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Who Owns the End Result?

Vicki O'Neill Cincinnati Marketing and Sales

Tip 5: Results: Marketing and Sales own the end results

When Steven Covey stated "Keep the end in mind" he provided various perspectives. Whether it's waking up and what to accomplish that day, a project you're starting and what you want to accomplish at the end or even a meeting and what action items or information you want to communicate by the end.

Regardless of the scenario, there is one constant: to reach the end. It's a vague concept that can be applied across any situation. With business, there's a fiscal year and revenue goal. There's a lot in between those two that needs to happen. Marketing and Sales efforts are included and need to be aligned and working together toward the common goal. Both teams influence the end result - and own it.

The business definition of end result is a final outcome of a process. When you think of making one sale, there's a lot that occurs before the agreement to do business together. A lot of that upfront work is from Marketing.

The most important thing for businesses to understand is the Marketing and Sales collaboration. When these two teams work together, the long and short term plans are also working together. And why wouldn't you want that to occur? Please don't say "that's the way we've always done it." Worst. Statement. Ever.

When you have both teams with "skin in the game" and sharing goals, there should also be sharing in the celebrating of the results.

And this is where there will be great discussions! Since Marketing has skin in the game at the beginning and during the process - and shares in the objectives - they should also have skin in the game, i.e. own, the end result.

With Marketing and Sales aligned and not only working toward a common goal but getting rewarded for achieving it, it will require that scare word "change". I'm referring to comp plans and commissions, which are traditionally only for Sales. To move in the direction of Marketing comp here are a few next steps:

  1. Evaluate your current comp plan (Marketing and Sales)

  2. Consider a quarterly payout for Marketing Year 1, then monthly Year 2 and beyond

  3. Determine the financial impact and what additional revenue needs to be generated

  4. Obtain approval from the stakeholders (CEO, CFO, investors, etc.)

The change may not be possible until the next fiscal year. But going through this process now set you up nicely for when your strategic planning begins.

Yes, this is different, unique and an unheard of concept. BUT as the definition of "end result" indicates, a process in which Marketing has prepared and invested time, resource, sweat and tears, there should be a financial tie-in and win for them, too, to even the playing field for all involved.

Consider this:

If you current sales commission structure is based on a % of closed business for one month, a monthly commission check, the sales team is getting a % of all revenue or profit they generated for the company for one month. This is all inclusive of inbound, outbound and referral closed business and sales efforts - which they didn't own 100% of what happened prior to receiving the lead or connecting with a decision maker.

Before the Internet, that was a great plan for Sales - when they conducted business holistically through outbound, cold calling and door-to-door sales efforts. That's a lot of work! And time to invest in earning a company's business is worth a high rewarding comp plan.

BUT the times have changed. With so much of the process taking place online, on the phone, behind the scenes, the comp plan should reflect everyone involved. Marketing plays a much bigger role today than they ever have. With that said, they should be included in the wins - and losses.

For Marketing, if you want to directly connect payout to efforts, it will be more time consuming but helpful with strategic direction and planning in the coming months and years. Track each sale back to it's point of origin. This will go back to the "persona" development and touch points that determined when a MQL becomes and SQL. Or if you want to rank each platform based on quality of the lead (for example, your website leads may be more qualified than your Facebook leads) then you create a formula with a higher % payout on the more qualified leads than those that came in and didn't meet any persona criteria. There are a multitude of scenarios - you just need to evaluate your business and teams to determine what works best (and you don't have to stick with one plan - you can start with a macro plan Year 1 then communicate plans for Year 2. Might even help with keeping employees longer :)

The point to this is: Marketing can't operate without Sales and Sales can't operate with Marketing. With that said, Marketing has the same goal as Sales: generate revenue. The path that leads to revenue is different for each team but equal time invested in the process. With the teams collaborating to drive end results, the compensation should commensurate with the value of the time and resource investment as well.

"It's not the strongest that survive nor the most intelligent. It's the one most responsive to change." ~Charles Darwin

How does your Marketing and Sales teams payout plans compare? Comment below!

NEXT on the reading list: Content Creation Process


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