Sales and Marketing Processes: Who REALLY has the control?

Today, many company’s sales and marketing teams say they’re aligned. But, when asked to compare existing processes to inefficiencies and how those current processes come to be, they exhibit confusion over where “processes” are truly controlled and therefore exist the way they do. After building a career in CRM consulting and now managing digital marketing accounts, I can firmly say that the vast majority of clients are not only interested in how process is designed, but more-so in how it’s controlled.

Is this because we are power-hungry individuals looking to control our way up the ladder in our organizations? I doubt it. Is this because we love micro-managing people? Probably not. In fact, I’d argue the opposite. Why is it, then, that the “process control” question continues to arise when sales and marketing alignment teams are in the same room? Because we’re still inefficient. Because we’re still doing way too much manual work and things that are automated don’t help our team members do their jobs effectively. Because we feel like we’re not working together. And because our costs are only increasing.

Let’s look at the typical “standard” companies are setting for sales and marketing alignment (in checklist format):

  • Do we have the same ultimate “roll-up” direct report (VP, President, Manager, CRO, etc)?
  • Do we all use the same tools (marketing automation, project management, CRM, ERP, etc)?
  • Do we have analysts who do universal analytics – cross-funnel and cross-channel – to provide the best ROI possible on all marketing and sales investments and campaigns?
  • Do we have plenty of meetings to “stay on the same page” and understand one another’s initiatives in given timeframes?

The list continues, but the general answer here is “Yes.” Yes, we do have all of these things! So what are we missing? Why are we still unable to control processes (and design them) with the intent to increase efficiency, teamwork, automation, and lower cost?

The person who designs our solutions designs our processes.

This means that the people sitting there designing the tools we are supposed to use for our jobs every hour of every day control the ways in which we work. If the solution (or system or tool – whatever you want to call it) is not setup, designed, and automated in the way in which we want to work together, we will never align ourselves and work together. Whether you’re in IT, sales, marketing, operations, HR, etc, today’s modern working world will tell you that our technology is our lifeline to getting our work done. People need computers, laptops, printers, mobile devices, desk phones, and a wide array of solutions to get their work done every day. If we aren’t optimizing and changing those pieces of technology to represent the efficiencies and the processes that we want, none of those other checklist items will truly align. So, once again, the person who designs the solutions designs the processes.

What does this mean for sales and marketing teams? Let’s add a few things to our checklist:

  1. What solutions do we use, where are we spending money, are they all helping us, and/or can we condense?
  2. Are we investing in people who actually know how to design these solutions (well) and are they actually skilled at what they say they do?
  3. Are we investing in the right IT solutions that will get us where we need to go as a business, as sales and marketing teams, and as individuals?
  4. Are we involving IT in our process meetings? Does IT know and understand where our gaps in inefficiency, automation, teamwork, and costs are?
  5. Are we working regularly with the solution design teams to test, train, and pilot improvements on a regular basis?

These are just a few to get you started. As stated before, while sales and marketing teams understand and want to be aligned, many times there is still a feeling of uncertainty and frustration surrounding process control. Sometimes it’s not a matter of what is being done, who is doing it, and who controls it. Rather, shift your focus to the design of the solutions, working with those who design them, and test the improvements of those solutions with your teams to see if it effectively optimizes your processes.

Do you want to learn more about marketing alignment? Check out our 6 step guide on developing & following through on a digital marketing plan.


Read our manufacturing marketing publication The MFG Standard. This issue is dedicated to setting 2016 marketing budgets and maintaining success throughout the year.

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