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August 17, 2010


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David Gordon Schmidt

Yes, indeed. A constant flow of pertinent content not only keeps awareness of the seller's value proposition high for the "someday" prospect; at its best it turns the prospect into a cheerleader when his/her C-level management balks at spending money.

Mark Goloboy

I think the only difference in the 16 years since 2004 is that email was added. It's only in the last year that Sales teams have started paying attention to Social Media as a Marketing source. The 2010 diagram is the way it *should* look, but most social media interaction still happens in either Marketing or Sales, but isn't well integrated through the funnel. Also, where's email in the 2010 diagram? It's still the base for every company's B2B marketing program.

Mark Goloboy

meant 1994 in prev comment...

Nathan Dube

Dave, this is a great post. I have a unique position at my (B2B) company as to how half my time is spent as a marketing professional (Social Media, Blogging, SEM/SEO) and the other half is spent in sales (Cold calling, following leads, etc) This allows me to do exactly what you are talking about above. While I suppose it is easier for me since I am the Sales and Marketing guy, I Think your advice should be taken by all the sales and marketing teams out there, however it seems like many are stuck in "the old ways". When I had tried to get our sales team involved with social media they basically blew me off. However after a while some of them are slowly coming around in being more active in regards to the facebook page and using tools like twitter and linkedin. Hopefully the sales/marketing relationship as described in you post will start to become more prominent as time goes on...

David Meerman Scott

Mark - my diagrams are not meant to include everything that a B2B company does in sales & marketing. They are a metaphor rather than a complete model.

Nathan - Cool that you do both. So you really see what I am saying!

Nathan Dube

Absolutely. I would say more so than most people. When I was working in marketing full time I experienced some of the adversarial concept that you mentioned, after transitioning to doing sales and marketing it became a lot easier to see the whole spectrum. While this paradigm shift may seem strange to the old school, it is important to try to communicate its necessity as to how the pros far outweigh the cons.

Christopher Ryan

David, good post. One of the biggest lessons about today's sales cycle is that there is no ONE sales cycle in B2B. Because of the prevelance of content on the Internet, prospects enter the sales cycle at various stages. Some contact the company during the information gathering stage while others may wait until they are close to a purchase decision.

This is why flexibility is a master skill in B2B marketing and sales. Buyers hold the power and instead of forcing prospects into our sales process, we need to adapt our processes to the way they prefer to buy.


Honestly, I don't know what I am doing: if I am selling or marketing my blog/website. In order to sell it I have to market it. It's so much fun to "sell" my blog to people by marketing on these social media sites.

The point: You're the best & your book changed my life and can make everyone's life (business) much easier and enjoyable once you look the tricks to the trade by reading it.


David Meerman Scott

thank you EquineValentina - glad that my ideas have helped you.

Tony Pantello

David - Thanks for this post. At the accounting firm I work for, this lesson needs to be taught to everyone, not just the sales and marketing departments.

Can you point me to any resources that focus on communicating the value of content and inbound marketing to individuals not in traditional marketing and sales roles?


The wall between sales and marketing has existed and continues to exist, unfortunately. I believe that it exists due to lack of communication and an understanding of how the two can cooperate to win.

What you have just stated is an eye opener to both, that both need to co-exist.

How do we make the two sides more aware of this need for co-existence? Awareness is the key...

Trip Allen, Team Egyii, Singapore

Tom Nolan

Another very interesting post David. I agree there has been a shift in sales and marketing departments attitude to each others roles in the sales process..but its still not ideal. In a perfect world both departments would openly communicate with each other to make the process simpler and more efficient but in my experience open, honest communication between the departments is still not occurring.

Gary Ambrosino

I think marketing and sales absolutely need to work together. As a matter of fact, it's not clear to me that there are separate functions called "marketing" and "sales" anymore. The new paradigm requires something different. Anyone have any ideas for a a new name for the "uber" manager of customer creation.

I'd also like to propose that it's better to skip the Inbound Marketing part of the process. I use my company's product, Timetrade, to prospect by asking customers to make immediate confirmed appointments through links in my e-mail campaigns and web site buttons. The overall effect is it "skips" the front end of the funnel - - it skips having to build a big sales effort to call prospects back. Instead, the prospects self-qualify by asking for a phone meeting of 15 minutes. This speeds up the selling cycle.

David Meerman Scott

Thanks, all, for your comments.

Tony - You could send them to this free ebook I wrote:

And, without trying to sell... Many people say they use my book "New Rules of Marketing & PR" for that purpose. If you buy one, get the second edition (out this year).

Kenny Madden

I have been banned from drawing circles instead of funnels in my office, So i am happy to see this conversation.

The changing landscape of “Traditional lead generation” as it pertains to the IT market & IT Buyer.(rather assumptive term of course)

A lot of marketing teams are under pressure to hit lead goals and what seems to be happening is marketing teams are tempted to throw as many “leads” as they can to the sales team. IT vendors generally think more leads is better because it lowers the Cost Per Lead they have to pay and gives the sales team more activity.

In fact in the long run it costs a lot more.
On average a software company will spend between $40 – $75K in additional “qualification” costs for every 1000 “leads”. (Read: Trade show leads, Whitepaper downloads etc, etc)
Alternatively, my recommendation for my clients is go where their buyers are and develop a demand generation program (not lead gen) where you engage potential prospects throughout the whole decision making process and always be present.
The clients who work from the outside in, tend to see much better results when focused on demand generation/opportunity creation as opposed to traditional lead generation.
You can’t “sell” someone unless they are in the market to buy a product or service like yours. So if you:
a. Position yourself as the expert, and then
b. Be “in front of” the prospect when they are ready to buy…
…then you will be the one they think of when they are ready to make a purchasing decision for a product or service like yours.

This is not my opinion ( my opinion is irrelevant) i am expressing what a million IT buyers have told me. IT Buyers are open to hear from Vendors but on their terms not the vendors. That is the major shift IT vendors need to make. Some are slowly doing it.

Let the "SMARKETING" revolution begin :) :) :)


Great post. I've worked in companies (well into the 2000's!) that have the "1994" dynamic you described above still present within their organizations. It's a tough hill to climb to escape that, and often times it does start at the top. What was a handoff is now a back and forth - more like a game of tennis than anything else.

Like Christopher noted above, prospects enter the sales funnel at different points in the buying process, and it's the job of both sales and marketing to deliver the content, resources and answers they need no matter where they stand in the internally-defined funnel.

Community Manager | Radian6

Jane Hiscock

Thanks for this David.
In many companies this challenge often comes down to some combination of organizational politics and metrics. As you say it isn't all about the leads ... until it is. If the only thing being measured is revenue then leads - for better or worse - tend to become the metric.

If you aren't meeting your numbers and your pipeline seems weak then as a sales person you will turn to the funnel. Would this happen as often if marketing and sales were in the same organization with one leader?

Certainly the organization isn't the only solutions to these challenges, however social is a powerful disruptor and I believe we may be at the start of seeing organizational shifts as a result.

In any case, it is clear that as marketers we need to acquire more of an understanding of what it is to sell in this fast moving environment. And sellers will need to become quickly savvy to the social web.

Thanks again for your insights.

Kyle McGrath

Great post. John Jantsch caught my attention in The Referral Engine when he said that "content is the new currency of marketing". Just like Nathan, I have to wear both a marketing and sales hat in the start-up that I work for. Both of our departments have an open mind about working together to organize the right content for the right audience in both the search and social worlds. We believe that this is the key to driving new leads into the funnel.

Glad that I recently read the New Rules of Marketing and PR and discovered your blog. Next up Worldwide Rave!


Very informative post David. Thanks to products like Salesforce and Hubspot, sales reps can be part of the funnel creation, not having to rely on the IT department to program a web form or email template. In my current role as our salesforce admin and ebusiness manager, I love to see our sales people's eyes light up when they realize they can put together efficient show follow up campaigns on their own and directly influence the outcome.

David Meerman Scott

I am delighted that this post has been valuable and really appreciate the comments.

Kenny - "banned from drawing circles instead of funnels" - LOVE IT. You're right about spending extra to qualify the dodgy "leads" - I hadn't thought about it that way. Thanks for making me think.

Katie - Love what you guys are doing at Radian6. I put several references into my newest book Real-Time Marketing & PR: which comes out in Nov. You're right, it's 2000s as much as 1994 that the bad stuff goes down.

Jane -- here's a perfect tweet "it isn't all about the leads ... until it is." Just sent it with a hat tip to you.

Kyle - those of us like you and me who wear both hats have an advantage...

cmsgstockton - you're right. Technology helps a great deal.

Katie Morse


Wow. Thank you for the incredible kudos! We're honored to be included in your book!

On a personal note, I've seen you speak multiple times and have been following your blog for ages. Thank you for helping to keep me on my toes and pointing out new ways of thinking about things. You're a consistent source of inspiration.

Community Manager | Radian6

David Meerman Scott

Thanks for commenting Katie! Yes, Radian6 pops up a number of times in my book to be released November 1 called Real-Time Marketing & PR: How to Instantly Engage Your Market, Connect with Customers, and Create Products that Grow Your Business Now



From your comments are we, as businesses, having to look to create an almost entirely new department and scrapping the old sales and marketing departments? Creating a SaleMark department that is truly a combination of the two, no blurring of the lines, the whole new department understands where it's headed and how it's going to function from the outset?

Thanks for your time and thanks for providing us with a fantastic book The New Rules of Marketing & PR, extremely inspirational.


David Meerman Scott

Tim - The two roles are different. Marketing is one to many and sales is one to one. Different skill sets are required. But there is no doubt that today the stuff marketing creates (web content) is used throughout the entire sales cycle and there is not a distinct handoff anymore.


This is a very timely post for me David in that I am working with a client on defining the triggers that move a prospect from one phase in the sales cycle to the next. Two points that you made loom large in this conversation - 1. It's not a "hand-off" process between marketing and sales but an ongoing collaboration between the two and 2. Relevant content is needed at each stage of the process to create the right engagement. In his comment above Nathan hit home with his point about sales' initial reaction to social media - a blowoff - which is what I ran into. It's critical to get them on board and show traction in order to get the collaboration needed. It's going to be interesting to see how this evolves.

Jacques Bakx

I agree. In successful b2b companies marketing and sales work together on cross-channel campaigns. Both understand the possibilities of combining different channels like sem, social media, e-mail, sms, telemarketing.


Couldn't agree more with this post. I think Marketing consistently stops short at early funnel disposition. As the buyer continues on his/her journey, the message and the experience with the brand changes. As marketers we are always concerned about getting the right message to the right person. The tricky part is getting it to them at the right time throughout their purchasing cycle. In order to do that successfully, we have to partner with sales. They have the relationship throughout the funnel and marketing needs to learn how to listen more effectively to provide the right content. Check out apps like Sales Coach in SFDC to help map out your content both internally (Education of the sales force) and externally (Education of the buyer).

David Meerman Scott

Richmac - Yes, getting sales to understand this new reality is critical. In my experience, the biggest obstacle can be old school sales VPs.



Like the blog, appreciate the share!

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