Should Inside Sales Report to Marketing or Sales?

Sales and marketing alignment is important, but you can go even deeper with alignment by having inside sales report to marketing.

Since 2012, most Inside Sales or SDR teams have reported to sales. According to a 2018 study by Bridge Group and AA-ISP, 65% of SDR groups report to the sales organization. However, inbound only teams are twice as likely to report to marketing than blended or outbound teams. Inbound teams work directly from leads generated by inbound marketing. However in my own experience, over the past year or so I have seen more blended (inbound and outbound) teams being moved into marketing.

Limitations of Inbound

As far back as early 2018, Gartner’s Todd Berkowitz pointed out the limitations of Inbound Marketing, particularly for tech companies. And that means, especially for B2B growth tech companies, the ideal approach is inbound marketing combined with outbound sales. Combining inbound and outbound tightly aligns inside sales and marketing and accelerates account penetration and time to revenue.

Top Benefits when Inside Sales Reports to Marketing

  • Up to the minute messaging and view into the buyers journey
  • Better synergy for targeted, account-based marketing (ABM)
  • A better understanding of campaign messaging and objectives
  • Better agreement on the definition of MQL and faster response time
  • Closed loop feedback that benefits both the marketer and inside sales rep in achieving their goals

Guidelines for Marketing Managers who Manage Inside Sales Reps

Ensure that reps have a leader. ISR/BDR performance improves dramatically with weekly coaching. A dedicated Inside Sales Manager is best for this. We recommend that embedded inside sales teams have their own manager who provides the day to day management, coaching, training and role play that that’s essential for success. It’s a myth that you can just hire “experienced” inside sales reps and they’ll be able to manage themselves.

Year after year, sales coaching is the most effective sales enablement service, as explained in more detail here. While formalizing an organization’s coaching approach, all roles involved should get clarity on their expectations, assumptions and misconceptions.”

CSO Insights

Respect the calling hours. One of the biggest complaints I hear from ISRs and BDRs is having to sit through hours of marketing meetings during peak calling hours.

Establish shared incentives. When you put sales and marketing on the same team, their goals must align. If marketing is generating inbound leads for ISR, they should be held similarly accountable for lead quality and revenue generated.

Defend their commissions. Inside Sales Reps need to have a champion on their side to make sure all commissions are right. Marketing managers, be thoughtful your new sales team.

Don’t forget Sales Training and Sales Enablement. Whether inside sales reports marketing or to sales, sales training and sales enablement are critical drivers of sales performance

Read more tips for marketers in our blog: The 7 C’s that Marketing Needs to Know about Managing Inside Sales

Looking for ideas on helping your inside sales reps reporting to marketing make quota, read 5 Ways to Help Your Sales Reps Make Quota