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Redefining Marketing's Role in Demand Creation

To summarize: Marketing can play a critical role in creating demand for a company's offerings. If Marketing is going to serve as the front end of sales cycles, then its messages across all media should be consistent with the salesperson behavior we espouse: namely, leading with business issues with people who can make decisions and allocated unbudgeted funds.

Marketing should be the keeper of Sales-Primed Communications, but should not be expected to accomplish this in a vacuum. Sales should provide constructive input, continuing to fine tune material so that it reflects best practices in the field.

Marketing and Sales have to agree on the definition of a lead. We submit that a legitimate lead contains three components:

There are only a certain number of people out there who are already looking to change. Chances are, they already have a preferred vendor in mind. Demand generation entails causing people who weren't looking to change to begin a buying cycle. This segment represents many times the potential number of people who are already looking, and offers the advantage of allowing salespeople to be proactive and become Column A, instead of being reactive and competing for a silver medal.

People who are not already looking to change have no budget allocated, so the focus in those organizations should be on people who have the authority to free up unbudgeted funds. And, as always, we strongly recommended leading with business issues and usage, rather than the traditional "spray and pray" approach.

As we have seen, Customer Focused Selling cannot begin until buyers share either a business goal or a problem that a vendor's offering can help them address. Whether you are designing advertising campaigns, participating in trade shows, or putting on seminars, you should begin with the end in mind: creating qualified leads for the sales organization.

In summary, few companies have a working definition of the interrelationship between Sales and Marketing. Companies implementing Customer Focused Selling embrace the following description of each function's role:

Marketing, through its programs, is responsible for getting buyers who are not currently looking to change to consider looking. Marketing is also the keeper of the tools needed to take a businessperson from a goal to a vision of a solution.

Salespeople execute the sales process using Sales-Primed Communications. In doing so, they are responsible for documenting calls so that sales managers can audit and grade the opportunities in the pipeline.

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