marketing organization structure

Let’s start with Sarah, the CMO who started less than 12 months ago. She inherited a legacy B2B marketing team, no marketing automation or lead generation program. Sales leadership continues to hammer marketing for support. They are looking for help generating qualified leads. At this point sales sees no value in marketing and why would they?


The first thing Sarah does is to perform a gap analysis or Marketing Productivity Benchmark (MPB). The analysis reveals significant gaps. She knew the team had gaps but she wanted a complete analysis before rebuilding.


Highlights of the gap analysis:


1. Currently no leads provided to sales


    • Customer service handles the few inbound leads and hands them off directly to sales


2. No Marketing Automation


    • Prior leadership didn’t think marketing should supply leads to sales


3. No Lead Generation program


    • Campaigns consisted of a quarterly newsletter, no “Calls to Action”, no tracking, no sequenced programs


4. An over rotation of outsourcing


    • The team lacked content development skills


5. A considerable talent problem


    • Legacy team not evolving at the pace of the market


6. The majority of the marketing roles were corrupted


    • Critical path execution lacked clear roles & responsibilities


Some might look at the above results and start looking for a new job. Sarah’s a grinder; to her this was a perfect opportunity. The opportunity to rebuild an organization from the ground up was challenging but exciting.


Download the Marketing Structure Tool Kit here if you think you might have a structural problem.


Sarah broke down her rebuild into 4 distinct buckets:

  1. Process – business process, lead flow; to and from sales, partners, inbound and outbound. The closure rates were near 50% from her 3 partner segments. Capturing partner leads and nurturing them to sales ready status was a quick win for her. Changing sales perception of marketing was a must have objective.
  2. Talent Management – complete review of her team’s competencies (current baseline) was the first step. Next was identifying the complete list of competency requirements for each new role.
  3. Content – she performed a marketing content audit, mapped the content to the buyer process, and identified the gaps. She reduced the amount of outsourcing by restoring critical path content development onto her team. Focused on developing Content Marketing  as a core competency of the marketing team.
  4. Technology – She reviewed her business processes, buying process maps (BPM), personas and selected the marketing automation solution. The Marketing Automation selected was the option that best supported the business processes, BPM’s and personas. She also selected a Content Management System to incorporate more structure into the organization


Sarah considered a number of structural groups before restructuring:

  • Marketing Communication
  • Strategy & Planning
  • Demand Generation
  • Lead Management
  • Marketing Operations
  • Product Marketing
  • Field and/or Program Marketing
  • Partner or Channel Marketing
  • Major, Key or Strategic Account Marketing
  • Loyalty Marketing
  • Branding
  • Digital
  • Social
  • Content Marketing
  • Etc.


Sarah then looked at the sales organization to understand how they were structured. She considered whether they were structured correctly. She then considered her options:

  • Tiered or segmented alignment
  • Activity based
  • Geo aligned
  • Vertical
  • Product
  • Buyer role
  • Hybrid


Whichever structure Sarah went with, she kept in mind 5 fundamental mistakes she wanted to avoid:

  1. Lack of clear roles & responsibilities or roles with conflicting priorities
  2. No clear marketing strategy
  3. No defined marketing metrics measuring return on marketing spend
  4. Legacy talent unable to keep pace with the market
  5. Ineffective implementation and use of Technology


Sarah had completed her customer assessment and internal stakeholder reviews. The last hurdle to complete was the competitive analysis. She determined the opportunity existed to leap frog the competition with the structural changes. Her competitors, although slightly ahead, also struggled with similar execution problems.


Sarah’s final Marketing structured was a vertical marketing alignment. The structured added several new groups and roles. Her direct reports included:

  • Strategic or Key Account Marketing
  • Marketing Operations
  • Demand Generation
  • Lead Management
  • Content Marketing
  • Marketing Communications
  • Marketing Technology


If Sarah’s problem sounds a little like what you’re struggling with, contact me at to discuss.





John Staples

Leads teams of highly qualified experts, all relentless in their pursuit of helping you make your number.

John is the global leader of SBI’s account management business unit. As such, he and his team help clients across 19 verticals drive top line growth and operational efficiency in sales and marketing.


John’s marketing, sales and product expertise span a multichannel strategic approach. He has an unyielding focus on strategic and key account development, which enables strategic alignment between all functional team members in order to reduce acquisition cost and increase lifetime value.


His broad experience in sales, marketing, product and engineering allows him to bring a unique problem solving approach to his team and clients. As he has discovered through decades of experience, clients are often distracted by the symptoms of a larger problem and overlook the root cause of it.


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