Marketing Challenge: When Marketing and Sales Collide

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The head of marketing operations is doing just as much selling as marketing, sans the commission her sales colleagues earn. How should she handle it? Read the full scenario and send your answers to by Friday, August 1.


Jenna Davis was miffed. It seems she was hired for a job in marketing, but was actually performing one in sales, as well—and missing out on the variable compensation her sales colleagues receive. Robert Brackton, SVP of sales and marketing for midsize shoe manufacturer FashionForward Footwear, hired Davis as head of marketing operations.

When Brackton hired Davis, he explained that her role would be to generate and nurture leads, which would include creating content and collateral, arranging meetings for the salespeople, and conducting follow-up calls with prospective customers to determine sales readiness. Increasingly, however, Davis found herself not only performing her marketing duties, but also making initial in-person sales calls with retailers. In fact, in many cases she was doing everything but writing orders. Once Davis finalized all the prep work, a salesperson would draft the order and get the contract signed—something Davis could easily have completed herself. What's more, those salespeople would get full commission even though Davis did all of the presales work.

After nearly a year of being a team player and watching others get credit for much of her work, David had enough. She wanted her marketing role more clearly defined and the hand-off to sales earlier in the process—and she wanted commission for her role in closing deals. But not just deals going forward; also deals that she helped close in her first year at FashionForward.

Now she had to convince Brackton.

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