospect is in the buying process. Once that is understood, within the confines of the objectives, each entity can work in tandem on the activities they are best suited for.