Happy New Year, everyone! Jeff reminds me that I made a resolution to blog more, so let me post a short one to start off and ask a question:

Does your inside sales/ telesales organization report up to the head of Sales or the head of Marketing?

I’m hearing directors of demand generation, CMOs, and VPs of marketing argue compellingly that inside sales should take direction from marketing. When in sales, this team works the phones to close business this quarter and rarely analyzes why certain prospects turn out to be better customers. In marketing, their focus shifts from setting appointments to learning what qualifies a lead as ready for a sales call, and – if it’s not quite ready – what they can do to help the prospect get there. Jason Hekl, senior director of marketing at InQuira – who also heads up demand generation – changed his inside sales teams compensation structure this year to reflect this emphasis. Instead of being measured on appointments and calls, his team now gets paid a portion of their comp at the point when sales accepts the lead and puts it in the pipeline. The result? Inside sales reps spend more time qualifying leads before sending them to sales. Then they chase after their outside reps to accept the lead and move it to the next stage. Marketing benefits because inside sales gives them much better data and feedback about which marketing messages work and what makes for a better prospect profile.

So what do you think? Is there a trend toward having inside sales report to marketing, or am I just seeing a part of the picture?

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