There are plenty of models out there for determining the proper approach for a sales-first or marketing-first strategy.  For a startup or a business undergoing a transformation those decisions may not be as clearly defined as one might think.  I have been looking for a simplified model with some straightforward examples to help better explain and define a process that a business might go through to determine what was the best approach.  Without a good model, it is easy for a business to eventually develop a marketing/sales identity crisis, where misallocated resources and personnel create an environment for an ineffective business.

I once worked for a business that had just this identity crisis.  They had a product that was  marketable to a larger audience that offered good fit, low complexity, and ideal for a B2C environment.  It also had a B2B offering that featured some of the same characteristics, but required more of a sales focus than the B2C segment required.  

Yet the cultural focus was less on marketing and more on sales.  The outcome?

Under-performing sales in a KRI where more of an emphasis on marketing would have offset a great deal of higher costs concentrated on the sales side of the equation.  While the sales side (the B2B) area was ahead in all KRIs, the mix was lopsided, and the low-hanging fruit that could have been gathered by an effective marketing strategy was left to the competition.  The result was lower-than-desired overall sales.

This model, presented by Mark Leslie, a Lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, does a fabulous job of not only explaining the framework, but providing numerous examples of how it can be utilized to help balance the efforts of marketing and sales within a business or organization.

Leslie’s Compass: A Framework For Go-To-Market Strategy

Is it the best model ever?  You can be the judge yourself, based on your own experiences and education.  For me, given the simplicity and the ease of utilization, this makes sense as a great starting point for nearly any start-up or transforming business.