24th March 2015

Sales and Marketing or Sales vs Marketing?

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There’s been an ongoing battle between Sales and Marketing departments for decades. Any integrated marketing agency will tell you that. However, the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) believe that in the next 10 years both Sales and Marketing departments will work together, taking shared accountability for their actions.

Can Sales and Marketing really co-exist peacefully in an organisation? Well, if you ask any of the MDs and Client Services teams of any of the UK’s  integrated marketing agencies who’ve ever sat round a table with both Departments discussing creative, a brief or even the next year’s planning schedule, most might raise an odd eyebrow. But strange as it sounds, the fusion of Sales departments with Marketing departments is something that existed over 100 years ago when Sales incorporated what we now call Marketing. The CIM was originally called the Incorporated Sales Managers’ Association (ISMA). ^

Why the change of heart?

Marketing and Sales have both tried carving their own separate paths in organisations, so why the sudden change of heart? The CIM feel that it is time to work side by side with the Sales department who can work better together than apart.^

Evidence does show that by aligning both departments you can achieve more together than apart.

Aligning both together leads to:

  • Better productivity
  • Improvement of staff motivation
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • More customers
  • Higher client retention
  • Improved sales figures

… so what’s stopping you from aligning sales and marketing? Why not use marketing to help relieve the sales force? A marketer can conduct research to calibrate the size of the market, choose from the best markets and channels and determine potential buyers’ motives and influences.

Is it time for a change?

You may be questioning whether your company’s processes need altering to give Sales and Marketing a more equal foothold. If your Marketing department has been meeting its goals you may think it isn’t necessary to work with Sales. However, some organisations sales forces may be struggling to sell your product because they’re unaware of what your markets needs are. All of which could have been avoided if they just sat down with the Marketing team.

Time to reflect

Both marketing and sales have a responsibility for the customer, but their separation has caused friction between both departments that has an adverse effect on the very customers they are responsible for. When the customers’ needs aren’t being met your business suffers as a result. Will you align both departments? Or will you bear the storm?

Malcolm McDonald Professor at Cranfield School of Management and Chairman of Brand Finance