Who Owns the Pipeline, Marketing or Sales?

Posted by James Obermayer on Apr 16, 2018 12:22:29 PM

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Traditionally few would contest who owns the pipeline in any organization. It’s referred to as the sales pipeline and it’s owned by sales people, right? But is this still true? With the advent of new marketing automation capabilities, AI apps and other technology, marketing is inserting itself deeper in the pipeline at almost every level.

I recently talked to Dan McDade with PointClear as part of a series on SLMA Radio that I’m hosting that deals with the issue of pipeline ownership. Dan has some interesting perspectives, as have other guests on my show. Listen to Dan’s segment below.



Following are highlights of my interview with Dan:

  • Dan agrees that the question of who should own the pipeline is an important one. He’s observed that while marketing has made inroads, they are limited—marketing is currently providing sales with only 25% to 30% of the leads needed to meet revenue goals, and sales is still expected to generate 60% or more of their own leads.
  • He maintains that technology alone doesn’t address the need for marketing to generate more leads for sales. While marketing does need to enable a field sales team to focus on what they do best—which is close deals—they can’t do that if the leads they’re sending over are not qualified and nurtured.
  • What marketing needs to do is leverage technology not to simply send more poor quality leads to sales faster than ever before, but to cultivate the leads that sales needs to close deals that drive revenue for the company.
  • Marketing automation and AI can be valuable tools, but only when the technology is driven by smart best practices, including: Mutual agreement on the definition of a lead; account-based management processes that enable sales and marketing to work together toward common goals; and ingrained understanding that it takes more than one channel to get the job done (an allbound approach).

What are your thoughts on pipeline ownership?

Jim Obermayer is the founder of the Sales Lead Management Association, an organization serving 8,000 members and subscribers worldwide, with a website that includes 360-plus articles from 65 industry authors. The SLMALive Radio program has produced 415 weekly episodes and has 96,600 listeners. SLMA Radio is one of six marketing and sales shows for at-work listeners on the Funnel Radio Channel.


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