Who Cares More - Sales or Marketing?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Feb 08, 2011 @ 23:02 PM

It all depends on the parameters.  I'll list a dozen or so items that both sales and marketing should care about and provide my opinion about who cares more.  Then you can tell me how wrong I am.

Who cares more about:

  • Revenue - Sales is often compensated on revenue or at least gross profit so sales wins this one hands down.
  • Leads - This one could go either way...Marketing is supposed to generate leads and  companies that place an emphasis on lead gen and measure its effectiveness, care more.  In fact, in companies where there is that much emphasis on leads, salespeople depend on them and hate them, all at the same time.  So many of the leads in high volume lead gen initiatives are low quality leads.  Based on that, marketing cares more.  However, in companies that don't generate many leads and where they aren't expected to generate high volumes of leads, when sales does get the occasional lead they care very much!  Scenario two is more common so I'll give the nod to sales caring more about leads but only by a small margin.
  • Conversions -Marketing doesn't believe that conversions are high enough but which conversions are we talking about?  Lead to appointment?  Lead to Opportunity?  Lead to Qualified?  Lead to Closed?  Marketing cares about generating leads.  Sales cares about conversions.
  • Praise - Marketing cares more about how their work looks - they want praise for their designs.  Sales only gets praise for results - for revenue.  Marketing cares more about praise.
  • Income - Sales usually gets commissions and bonuses based on revenue - not marketing - so sales cares more about income.
  • Pressure - Sales is always under pressure while marketing - not so much.  Sales cares more about pressure.
  • Results - See Income.
  • Metrics - Assuming that companies have and use metrics, sales metrics are more likely to drive revenue while marketing metrics are more likely to identify effective ways to generate leads.  With the latest technology, Marketing is more nimble than ever before and can act on those metrics and make instant changes.  With sales, the metrics typically point to changes that salespeople must make to their behaviors - something that takes longer and sometimes doesn't happen at all.  Marketing cares more about metrics.
  • The Look - Marketing is responsible for the look but sales rely on the look as a crutch.  Marketing has pride of authorship so they care more.
  • The Brand - Marketing positions the brand and does the "branding". They are the only ones that care!
  • Reality - Sales lives in the reality of customer interaction, competition, and market challenges.  Marketing believes that every lead should be sold.  Sales cares more.
  • The Customer - Sales cares more about what the customers think and say because sales, not marketing, is hearing those opinions directly.  Sales cares more.
  • Activity - Sales cares more.

That's my opinion - choose one or two categories and tell me why I'm right or wrong...

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Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management functions, lead conversion, lead generation

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for eight consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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