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Though much has been written about the gap between Marketing and Sales, an equally critical gap exists between Marketing and Sales performance expectations and actual results.

The optimum outcome of marketing and sales activity can be defined as maximum success, fulfilled potential, or realized objectives. But how realistic are those desired outcomes?

Potential results are not being achieved, companies are enduring astronomical costs that include wasted marketing and sales dollars, and deals are being lost to competitors.

The following 10 questions—applicable to each of your campaigns—will help you determine the issues inhibiting optimal results:

  1. How much will it really cost?
  2. Is the objective clear? Are you looking to gain awareness, interest, or response?
  3. What are the expected results?
  4. On what basis are those results expected (best and worst case)?
  5. Would you approve the campaign if you knew in advance you'd get "worst case" results?
  6. What were the results of similar campaigns in the past? If the answer is "not very good," why is it being done again?
  7. If a campaign has never been tried before, has it been tested? If not, why?
  8. How critical is it to do this campaign now?
  9. What process is going to be used to qualify, distribute, and measure follow-up on response?
  10. When and how will you assess the results of the campaign?

If those questions set off red flags for you, stop the spending carousel that has dollars going out with certainty and revenue coming in with less certainty. Many managers tend to keep the carousel going, fearing they'd jeopardize short-term sales if current or future programs are reduced or eliminated.

Once you've asked—and answered—the 10 key questions, it's vital to take action immediately.

Without prompt action, your entire organization is at risk. Some organizations fail because their members don't know what the real rules are, or because they are run loosely. But organizations that are fenced in by strong boundaries thrive.

Take the following 10 actions to close the performance gap and ensure optimal results.

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image of Dan McDade
Dan McDade is the CEO of PointClear, an Atlanta-based prospect development company that helps B2B sales and marketing executives fill their forecasts with sales-ready buyers.