We have talked before about the often unhappy marriage between sales and marketing. At Bang we believe the two disciplines can work alongside each other very well, and when they align it truly can be a match made for success.
More recently, perhaps because of the current skills shortage, or because of rising costs and the predicted recession, I have noticed a trend in some businesses to appoint sales and marketing directors. In other words, one person to lead sales and marketing.
In the main, I am not a fan of that approach. In smaller businesses it can work, but once you get beyond £10m turnover, which is most of Bang’s clients, it becomes tricky.
The skills and attributes at that level, plus the objectives and expectations, can often lead to the person being in conflict with themselves.
And, I question whether you end up looking for the proverbial unicorn…
Can you really expect somebody to have 10+ years of experience in marketing at a strategic level, and at the same time a proven track record for leading a sales team consistently beating sales targets?
I would venture that the answer to that is no.
That doesn’t mean you can’t find marketing professionals with a good understanding of sales needs, or a sales professional with a strong appreciation of the marketing role.
But, expecting the senior role to lead a motivated sales team, holding them to account and supporting them, as well as managing all aspects of marketing strategy, customer engagement and comms, and running an efficient and effective marketing team, is a very tall order.
They require different skills, personality traits, styles and so on. Indeed, you may even be hindering your chance of successfully recruiting, because the match of all of those proven skills and experience is mission impossible.
So, what is the answer?
Well, ideally, you would have a Marketing Director, responsible for the marketing function, and a Sales Director, responsible for the sales function. They would work closely – both physically if they are working on premise, and metaphorically. Indeed I would recommend ensuring that was a key part of their job description.
And that’s also why we look at both marketing and sales when clients ask us to carry out an in-depth marketing review.
The alternative would be to have a single director, but without the expectation of having extensive experience and skills of both sales and marketing. Instead, the experience would be a layer below, by employing a proven Sales Manager and Marketing Manager.
But, no matter how good the relationship is between sales and marketing, they will clash at times. It’s just the nature of the two beasts. And finding someone who wants to play mediator, and is also capable of delivering strong and effective marketing and sales functions, is even more unlikely.
If you’re struggling with this conundrum, let’s have a chat.