Should Marketing Teams Consist of Lead Generators or Sales Enablers?

by | Sep 2, 2019 8:28:22 AM | Sales and Marketing Alignment, Strategy

Where should your marketing team be focused? Are they helping close that next deal with a specific customer or nurturing your potential future customers? Marketing teams are increasingly getting put in the spotlight for what they contribute to the sales team and direct return on marketing investment (ROMI). Most CEOs agree; marketing teams should be held accountable as more and more things can be measured. As a leader, are you clear about your expectations for your team? Setting expectations with your team on whether they should be lead generation or sales enablement-focused is a great place to start. 


Lead Generation or Sales Enablement?

First, let me explain the two sides. Having a lead generation focus means you’re holding your team accountable for increasing the number of sales qualified leads. This focus means that they are measured by researching, educating, and generating an increased amount of qualified leads to your funnel. This work takes time, testing, and tracking for it to be successful and improve ROMI.  

On the flip side, a marketing team can be sales enablers. I often see marketing teams focused on helping sales land a specific client. This usually means their energies are focused on creating polished pitch decks, proposal language, and presentations to land clients. They are typically asked by sales to “make something pretty” to land the next big deal. Important? Yes. But what does that do to your presence in the market, especially with prospects that don’t yet know about you? 

If your team is small and you’re constantly asking them to flip between the two roles, it’s likely they’re confused about priorities and not doing either practice well. 


In My Opinion...

Distractions to any team hinder hitting goals. Obvious right? So first; make sure your organization understands the role of the marketing team. That means clarifying your goals. And second, in my opinion, the marketing team should focus on the market (and not one client at a time). I believe your marketing team should be focused on increasing qualified leads and growing the future sales funnel. Every time I have seen a marketing team focus on growing qualified leads, and are allowed the time to be strategic, I’ve watched the businesses they work for grow. If you want your team focused on driving leads, don’t have them focused on helping sales land clients. Initially landing deals may look great, because they help close that next big deal, but having marketing focused on one-offs, isn’t strategic, it’s difficult to measure, and they typically won’t get the credit they deserve.    


How should you refocus the teams?

So what is your marketing team focused on? Here a few things to make sure you’re doing based on the team you have.  

If you want lead generation to be a focus:

  • Set a vision for the team so they know why they are heading in a certain direction and what the goal/destination looks like.
  • Set goals for the team to hit. Remember, you want to set realistic goals so the team can hit the mark. This will show success to the whole team and help cement the lead generation focus. 
  • Make your team create a plan. Answer the questions like, “Who are they going to connect with to hit the goals (personas), by when, and what tactics will they use to get there?”
  • Encourage the plan. Have them report successes and failures. Then adjust accordingly.  Your team probably won’t get it right the first time, and as buyers change and adapt, so will your tactics. Keep the team accountable and stick to your vision and goals to help keep teams aligned. 

If you disagree with me and want your marketing team to be sales enablers: 

  • Make sure that the team knows that being sales enablers is their goal. There isn’t anything worse than not knowing where you fit in at an organization.   
  • Align the marketing team with the sales team and share in their successes. If they are focused on landing deals, make sure you are giving them a portion of the credit for landing them. Show their ROI and continue to set KPI’s. 
  • Be prepared to share the sales and reward them with some type of commission. The work they do takes time, patience and talent. A team that is focused should be rewarded with a bonus for the wins.  

In either case, showing a team that they are valued through sharing the wins financially will help align the two teams. Overall I think that any marketing team should be lead generation focused and you should be working towards building that capacity as a team. This focus takes time, planning, and the right team members to accomplish it. There are many reasons why your team is sales enablers and it may not be time to make that change, but do your team a favor and clarify it. 

I challenge you to clarify the focus, align the sales and marketing teams, and measure what matters to grow your business. I would love to hear your comments below.

About 1 Bold Step

At 1 Bold Step we believe that everything can be more efficient, but especially marketing. Acting as an extension of a client’s marketing department (onsite or virtually), we help create systems, order, and accountability. With a focus on increasing sales and proving return on marketing investment, we’re determined to change marketing from overhead to value add. 


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