What comes first? Marketing or Sales?

Question

What comes first? Marketing or Sales?

For some context, we’re a SaaS platform that after 5 years and 1 major rebuild is starting to gain some traction. We’re stepping up our pricing to help operationalize a support team and afford sales commissions.

Should we be focusing on marketing to build brand awareness and drive some inbound leads (we’ve gotten almost 0 sales this way) or should we spend time building a sales team?

Answer

I would suggest writing down where your biggest problem currently lies.

Have you defined your ideal customer and market? Do those ideal customers know about you? If so, what do they think of you? Can they easily get started with your product without human interaction? If no, do the founders have the bandwidth to manage the sales conversations?

Ideally, I would suggest the founding team manage sales until your funnel is too difficult to manage. That’s when it’s time to hire more help. This is not the answer for everyone but it’s my perspective on it, every situation is different.

When you say you’ve received 0 sales via inbound leads, what does that mean? Are you getting a ton of leads but aren’t closing any? That may be a sales problem or it could be a marketing problem. The sales problem, you haven’t figured out how to sell your product yet so it may be difficult to teach new reps to do so successfully. The marketing problem, you’re driving the wrong types of people to your website (not your ideal customer).

If you barely have any leads coming in, will you be setting your new sales reps up for failure?

So to answer your question of what comes first, it really depends. Where do you have the biggest gap? Another view, where does your founding team lack in expertise? Maybe the team can get by handling sales conversations for the time being but have no idea where to start with marketing.

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