How can sales manage marketing?

They talk funny - how could a sales person start to manage a marketing team?

Everything was pretty comfortable.  You are the head of the regional sales team having worked your way up from the bottom. You know the customers, your competitors, your sales execs and the sales forecast.  Bonus looks pretty assured this year.

Then it changed. It was suggested that the young marketing team should report to you. They don’t look or sound like your guys.  They spend money rather than bring it in.  Hope they don’t distract you from the job of selling. Should you just ask for a monthly report and leave them to get on with it?

Here’s a 10 point checklist to get the most from your new team members:

  1. Agree a joint sales and marketing calendar of events/activities with all your team. Take time and approve the budget/plan. Any changes should be reviewed against this plan. Something may need to be dropped.
  2. Educate the marketing team on customers, sales process, lingo and key deals coming up.  Take them to meet customers and hear their pain points first hand. Keep marketing informed with high quality data. It’s ok for them to ask dumb questions – they may highlight something that had been bothering you.
  3. Demand a high quality brief for all marketing activities. It should be crystal clear on the job to be done, the budget and desired results. Don’t accept woolly marketing targets that can’t be measured. Once you have approved it, measure all work against the brief, not whether you/the CEO like it.
  4. Learn the marketing processes - creating great work takes longer than a tender submission. Put the key milestones in your calendar and make time for the reviews. Be on time with your input.
  5. Meet the agencies - brief them on the market, your customer needs and the challenges. The agencies are always trying to sell you something, but also want to understand you better.They may look like they are 17 and slept in their car last night, but they may also unlock the most brilliant ideas that kick start your growth.
  6. Swallow your pride – ask marketing to explain their lingo. Keep asking and prodding how and why an activity will help the bottom line.  Marketing also need to learn to communicate with sales and should be challenging themselves. Make sure they differentiate between asking for your opinion and your approval.
  7. Set up a single dashboard for both marketing and sales - the whole team should be proud of the range of results. Celebrate successes from both activities.
  8. Protect your marketing team – there will be many ‘can you just..?’ requests to them from multiple places, including senior management. They shouldn’t be working 20 hours a day trying to keep everyone happy. Fight for their time so they can deliver great work.
  9. Expect tight financial management from marketing – it’s not ok for them just to be creative.
  10. Lead by example - don’t tolerate discrimination or casual bias from one sub team to another. There may be different roles and varied subcultures, but there is one set of  joint commercial goals.

Marketing is harder than it looks – expect your team to be qualified and always learning. Marketing is multi-disciplinary with creative, planning, financial and detailed analytical tasks. It has evolved more in the last ten years than any other commercial function. When marketing and sales respect each other and work hand in hand to address the market, you can expect magic.

At Rivalogix we have led both marketing and sales teams and understand the pressures on each area. If you need help bringing them together and smoothly delivering results drop us a line.