Work Moves Sideways – Outputs and Inputs

“Sales is complaining again,” Marlene announced. “They say all the leads that marketing gives them suck. They say they don’t even want the leads from marketing. If that’s the case, then why do we need the marketing department. Sales says that marketing is just a waste of their time.”

“Interesting,” I replied. “Then, what is the purpose for marketing? If you were in sales, what would you say is the purpose for marketing?”

“That’s simple,” Marlene said. “Leads. Marketing creates the circumstances where we identify people who have the kind of problems that we solve.”

“And, isn’t that what our marketing department does?”

“Yes, and no. The marketing department uses a variety of campaigns, trade shows, press releases, giveaways and social media to create inquiries. They are very proud at the number of leads they deliver to the sales team.”

“Then why the complaints?” I asked.

“The sales team has a very specific customer profile they identify as the ideal customer. Most people who don’t fit the profile, don’t buy. Last week, at a trade show, marketing gave away an iPad in a drawing in exchange for a business card. They got sixty business cards and turned them in as leads. When sales followed up, they found sixty people who didn’t fit our ideal customer profile. Waste of their time.”

“So, the sales team is looking for a very specific input, that meets several criteria for your ideal customer. But, the output of your marketing department is a list of people who want a free iPad? Your outputs and inputs don’t match.”

“Exactly,” Marlene nodded.

“So, if that’s the problem, how are you going to fix it?”

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