Strengthening Alignment by Defined Roles in Marketing and Sales

Defining roles in Marketing and Sales is very important to the success of a business strategy. Without clearly defined roles, Marketing and Sales can work against each other instead of forming a strong alliance that benefits a business.

Nicole Kangos and Kendace Bonner from Snaptron and Shannon Simpson from DuraTech Industries led a discussion for USA Manufacturing Hour Chat on Twitter about defining roles in Marketing and Sales to strengthen alignment.

The goal of this discussion was to gain tips and insights into how these departments can cohesively work together to help promote businesses and increase revenue.


Key Responsibilities

The discussion began with defining the key responsibilities of marketing and of sales.

Gina Tabasso of MAGNET in Ohio said, “Marketing's domain is brand management, relationship building, education, thought leadership and lead generation and nurturing. Sales also is an ally in brand management, relationship building, education, thought leadership, and lead nurturing and conversion.”

Dan Bigger from Custom Profile in Michigan said, “Marketing is branding and getting the word our about the company, offerings, keeping up the brand on all channels. Sales is the custom advocate helping to fill in the blanks that the customer has along with customer care.”

JD from Cleveland Deburring Machine Company in Ohio said, “Marketing = acquire leads and Sales = close leads

Jeanette Stevens from GenEdge Alliance in Virginia said, “Marketing: Brand awareness, promotion and outreach, lead generation. Sales: conversions client acquisition.”

Val W in NY said, “Marketing nurtures the relationship with current & potential customers. Sales cements the relationship.”

VirtuDesk said, “Marketing increases your brand visibility and generates leads for you to get sales and produce revenue.”

Rebecca Prox from DSI/Dynamatic in Wisconsin said, “Marketing = brand awareness, advertising, generate revenue/leads/sales, be behind the scenes Sales = increase conversions, customer retention and be face-to-face with people.”

Erin Courtenay from Earthling Interactive in Wisconsin said, “Marketing: demonstrating the company's value to target audiences. Sales: proving value to prospects throughout the process from lead to post-sell.”

Ruby Rusine of Social Success Marketing said, “Marketing: -Overseeing and developing marketing campaigns. Sales: -Present, promote and sell products/services using solid arguments to existing and prospective customers.”

Pavel Stepanov of VirtuDesk said, “Marketing generates leads and sales is when your marketing effort converts. “

Ben Nordman of Obsidian Manufacturing in Illinois said, “The very broadest part of the sales funnel is mostly what it comes down to for marketing. Getting the most eyes on products & services of the company with qualified leads then being passed on to sales.”

Dave Meyer of BizzyWeb said, “Marketing should be generating traffic and leads, and Sales should be connecting with customers and closing deals. It's a partnership to agree on MQLs (marketing qualified leads) and SQLs (sales qualified).”

Nigel T Packer of PelaTis Online in Wales said, “The management process which identifies, anticipates, and supplies customer requirements efficiently and profitably”.

Sue Nordman of Obsidian Manufacturing in Illinois said, “In short, sales sells products and services. Marketing tells the world about the products and services. But they are both so much more. And it's imperative that they work together.”

Manufacturers' News, Inc. said, “Marketing: to cast a wide net, raise awareness via multiple channels, ultimately generate leads for sales, and provide support to sales. Sales: To connect with prospects on a personal level, convert leads and remain an indispensable partner for clients. “

Paul Kiesche of Aviate Creative in New Jersey said, “I think the key responsibilities of marketing are 1: growing awareness and exposure 2. Educating their market 3. Supporting Sales with the tools they need 4. Building the brand 5. Generating inbound leads 6. Improving perception.”


Hosts Kangos, Bonner and Simpson said that Marketing informs people about how a product meets customer needs. Responsibilities are content, social media, SEO, PPC, email & print marketing. Sales is responsible for converting leads. Responsibilities are customer support, negotiating contracts & processing orders.


New Business Generation

Next, the discussion turned to who is responsible for generating new business at a company.


Kelly Pernicone of NACL in Ohio said, “That would be team Business Development!”

Tabasso contributed, “First I wanted to say both sales and marketing, but marketing doesn't generate the business. They generate the leads. It's up to sales to close the deal and generate business.”

Prox said, “Everyone! There's always an opportunity for a conversation to bring more business. We encourage all employees to be active on social media and with word of mouth.”

Meyer added, “It's a team effort: Marketing works with Sales to identify the right kinds of prospects, and then goes out and finds them for sales, who (in addition to sourcing their own leads) provides feedback and agrees to contact each lead in a timely manner.”

Nick Rivers of Obsidian Manufacturing said, “I think its a shared responsibility between Customer Service, Sales, Marketing and Management. We all try on some level to generate new business.”

Bigger answered, “I am responsible for generating new business. While I am working to encourage us to do more marketing, I do my own along with customer outreach. So, I am still doing sales & marketing.”

VirtuDesk said, “The sales team generates the business. Your business only becomes business when you already closed a sale. “

JD commented, “Generating new business is a team sport. I took it literally from a digital marketing perspective but we're a family-owned company so it's a team effort over here at CDMC.”

Nicole Kangos of Snaptron in Colorado answered, “Good point, anyone in the company could and should be encouraged to generate new business now. Especially through platforms like LinkedIn. “

Manufacturers' News, Inc. said, “We are lucky to have a fabulous Brand Ambassador, Kati McDermith, who reaches out to manufacturers and industrial sales people across the country, but also it is a joint effort between marketing and sales. Our content marketing efforts bring in a lot of new leads.”

Packer said, “Brand ambassadors are a relatively new concept in the UK. I have acted on behalf of a few companies in the past. enjoyed the work.” He added, “I mostly generate business and I have a group of associates who help to generate leads. we help each other. Spend much time researching and targeting.”

Empowering Pumps & Equipment in Alabama said, “For us, our whole team works together to generate new business. Every person on our team plays an integral role in the success of our business.”

Stevens said, “Marketing and sales work together. Marketing assisting with lead generation, market segmentation, engagement, outreach. Sales for client relationship building + acquisition. “

Ben Nordman added, “Everyone and anyone, in my opinion. In sales/marketing though, I think there's a shared responsibility but new business would fall more towards marketing. It's their responsibility to turn a completely unknown person into a lead.”

Janice Mckee from Burger & Brown Engineering in Missouri said, “Both Sales and Marketing bear responsibility for this since an effective Sales department plus effective customer service leads to positive word of mouth among customers and their contacts.”

Meyer answered, “For us (and our clients) it's all part of the process - marketing helps feed the funnel, sales closes the deals, and both work to improve the process and results. If your development and marketing teams aren't working together you're burning cash like Mongomery Burns.”

Kirsten Austin from DCSC Inc in Missouri said, “What Dave said! In addition, they need to be on the exact same page so the initiatives are on focus ~ new service? Specific products? Target market? Ideal client?”

Stepanov added, “Marketing and sales must work hand in hand on generating the business.”

Nick Rivers said, “I think its a shared responsibility between Customer Service, Sales, Marketing and Management. We all try on some level to generate new business.”

Kangos added, “I like that you included customer service. Our sales team handles much of the account support in addition to their sales responsibilities. It’s a lot!


According to Kangos, Bonner and Simpson, “For many companies, lead generation is at the heart of the conflict between Sales & Marketing. That’s why it’s important that what counts as a qualified lead is formally defined. Teams that share the responsibility of generating new business see higher revenue.”


Sales Involvement

Participants in the chat talked about at what stage in a buyer’s journey sales gets involved. Each organization had different parameters and participants discussed why their organizations worked as they did when it comes to getting sales involved.

Tabasso said, “Bottom of funnel when we hand off the MQL or SQL.”

Shannon Simpson from DuraTech Industries in Wisconsin asked, “Agree?”

Dan Bigger answered, “I don't completely. I do a lot of cold outreach and I am working on at least 10 projects from those contacts. They were not even looking at us until I contacted them.” He added, “It’s a great question. When potential buyers are identified as a potential prospect.”

Prox added, “Usually, the consideration phase. That's often when people will call to get a quote from us or more information. Those calls go directly to sales. “

“I think I shared this a while back,” said Kiesche, “I'd say sales can get involved throughout the full journey, but typically after the prospect has shown some interest.

JD said, “At the point the buyer physically contacts the company. Either via call or contact form submission. The calls and submissions are given directly to the sales team.”

Ben Nordman said, “Typically after we have gathered some information from a qualified lead. It could be anything from a DM on social, a form on our website, or anything in between. That info is passed on, and sales is up to bat!”

Courtenay said, “Outbound: Immediately; Inbound: if marketing is successful sales gets involved when the targets start to coalesce around specific content or service areas.”

Empowering Pumps & Equipment said, “Sales should be in the “know” from the start on who’s engaging with the brand and what they’re interested in and then take it on a case-by-case basis on if they need a follow-up or if they’re not ready, yet. The key is really listening to the buying signs.”

Stevens said, “Bottom, conversion. However at the middle when leads begin to come in or even the beginning depending on the type of campaign I am running.”

Mckee added, “As soon as possible to maintain consistent contact person and communication. “

Meyer said, “Sales takes the MQLs (Marketing qualified leads) and verifies that they're worth following up on - making them into SQLs (sales qualified). From there, they're responsible for connecting with leads within an agreed time frame, and attempting so many contacts.”

VirtuDesk said, “After generating leads and identifying who will most likely avail our services (hot leads). Our sales team does the calling part and closed it.”

FreightPOP in California said, “We like to get sales involved as soon as possible! We believe that marketing and sales work best as a cohesive unit. Constant communication between the departments is key!”

Manufacturers' News said, “Generally while potential buyers are in the "consideration" phase. We like to give potential clients the chance to try out our database for free, which gives our reps the opportunity to provide more information & come up with custom solutions.”

Packer added, “A Big lead generator for us is speaking events. We follow up very quickly.”

Sue Nordman said, “Sales direct involvement should be as soon as the lead is identified as a potential customer. But sales indirect involvement should have started sooner than that.”


Kangos, Bonner and Simpson contributed, “Consumer habits have evolved and now most of the buying process happens online. Estimates show B2B buyers are 70% through the decision-making process before ever contacting a sales rep. This means Sales gets involved at later stages in the buying process.”


Follow Up Strategies

The discussion then turned to strategies for retaining customers and also post-sales follow up efforts. Follow up responsibilities differed for each organization although many had similar retention strategies.

shutterstock_1332843935 webProx said, “Thankfully, we don't need much "strategy" to maintain customers. They are maintained simply because our product lasts up to 50 years without repair. But we DO maintain excellent customer service in case they need us in the meantime. “

Courtenay said, “This year we started doing annual account reviews - and wow! They are a wonderful way to build the relationship and uncover new opportunities. Plus they are fun!”

Tabasso said, “I love to hear good options for follow up. Most of our small/mid-sized manufacturers have no CRM and use Excel a CRM not connected with their marketing tech stack that might be WordPress and Mailchimp or Constant Contact. No tracking of the buyer journey. They can't afford Hubspot.” She added, “I do the sale and I am responsible for delivering the project through to its end and managing any vendor partners we use. Then we send out a survey.”

Bigger said, “How companies do not use a CRM is beyond me. We have one which I am not fond of, but I am really the only salesperson that uses it.” He added, “Me or the salesperson or generated the lead or sold it. Strategy is to keep up with them with contact and questions of their needs based on history or information gained during the sales process.”

Ben Nordman said, “Either our salespeople or our customer service department are responsible for post-sale with direct contact. We do send out customer surveys from the marketing end as well though.”

Kiesche said, “For client retention, we try to: • Go above & beyond • Be generous • Under promise & over deliver • Always deliver on time • Be responsive • Make recommendations for clients • Don’t nickel & dime • Have a can do attitude • Build relationships

JD said, “The in-house experts on our equipment double as the sales team so any post-sale efforts fall on them.”

Pernicone added, “We stay connected and check in. Our business development and customer service team are responsible for post-sale efforts.”

Manufacturers' News said, “We provide regular support post-sale, including helpful articles & tips without e-newsletters. Also, we survey our clients regularly and develop new features to meet needs as they arise. This is a team effort between marketing, sales and IT. “

Meyer said, “The operations team is responsible for serving customers and fulfilling on projects of course, but sales is looped in on all the major touchpoints, and marketing consistently re-engages with our customers to make sure we're keeping them happy (without pestering).”

Kangos added, “Glad to hear marketing gets involved too. That sounds like a strategy for success!”

Packer said, “This may be odd but we classify our success when the client has learned all they can from us and no longer needs our services. After consultancy we deliver training so they have the skills to grow their own businesses.”


Simpson, Bonner and Kangos said, “Attracting new customers is 7x more expensive than retaining them. Sales & marketing should work together to increase the lifetime value of your customers. Once you gain a customer, they should influence them to stay via upgrades, new products, licenses, etc.”



Why Strong Alignment Matters

Participants then addressed their respective opinions about why it’s important to strengthen Marketing and Sales alignment.


Sue Nordman said, “Because they are the bread and butter of securing and keeping your customers. They need to work together very smoothly to do an efficient job.”

Meyer said, “Alignment is the best, fastest way to dramatically improve your results. Sales is on the front lines every day, and they know what works to engage your prospects. Marketing needs to use that insight to craft helpful, magnetic content. Each needs the other.”

Pernicone added, “Because they are on the same team! Marketing helps begin the customer journey and Sales comes in to help guide them through!”

Nicole Kangos replied to Pernicone,“Interesting! That’s a good approach. Working together on it makes the most sense.”

Stepanov said, “Because it builds credibility and consistency for your business. Whatever your marketing team markets, must be the same with the sales team or else, it will cause confusion and mistrust.”

Empowering Pumps & Equipment said, “The quick and dirty is that ABM is a customer experience-centric approach and we are all about our customers! We also love getting to work together as a team.”

Mckee said, “The Sales team is in direct contact with customers and can advise Marketing on content ideas. What are the pain points we solve? Sales knows and can share the info to speak to more potential customers.”

VirtuDesk said, “They should be aligned because they represent your business and the services you offer. There is a situation before where we encountered an issue because of just a word in our ad and it cause problems with the sales team. Consistency marked this experience.”

Manufacturers' News said, “So many reasons why alignment is important! In a nutshell, sales & marketing alignment breaks down the silos between sales and marketing, combining the two related functions into one powerful, revenue-producing team. Long live smarketing!”

Ruby Rusine of Social Success Marketing in California added,”Unified effort. Reduces redundancy. Saves time and money.”

FreightPOP said, “When marketing and sales work together, everyone is on the same page. This also gives the sales team the opportunity to let the marketing team know what is working, so marketing strategies can get more refined.”

Ben Nordman said, “Alignment is important to smooth out the buying process and improve overall efficiency of the company are the main positives in my opinion.”


According to hosts, Simpson, Bonner and Kangos, “Sales and marketing alignment is one of the largest opportunities for improving business performance leading to 32% YOY revenue growth. When teams unite around a single revenue cycle, they dramatically improve marketing ROI, sales productivity & top-line growth.”


Top alignment challenges between sales and marketing include:

  • Lack of Accurate or Shared Data on Target accounts and prospects
  • Communication
  • Use of Different Metrics
  • Broken or Flawed Processes
  • Lack of Accountability on Both Sides
  • Reporting Challenges

Encouraging Collaboration

The last topic for discussion was how companies can encourage collaboration between Sales and Marketing Departments.

shutterstock_1443609116webProx said, “Ask questions, encourage communication, have meetings that involve both departments, ask them to collaborate on reports and/or projects.”

Tabasso said, “Both teams need to be willing to collaborate, share information, respect each other's strengths, understand differences. I have seen the success come with top-down mentality. Leadership creates the alignment. Team members enable it by talking.”

Packer said, “Make them do each other’s jobs.”

Empowering Pumps & Equipment said, “Show the value of both departments working together. Sales and marketing go hand in hand with being able to support one another and help the other be more successful – they’re both targeting the same audiences so why not work as a united force?!”

Meyer said, “Closed-loop reporting and shared SLAs are a great way to start forcing Marketing and Sales to work together. Reinforce the benefits and you'll get buy-in.”

Courtenay said, “If there's one simple fix that I think has the most value it is getting your lead capture from your website hooked into the CRM. That is true marketing/sales digital harmony.”

Kangos added, “The buddy system! Haha! Yes! Ultimately it's about growing revenue together!”

VirtuDesk said, “Communication is the key!”

JD added, “As with any ongoing relationship, open communication and dialogue cannot be overstated.”

Hosts, Bonner, Kangos and Simpson concluded with the following list to outline tips for encouraging collaboration between Marketing and Sales Departments:

  • Clearly defined roles and responsibilities
  • Set shared goals  
  • Provide bonuses and incentives when goals are met
  • Share customer insights and data
  • Meet regularly 
  • Create accountability incentives
  • Have marketing listen to sales calls
  • Map out the customer journey



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