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Sales versus Marketing: The Modern Game of Thrones

Looking to get your sales and marketing teams working together, rather than starting the next great war of Westeros? To learn how Pardot can help, watch the “Sales vs. Marketing: The Modern Game of Thrones” webinar we hosted with Pardot.

Just like the books, this blog post is a little long but it’s worth the time to give it a read.

The recent season premiere of Game of Thrones got us thinking that many organizations might have more in common with the families from the show than meets the eye. There probably aren’t dragons flying around the office but much like Game of Thrones’ iconic families, Targaryen, Stark and Lannister, sales and marketing teams might find themselves at odds with each other.

There’s no Iron Throne for the top contender, but both groups must fight to prove their value. Marketing needs to generate qualified leads, while sales looks to close deals. These goals should complement each other but without feedback from sales, there’s no way for marketing to know if a campaign is bringing in the right leads.

Pardot helps bridge the gap between sales and marketing and enables them to achieve their joint goal of a higher revenue for the business. The platform’s scoring and grading capabilities assures that everyone is on the same page, so leads are appropriately nurtured and only the best leads are sent to sales.

Predicting lead conversion with scoring and grading

Scoring and grading are the two measures Pardot uses to predict if a prospect is likely to convert. The best way to understand these concepts is in terms of interest. Scoring shows how interested a prospect is in a company or a specific product based on their actions online; grading measures how interested an organization is in pursuing a prospect based on the demographic data.

Cody Campbell (one of Traction’s marketing automation archmaesters) explains how scoring and grading could help a business that sells mead (honey-wine).

Scoring and Grading
Scoring and grading helps mead producers understand the steps someone takes before making a purchase. Could it help your organization too?


“Let’s say I’m hosting a party, and I want to make sure there’s mead for my guests. I check out a local mead producer online and they begin scoring me based on webpages I visit, emails I open and links I click. This helps the company gauge my interest, so they can best nurture me,” says Cody. “As soon as I fill out a form to go on a tour of the meadery and they collect my data, the company starts to grade me,” he continues. “Grading helps them understand if I’m likely to convert based on my similarities to their typical buyer. In this case, my job title contains ‘knight’ and I live in King’s Landing, so I’m considered a good prospect for them to pursue.”

These two measures work together to predict if a prospect is likely to convert.

Qualifying the best leads for sales

Cody is a marketing automation consultant at Traction.
Cody is a marketing automation consultant at Traction.

For a scoring and grading model to be successful, it’s important for sales and marketing to agree on the combination of score and grade where a prospect demonstrates both ideal fit and high interest. This is the point where a prospect would be considered a marketing qualified lead (MQL) and is passed to sales.

“Pardot’s real value is that it automates this lead nurturing and qualification process,” says Cody. “This allows the mead producer to keep me engaged with targeted communications. Over time, Pardot will determine when I meet the scoring and grading threshold and become an MQL.”

Once Cody becomes an MQL, it’s up to sales to close the deal. But what happens if he never meets the threshold? Pardot continues to keep an eye on his behavior and nurtures him with new content, so the mead producer can hopefully move him down the funnel in the future.

Adapting your process over time

Cody recommends starting with a simple scoring and grading model and then having sales and marketing work together to adapt it over time, so the most qualified leads are sent through to sales. It’s important to have insight and input from both teams, so the model reflects each team’s goals.

In the end, an effective model benefits both teams. It helps marketing with automated lead qualification, streamlined sales handoffs and closed-loop ROI reporting to prove the efficiency. While sales gains better insights, quicker sales cycles and higher opportunities closed, ensuring peace between the two departments, which is more than we can say for what’s about to come for the people of Westeros.

Learn more about getting your sales and marketing teams working together like Daenerys Targaryen and Tyrion Lannister, by watching our webinar, “Sales vs. Marketing: The Modern Game of Thrones.

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