The sales and marketing growth loop

The relationship between sales and marketing has traditionally been a contentious one. The sales team complains about the quality of the leads coming from marketing, and the marketing team complains about the sales team’s ability to close qualified leads.

BizBreakthru’s Chief Engagement Officer Todd Van Hoosear describes a tall brick wall, over which leads got thrown, and through which no other information was exchanged. Technology has changed this relationship somewhat, allowing for more feedback. But disparities remain, and these differences can hurt a company’s growth trajectory.

In an ideal world, there is a tight loop between these two functions. In fact, this loop has been described by some as “closed loop marketing,” empowered through email marketing, campaign codes and identity management. We’ll talk more about closed loop marketing later, but in the meantime, let’s look at the relationship between sales and marketing a little closer, starting with the basics.

Inbound marketing software company HubSpot’s formal definition of sales is: 

all activities involved in selling a product or service to a consumer or business.”

The American Marketing Association defines marketing as: 

“The activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

Per this definition, marketing creates value for the stakeholders who have the most control over your company. 

Research company Gartner’s Team Manager VP Matt Dudek says the top three priorities for sales leaders in 2020 are “rooted in growing accounts, improving manager effectiveness and enhancing pipeline activities.”

Marketing collateral essentially creates the base from which sales teams can jump off from. However, budgets have dropped below 11 percent down to 10.5 percent for the first time since 2014 according to Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey 2019 – 2020

To be honest, I could not find anything when I searched for typical yearly sales budgets. 

With the decline in marketing budgets and the seemingly non-existent sales budgets, what picture does this paint? Is sales more important than marketing? Can one exist without the other? 

While these two have long been at odds with one another, they need each other to survive and businesses need them both to thrive.

What do I mean by this? 

Sales teams are at the forefront of every business. They’re the ones going face to face with customers everyday to make money for the company. Now, a really great sales person may be able to do this with their winning personality and knowledge of the company’s product alone.

However, most sales teams need some sort of company branded collateral to lend credibility to their pitch and to get literal buy-in from outside people. 

This is where marketing comes in. Through strategic campaigns, copywriting, case studies, and more, marketing teams are working hard behind the scenes. It’s their job to make the company and its products or services look good. Without marketing, there likely won’t be as much profit.

Adobe’s marketing automation software spinoff Marketo puts the sales and marketing relationship best:

“Sales and marketing alignment is potentially the largest opportunity for improving business performance today. When marketing and sales teams unite around a single revenue cycle, they dramatically improve marketing return on investment (ROI), sales productivity, and, most importantly, top-line growth.”

Aberdeen Group research shows the alignment of the two has the potential to increase year-over-year revenue growth by 32 percent.

In a sense, one hand washes the other. Invest in your marketing team to grow your sales efforts that impact your company’s bottom line.

Allison Frieden is a Boston-based digital content marketer with over a decade of experience. She specializes in content creation, project management, client relations, social media, journalism engagement and inbound marketing tactics. Her deep B2B tech experience includes knowledge in IoT, data integration, connected services, and cyber risk management.

Through her strong copy via storytelling and search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, she has helped businesses with their communication strategies and brand awareness. Allison is certified in HubSpot Inbound Marketing, HubSpot Content Marketing, Drift Conversational Marketing, and Google Analytics.

To learn more about Allison and the services she offers, check out her website: www.allisonfrieden.com.

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