Building a Sales & Marketing Machine

Introduction to “Building a Sales and Marketing Machine”

Building a Sales and Marketing Machine is a structured methodology for designing and reviewing your customer acquisition process. It stresses the idea that the only right way to build a sales and marketing process is to design it around your customers (customer-centric). Although this is obvious, it turns out to be radically different to the way most companies have designed their processes, which is based on what they want to happen ( Most of the time company-centric processes will not work as well as hoped, it will be because they failed to take into consideration the customer’s concerns and motivations.

This methodology will help you grow sales by addressing the following specific issues:

  • Ensure your process is Customer-Centric (as opposed to company-centric)
  • Design a process that is predictable, scalable, optimized and efficient
  • Provide you with clear instrumentation showing what is working, and what is not
  • Provide you with a clear understanding of what levers you can pull to grow sales
  • Identify bottlenecks, and show you how to resolve them
  • Lower the cost of customer acquisition
  • Ensure that Marketing is correctly aligned with Sales, and directly helping to close business
  • How to grow lead flow using the latest web marketing techniques

The complete article on this process is fairly long. For those who are interested in getting a fast overview of the topic, I recommend flipping through the following set of slides: Slides on Building a Sales & Marketing Machine.

An overview of the process

The following illustration shows the steps involved in the process:


The methodology has been evolved over more than 25 years, and applied to many companies with some outstanding success stories along the way. Several of these will be used as examples to illustrate the concepts.

Table of Contents


As a VC I have had the opportunity to study many startups and seen several successes and many failures. What I have observed is that there are a series of critical factors that need to be in place for success to happen. Most of these are obvious and well known, such as the importance of having a large market, good management team, barriers to entry, etc. (See Criteria for a Successful Startup.) However one of the biggest causes of failure that I have found, is not well recognized or discussed: the inability to acquire customers in a cost effective way.

If your business is suffering from any of the following symptoms, then this series of articles is for you:

  • You have sales process that feels broken, with bookings that are less than you hoped for
  • You need to grow bookings fast, but you don’t have a repeatable or scalable process
  • Bookings are unpredictable
  • It is costing you more in sales and marketing to to acquire your customers than you make from each sale
  • Sales is unhappy with marketing and wants more leads
  • Marketing is doing a lot of things, but they don’t seem to be clearly leading towards a sale
  • Marketing is unable to show the ROI on their programs

Definition: What is a Sales & Marketing Machine

A sales & marketing machine is a scientifically designed process to take suspects and convert them to customers. It has the following attributes:

  • Scalable, so that it can be cranked up when needed
  • Automated where possible, so that it requires minimal manual intervention
  • Instrumented with a Dashboard that provides Key Performance Indicators
  • The levers that can be pulled to grow sales are well understood
  • Results are predictable
  • There is a clear understanding of costs and returns
  • Marketing is tightly aligned with sales
  • Every step has a clear purpose of moving the prospect further down the process, and leads directly to a subsequent step

In the following sections, we will take you through how to build such a machine.

Next >

Share and Enjoy


  • katrina

    I'm sorry I don't have anything more insightful to say other than this blog series is remarkably good. very very good. i have found a site I will forward and visit often. thank you.

  • Michael O'Brien

    Good article. For me, I'd change it to Marketing & Sales Machine. Marketing must come first and one of the great weaknesses of modern business is the view that marketing is subservient to sales when in fact, it's the other way round.

  • David Skok

    Good point, and I agree with the thought!

  • Norwegianppc

    It depends. In a B2C environment – marketing is the primary and sales secondary. However in a B2B environment – marketing is a support function for sales.

  • Patrick Rafter

    Thanks for your excellent “Sales & Marketing Machine” post here. Thought you’d be interested to know that there’s a discussion starting about your article over on the new “Inbound Sales” Group on LinkedIn.
    Keep the insights coming!
    –Patrick (Rafter)

  • m2m

    Really your thought is nice..

  • m2m

    Really your thought is nice..

  • Uzdrowiska

    This is it! Thanks :)

  • web hosting companies

    this was truely a wonderful read. wish more blogs were more like this blog. great work. i will follow now.

  • tanu

    this is very useful indeed. I also want to follow academia related blogs where I can know about current research on marketing etc. any suggestions? i dont think harvard or wharton blogs r v academically inclined

  • Jay

    Hey this is great! Well summarized information on creating a sales and marketing machine.

  • soffront

    Good points !! very good information for sales and marketing