A very short blog today starting with an anecdote:
About 15 years ago, I started a new role as a Director of Marketing. I reported to the VP who also had Sales and Customer Service under his belt.
This role was, admittedly, a step up for me. Perhaps sensing my green-ness, the Director of Sales, decided to be play provocateur with me.
At a weekly status meeting, after being grilled for his sales numbers, my peer turned to me and essentially said “so what are you going to do to help us make our numbers this month?”. Before I could defend myself with references to my team’s ongoing or new marketing programs, our mutual boss interjected and with this piece of wisdom (paraphrased):
The role of Sales is to get us revenue this month. The role of Marketing is to get us revenue 3 months from now.
Brilliant! And not because it momentarily shut the sales guy up, but because its such a cogent approach to roles and responsibilities of sales and marketing.
Hey, I do believe that marketing should have major skin in the game when it comes to revenues. I have eagerly signed up for goals and compensation plans that have been very highly weighted with revenue metrics. I believe that Sales and Marketing should be tied at the hip this way.
However, I have also been at the leadership table on the 15th of the month and being asked by my CEO and others about what marketing can do to help make this month’s numbers (context: all my marketing roles have been B2B). While well intended, that’s knee jerk stuff.
Yes, its possible to put out some sort of coupon or something that MIGHT bring in a few dollars. But at what cost and what downstream negative impact (i.e. asking the marketing group to throw together a program for immediate implementation means they are diverted from working on more cogent plans for the next month or two).
My message today:
There are things that Marketing should be doing all the time to help bring in immediate sales mostly in the area of product management (demo’s, providing subject matter expertise, client presentations, etc.). But a sizable chunk of a marketer’s daily effort should have a 30-90 day horizon to it. This is an appropriate (and required!) balance to the more immediate horizon that largely belongs to Sales.
What do you think? Where do you land on Marketing’s role in monthly revenue targets?
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