Should Sales or Marketing Own Lead Generation?

Should Sales or Marketing Own Lead Generation?

Who is responsible for lead generation?

Is it marketing or sales or both?

You may think the answer is obvious but in many organisations both parties often regard this as the others responsibility, and they’re both right. The challenge is to ensure both fully understand the role and responsibilities of each other.

Typically, there are significant challenges within both sales and marketing. The marketing function tends to struggle generating a sufficient volume of qualified leads, due mainly to the funding available, and the sales function often has little or no funding and is usually left carrying the burden of prospecting for leads. Good sales people are an expensive resource and wasting time struggling to get their foot in the door and find people who want to talk to them, when they should ideally be selling to engaged and viable prospects, is a costly mistake many organisations make.

Why then are so many sales people making cold calls, sending cold emails and prospecting?

The simple answer is they have no choice.

Most sales organisations have a mantra of increasing activity, ‘make more calls, send more emails’ and yet the top performing sales people spend less time prospecting and more time networking and getting referrals.

B2B marketing is in the midst of significant change and modernisation to align with how people buy and top performing sales people are similarly transforming their approach. They leverage their social networks through LinkedIn and Twitter, and monitor new about accounts. In short, they practice social selling with intent which, when done well, is practical and takes up less selling time.  Sales ready leads generated by marketing then help to top up the pipeline.

Marketing and Sales both need to be involved throughout the journey.

The focus within sales is dominated by the immediate and short-term revenue and quotas to fill, consequently creating a well-crafted, researched and deliberate lead generation campaign is problematic. To do lead generation properly requires a dedicated, ongoing commitment which marketing are best placed to deliver.

Working closely together, sales should be able to help marketing develop leads that match the seller’s expectations to sell with the buyer’s expectations to buy. A refined process of generating marketing qualified leads that are then qualified and nurtured by internal sales, SDR’s or outsourced teams allows the sales team to focus on developing relationships and closing new business.


Lead generation is an aspect of both sales and marketing with the common ultimate goal to generate revenue. Taking into account the revenue goals and fully collaborating to align messaging, ideal customer profiles, qualification criteria and lead routing results in an improved understanding of this shared responsibility. Simply put, treating lead generation as a shared responsibility to generate revenue, with a full understanding of who is doing what, will achieve better results.

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