SLMA’s James Obermayer Interviewed by Phil Fernandez at DreamForce 2010
Marketing must spend money on programs that work, and let their competitors spend money on everything else.

Marketing’s Role in Sales

What role do Marketers really play in sales – I mean directly with Sales?  We have found that the answer to this question is quite different for each company. Some Marketers are left to worry about executing campaigns with no particular concern regarding the outcome of the marketing tactics on eventual revenue. It’s hard to believe that this situation still exists, but we’ve seen it time and time again.  It’s the status quo legacy that many companies continue to maintain.  However, we do see a majority of Marketers striving (whether of their own impetus or that of their managers) to have a more direct impact on sales. 

Many of these companies are seeing the Sales and Marketing divide and no formal lead management process which is costing them efficiency and money – either by lost revenue opportunity, increases in cost of sales (affecting margin), or lost marketing dollars.  So what should Marketing’s role be within Sales? This question is truly dependent on what you sell and more, but here are some basic tenants that can help any company:

1. Taking responsibility to move beyond suspects. Statistics show that Sales don’t currently follow up on 80% of the leads provided to them by marketing.  Helping move suspects into leads would dramatically help Sales.

2. Tracking campaign ROI (revenue based). Tracking clicks and opens are one thing, but Marketers need to start moving beyond basic marketing metrics and into financial metrics to truly show an impact on sales.

3. Working with Sales on a “sales-ready” lead definition. Taking the responsibility to nurture leads beyond suspect status is great, but only if you know what your target is.  The definition must be common between Marketing and Sales for a true impact on the business.

4. Moving beyond volume of leads to quality of leads. There’s almost always a need to generate more leads, but more leads don’t necessarily drive more revenue.  As a matter of fact more suspects can increase the cost of sales without driving more revenue.

5. Moving beyond opens and click metrics. Does opening an email really indicate interest? Maybe not especially if your prospect uses preview panes in Outlook. It might be helpful if you start paying attention to your lead’s digital behavior to help determine interest. If a prospect views a product/service or pricing page for 20 seconds or so, could that indicate interest – maybe (assuming other criteria also fit).

6. Create and disseminate relevant nurturing content. Sending continuous emails is not nurturing.  To effectively nurture your leads send content based on what’s of interest to that prospect and at the appropriate time.  We all have to start somewhere, but striving to deliver the right content to the right prospect at the right time will definitely impact Sales’ success.

About the Author
Lisa Cramer is president and co-founder of LeadLife Solutions, a provider of an on-demand lead management solution that helps drive revenue by bundling a state of the art marketing automation platform with highly-experienced marketing and sales specialists. In 2010, Lisa was recognized as one of the top ten “Most Influential People” in sales lead management. For more information on lead management  or best practices call 1-800-680-6292 or email

Lisa Cramer, CEO of LeadLife


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