Who Owns CRM: Marketing or Sales?

Updated: October 21, 2010

One could say that managing a CRM system adds a lot of work to a department's plate, and today everyone is already stretched thin during the work day. On the other hand, if you do not take ownership of the CRM system and its data, then you cannot control what happens with it. Is that a good scenario for sales or marketing to take on? I think not!

Marketing needs to be in the know when it comes to sales activities, trends, industry patterns, and even customer service concerns. When they are, they can be proactive (and not just always reactive) to changes in the marketplace, in the company, and in sales patterns.

Sales needs to be in the know when it comes to sales activities, forecasts, quotas, and leads. When they are, they can work as a team to close more deals, request information from marketing in a timely fashion, and dig deeper to get to know their prospects (and close more deals!).

Marketing Owning CRM

Working at a company for four years where my role was managing the database, and being a part of the marketing department, I saw first-hand how this works. Marketing technically owned the system - the department made the decisions of how the system would work, who would use it, what information to put in it, and what to pull out of it. But this was not necessarily ideal.

Sales Owning CRM

In working with some of my clients, I've seen the sales department take a stand to use the system, manage it, and make decisions while the rest of the company did nothing.

Sales and Marketing Sharing Ownership

Based on experience working with various different companies of varying sizes and industries, my assessment is that BOTH departments need to take a somewhat equal ownership of the system - it's not an either-or situation. Marketing and Sales need each other (despite what some of them think) to be successful. Marketing needs good data (or to gather the data) in order to provide sales the information they need to close the deals. In order to help convince the prospects that their product or service is the best out there, Sales needs Marketing to put together strong materials and provide as much research on the prospect company as possible. Ideally, the two departments go hand in hand. In reality, they rarely do.

When both departments take ownership of the CRM system, they can begin speaking the same language and knowing what each other needs without guessing or waiting for tedious meetings. Metrics begin to spring up that make sense to both worlds, instead of it being one-sided, and having to convince the other of your needs. Having one cohesive system with both departments invested in it makes life easier in the long run (and grows revenues for the company).

Featured Research
  • The 2017 CRM Comparison Guide: Q2 Edition

    If you’re in the market for CRM software, we’ve got good news. We’ve updated our CRM comparison guide for Q2. more

  • Are You Using These 8 CRM Features?

    One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make when it comes to their CRM software is the features they don’t use. This happens because they invest in CRM with a handful of problems in mind, so they’re content as long as it solves them. But if you want to maximize your ROI, you should be utilizing every feature available to you. more

  • 2017 CRM Software Cost Guide

    Would you believe that 89% of businesses expect to compete primarily on customer service in the upcoming years? With that in mind, it’s no surprise that CRM software is becoming such an integral part of business operations. But not all solutions are created equally, especially when it comes to the value they deliver to your business. more

  • Top 10 Trends in CRM for 2017

    There’s some big things happening with CRM software that you should to be aware of. Technological advancements and changes to business processes have led to developments and new features that are making CRM more valuable than ever. Things like mobile capabilities and greater integration with other software are at the front of this progress. more

  • SMB CRM Providers Comparison Guide

    A good SMB CRM system can be an incredibly valuable asset for your business. As more businesses recognize this value, the amount of SMB CRM vendors is expanding quickly. Navigating the pricing plans, features, and service terms of all these can be a decision-making nightmare. more