Have you ever been in an organization that put a long-run function under a short-run function?
What do I mean by long-run vs. short-run functions? It’s about the mindset or drive of a function within an organization.
Sales is focused on the short-run first while marketing is focused on the long-run first. This doesn’t mean sales doesn’t think about the long run, or that marketing isn’t concerned with the short run.
What it does mean is the mindset of those key areas are dramatically different. Sales has to think short term first while marketing has to think long term first.
I’ve led both functions throughout my career. My experience is that when Sales is leading Marketing, you don’t have much of a Marketing function. Instead, you have a tactical group of people producing “on demand” stuff that Sales thinks they need to close more business.
I stress ‘thinks they need’ because occasionally the sales team perceives that it needs something specific to help sell when in reality it doesn’t.
Other times, the team might nail it. Either way, it’s much better to have Marketing Intel through customer feedback and other analysis than just using the gut of a salesperson or two.
Focusing primarily on Sales at the expense of Marketing might work for a little while in the short term but the reality is those companies aren’t growth oriented because to be a growth oriented company, you have to engage in real Marketing.
You must have a long-run view that is customer focused. You need to build and create a Marketing culture. You should understand the trends — what’s coming down the pike. You need to know who your true target markets.
If you have a short-run function like Sales in control of a long-run function like Marketing, you’re going to get passed up by a competitor who understands the market better and can reach and influence that market with the right message through the right channel at the right time.
Make the positive change happen as soon as you can. Create a Marketing Culture, find real Marketers to develop and implement your Marketing plan.
I say “real marketers” because if you have Marketing under Sales, the people that stuck around might not be Marketers in the true sense of the role. At the very least, there are plenty of tactical people who will have to change their mindset under your new, real Marketing leader.
To land that new leader, you’ll need to put Marketing where it belongs: reporting directly to the chief executive. In other words, you’ll have to cut the BS.