Business executives often have such a difficult time answering this question correctly. Here’s my take. Both.

What makes answering this question so difficult is the people who decide are either from one or the other discipline or they have never worked in either discipline at all. I am amazed at the misinformation that floats around marketing and sales discussions and passes as expert. And have you ever noticed how many ‘experts’ there are in the room when their company gets into strategic trouble and their jobs are in danger?

What makes answering this question so important is if you really don’t know you can’t reasonably expect to be able to logic your way to a productive sales marketing solution.The odds are against you and helps explain why so many firms go out of business when they find themselves pressed to make expert strategic sales marketing decisions. Remember, this is a blog about brands and branding so it highlights the successes and failures of successful brand campaigns as observed over many years.

So let’s agree for the moment that it takes both sales and marketing working together to score continuous sales growth. Let’s further agree that pretty pictures and glitzy Web sites from marketing and discount promotions from sales are not enough to revitalize an entire sales marketing program let alone revitalize a brand. And for the record, let’s agree that all of these things have nothing whatsoever to do with a winning brand strategy leading to new sales.

As an executive, if you hear people from sales and marketing pointing fingers at each other to justify their failures and making the following statements, you know you probably are in trouble:

  • If Marketing would be more creative we could get more leads and sell more!
  • What do I have to do for Sales, go out and sell it myself?
  • I told Sales how to sell it but no one listened to me!

During the past year I have grown increasingly uncomfortable with the lack of strategy being “co-developed” by sales and marketing teams. This has become pervasive in many companies including printing firms. If this is you, my advice is four-fold: 1) Stop the train and get everyone back on the same team regardless if they are from sales or marketing 2) Focus on what your customers really want from your company and are willing to purchase from you 3) Figure out the optimum way to deliver those goods and services using new strategic sales and marketing programs that deliver real value 4) Compensate the sales and marketing departments in the exact same way so everyone succeeds or fails, together.