Want Your Business to Grow? Unbundle Your Marketing from Sales

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If you want your marketing to continue improving and offering better ROI, you must free it from Sales and give it the independence and resources it needs to deliver results.

Too many organizations try to shoehorn their Marketing and Sales departments into one silo under one set of leadership. Both disciplines are too sophisticated and complex for them to fall under the direction of one person. When this happens, both teams are doomed to chronically underperform.

An Outdated Model that Should’ve Died Decades Ago

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Many companies fall into this same trap. You’ve probably been handed plenty of business cards over the years that read “VP – Sales and Marketing” or “Director of Marketing and Sales.” Do a quick search on LinkedIn and you’ll find thousands of matches for titles like these.

In most cases this is a high-level salesperson that suddenly gets thrown into the role of marketing director. The result is usually underwhelming. Everything that makes someone a great seller tends to contradict the qualities of an exceptional marketer. Putting a career salesperson in charge of marketing stifles innovation, limits long-term vision and inhibits your authority as a thought leader.

It’s a model that cannot possibly lead to sustained growth in a world where marketing is the most important part of your business. Perhaps you could have gotten away with it in the 50’s, when you had a limited selection of marketing platforms and sales capabilities.

But now marketing moves far too quickly for experts to be dividing their focus. New media and marketing strategies emerge every day. Sales challenges are just as serious and need laser focus.  When it’s already near impossible to stay ahead of shifting trends and cutthroat completion in one of these fields, it’s unrealistic to think that anyone could productively balance both.

Fundamentally Different Disciplines

Superficially it might seem like there is a lot of overlap between Sales and Marketing. After all, they both share the same end goal: to generate revenue.

But the way they contribute to the conversion process and the expertise and methods they employ are completely different. Big-picture marketing functions on a strategic level, forecasting far into the future and orchestrating long term campaigns and brand vision. Most sales planning and execution has to be tactical, focused on short term conversion and resource distribution.

Their long-term objectives and day-to-day work are incredibly different. So why put them in one department, with one set of leadership and one shared resource pool? It makes no more sense than having an Accounting and Operations team, or a VP of HR and Finance.

While the two can (and should) compliment and support each other, it’s essential to have a distinct division so that each can excel without tripping over each other or getting overwhelmed in scope.  Your Head of Sales and Head of Marketing need to work hand-in-hand to grow revenue, expecting one person to do both is setting them up to fail.

Make the Most of Your Talent

A great marketing mind won’t translate well to Sales, and vice-versa.  The fields require different attitudes, experience and education to consistently perform at a high level. If you’re hiring high-performing salespeople to do marketing work you’re wasting their talent.

A Sales manager might think he or she would make a good VP of Sales and Marketing. But in the best case scenario they’ll do a passable job at one and a poor job at the other. More likely, both of their jobs will suffer as the executive is stretched too thin to give either discipline the attention it needs. Putting a  marketing executive in the same role would be a just as evil.

An Investment with Demonstrable Returns

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Some organizations, especially small to medium sized businesses, are reluctant to invest the resources into the new leadership and manpower a separate marketing program requires. However, at a time when marketing spend has never been more trackable and demonstrably profitable, this hesitation is unwarranted.

As long as you hire the right people and give them the resources they need, they should be able to prove your investment worthwhile. And it doesn’t have to be hard to make those hires—a marketing executive search firm makes the process efficient and ensures you’re getting top talent.

Your sales team should also see improved productivity as they’re finally able to actually do their jobs. They’ll be able to focus more on closing which is what they like to do best, let marketing take care of driving qualified leads.

Get Ahead of the Competition

Granting your marketing program independence from Sales can give you an immediate edge over competitors that are still trying to figure out a way to make the union work. Under the direction of a dedicated and experienced marketer that only does marketing, you will lead your company miles ahead of those without one.

Instead of wasting resources and talent on positions trying to do it all, shift to a corporate structure that actually makes sense in this day and age.  Every day you wait you risk letting your marketing fall even further behind. If you’re already trying to play catchup in this rapidly evolving field, there’s no time to waste.

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