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Should Sales Ops and Marketing Ops Be Combined?

Lately, we’ve been hearing from more B2B firms that want to integrate their sales ops and marketing ops efforts. A couple of different trends seem to be pushing companies in this direction.

First, many management teams have been restructuring their organizations so that marketing and sales (and their marketing ops and sales ops counterparts) report to a single vice president of sales and marketing. If the two teams are going to be accountable to the same person, it just seems to make sense to combine them into a single group.

Second, both sales ops and marketing ops rely heavily on automation solutions. In some cases, they are using the same application to serve both disciplines. And when both functions are being driven by the same software, it seems very natural to integrate them.

Here at SellingBrew, we are enthusiastically in favor of close collaboration between marketing ops and sales ops. At a minimum, we like to see a strong dotted line connecting the two groups on the org chart.

That said, it doesn’t always make sense to unify marketing ops and sales ops.

At their core, marketing ops and sales ops are two very different disciplines. If you, as a sales ops professional, think that all the marketing team does with their automation solution is send out emails to prospects, you probably don’t really understand marketing all that well. In that case, it’s definitely better to leave the marketing to the marketing folks and the sales to the sales folks. You see, in the same way that sales ops is about a whole lot more than just managing the customer relationship management (CRM) solution, marketing ops is about a whole lot more than just managing the marketing automation platform.

So when should marketing ops and sales ops be combined? And when should they remain separate — but closely collaborating — entities?

We like to apply a simple test based on the One-Sentence Sales Ops Mission. In our opinion, the goal of every sales ops team should be

“Proactively creating the conditions where more deals, that are more profitable, with better customers, are the natural result.”

If combining the sales ops and marketing ops functions would help you make significant progress toward that goal, then by all means, you should consider merging the two teams.

But don’t lose sight of the fact that combining sales ops and marketing ops will result in a fair amount of upheaval. Unless the potential benefits are pretty high, the change might not be worth the amount of stress that it puts on the organization.

Most of the time, other types of efforts are going to be more effective in advancing you toward your mission. For some examples of initiatives that are likely to help you meet your goal, check out the webinars on Structuring Effective Sales Ops Functions, Developing a Winning Roadmap for Sales Ops, and The Realities of Account-Based Marketing and Sales. All three will give you give advice on how to set up your sales ops team to achieve the greatest strategic benefit.

And while there are some exceptions, achieving those benefits probably won’t involve merging with the marketing ops team.

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