Damage control in the sales & marketing relationship

One foundational aspect of Revenue Marketing™ is the Revenue Marketing Journey™. This four stage-model acts as a GPS as the marketing leader is transforming marketing from a cost center to a revenue center. It defines where marketing is and provides a direction for the journey.

Stages Defined

Marketers in the Traditional stage of the Journey are concerned with activities focused on branding and marketing communication. They act as a cost center and are measured on activities and costs.

In the Lead Generation stage, marketers are using e-mail and are creating leads for sales. The problem is that about 70% of these leads are never followed up on by sales. Marketing is still a cost center and the new metrics is number of leads sent to sales.

With marketing automation and CRM, things get interesting in the Demand Generation stage. Marketing is transforming into a revenue center and are measured based on contribution to pipeline and closed business.

The big difference between the Demand Generation stage and the Revenue Marketing stage is optimization and RPS – Repeatable, Predictable, and Scalable. Revenue Marketers are revenue centers and have the ability to forecast marketing’s impact on revenue.

Where are you on this Journey? Take this quick 4-minute assessment.

The Areas Requiring Damage Control

One area of particular concern for today’s marketing executive is how to do damage control on the current sales and marketing relationship once marketing begins the move from Lead Generation to Demand Generation. In the Lead Generation stage, marketing has been using an email system to launch emails and provide leads to sales. This stage is often characterized by a “batch and blast” approach to email that produces leads that sales does not value. At this stage, sales and marketing each have a wildly different definition of a “lead”. In this scenario, numerous studies show that up to 75% of all leads passed to sales never receive any kind of follow up. While the idea of giving leads to sales sounds good, this scenario provides a snapshot of the issues in execution, understanding and alignment.

Fast forward. Marketing catches the Revenue Marketing fever and begins investing in technology (marketing automation integrated with CRM), training, processes, etc. to move into the next stage of the Revenue Marketing Journey – Demand Generation. In this stage, marketing can finally provide the kind of leads that sales has been asking for – after all, they are now qualified! There is one big problem. You had a meeting with sales to explain what you were doing and they really didn’t believe you. Their comments to you were:

  • You have been promising “qualified leads” for years and we continue to receive junk.
  • You don’t understand sales.
  • You have no accountability for a number like we do so you are not really vested in our success.

For many marketing leaders, this requires serious damage control. You have to “un-do” and “re-do” the perceptions of marketing in the revenue equation. This happens through your ability to build sales advocacy for Revenue Marketing, beginning with the Chief Sales Officer (CSO). One of the best ways I’ve seen this advocacy get started is by marketing applying Revenue Marketing to a micro-segment (a specific territory or sales team) of a key sales initiative as a proof point. This approach educates the CSO and the sales team while producing financials that sales relates to. Your baseline metrics should include short-term metrics (how many appointments got set), medium-term metrics (how many opportunities and pipeline value), and long-term metrics (how much business was closed from the program). This approach also allows marketing to work closely with a segment of sales to ensure success.


Your job as the marketing executive leading your company on the Revenue Marketing Journey is to build strong advocacy with sales leadership. In order to build that advocacy, you must understand the damage already done in the relationship and build accordingly. Not addressing this issue head-on ensures a continuation of the cold war between sales and marketing and will seriously undermine your Revenue Marketing success.

What have you seen as key action to damage control? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

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About Debbie Qaqish
Debbie is a nationally recognized thought leader, innovator and speaker in Revenue Marketing with more than 30 years of experience applying strategy, technology and process to help B2B companies drive revenue growth. She is the author of the award winning book – “Rise of the Revenue Marketer,” Chancellor of Revenue Marketing University, and host of Revenue Marketer Radio (WRMR). Debbie has been at the forefront of the marketing automation phenomenon, first as a beneficiary, and now as an advocate and expert. She is a frequent speaker and writer on topics related to Revenue Marketing transformation, leadership, change management, sales and marketing alignment, ROI, content, organization, talent and marketing operations. She coined the term “Revenue Marketer” in 2011. As a principal partner and chief strategy officer of The Pedowitz Group, Debbie is responsible for developing and managing global client relationships, as well as leading the firm’s thought leadership initiatives. Debbie is also PhD candidate and her dissertation topic is how the CMO adopts financial accountability in an e-marketing environment.

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  • Posted by Debbie Qaqish
  • On 06/22/2015
Tags: revenue marketing, demand generation, lead generation, traditional, batch and blast

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