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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Marketing and Sales (and some congratulations) 

B2Blog: A step in the right direction

My favorite B2B customer blogger, Dave Jung, is now focused on marketing full-time at his company. As I read the post above, I began to realize why Dave's blog has always struck a chord. He's been doing his company's marketing, while also holding down an inside sales position.

In many b2b customer companies, it often seems that marketing and sales are trying to accomplish two different things, that the functions are in opposition to each other, and competing with each other for limited budget dollars.

Marketers often want to market--to advertise, to brand--while salespeople want to sell products or services. A lot of salespeople don't like advertising, and in fact, actively lobby against it, in favor of things that seem more real, such as more travel money, or more salary money to get more sales boots on the ground.

Of course, both the marketing and sales teams are important. The famous McGraw-Hill ad of years ago ("I don't know you. I don't know your company.") shows one way advertising works in the sales process. Lead generation is another. But at its root, the effectiveness of marketing is difficult to quantify. Which ad in which publication helped make the sale? Which trade show? Which DM campaign? A little of all of them?

So why do I often find marketers and sales people in opposition at the companies I sell to? I think part of it is org chart driven. When these functions are separated, there's a natural competition for dollars and for importance in the company. Another part is driven by experience. Marketers are often trained to think differently from salespeople. And salespeople often have little patience with marketing's results. They might close one deal in five, but marketing efforts have to deliver results 100% of the time, or it's somehow not working.

A marketer who knows precisely what it's like to sell the company's products and services, who knows what it means to have a quota, who has heard directly the customer's concerns, complaints and requests? Now that's a marketer who understands what b2b marketing is supposed to do. And a salesman who knows explicitly that some marketing works and some doesn't, but that marketing has to be done anyway to drive leads and build awareness? That's a salesman who understands that the more marketing you do, the easier the sale will be, just like he knows that the more sales calls you make, the more opportunity you have for closing deals.

Congratulations, Dave! I look forward to your continued blogging. I've already learned a lot, and expect to learn even more.

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