Sales vs. Marketing

For my Sales Management course, we were required to read an article that discusses the differences between sales and marketing and how these two should interact.   The name of the article is Ending the War Between Sales and Marketing and it is by Philip Kotler, Neil Rackham, and Suj Krishnaswamy.  It is published in the Harvard Business Review and was not viewed online; however, this is a link to the electronic copy:

The article states that the sales and marketing departments of an organization should have a disciplined relationship and should be integrated.  It states that there are four possible levels of a relationship between the sales and marketing departments.  The four levels include undefined, defined, aligned, and integrated.  When the departments are integrated, they will share the same metrics for performance and rewards as well as behave as if they will rise or fall together instead of independently of one another.  The article also goes over the different levels that a company may have with actually having a marketing department.  It states that most small companies combine the sales and marketing into one department simply labeled “marketing” even though it contains both.  According to the article, there are two main reasons that cause friction between the sales and marketing departments when they are separate.  The two reasons are economic, mostly budget, and cultural, which is how each department spends their time.  The article also states that it is very possible for an organization to move from one level of relationship to the next, with the end goal to be integrated.

This article is very informative to anyone who is in sales or marketing.  I think it is also important for different departments to be aware of what may be happening in their organization’s sales and marketing departments.  Since I plan on going into sales, this article taught me that the sales and marketing departments typically have friction but that it can be decreased or taken away completely.  One of the key points that I took away from the article is that the departments typically have issues dividing the budget fairly.  The marketing department typically believes that the sales force is spending too much time and money on each individual client of theirs while the sales department  believes that marketers spend all of their budget on pricing, promotion, and product.  I think this is important because both departments need to recognize the benefits of spending money in each of these areas but need to agree on just how much of the budget should be dedicated to each.  This article also informed me of the difference in culture that typically exists between sales and marketing.  While the marketers spend much of their time building a competitive advantage for the future, sales people spend their time attracting and retaining customers.  The article demonstrates how to classify the relationship between sales and marketing departments and how to move from one relationship level to the next.  This will reduce the tension as well as improve the overall organization.

In my marketing course, my professor often brings in outside articles for us to read.  This really improves my learning more than any single book can since marketing and sales are always changing.  The articles that I have read in this class are always tied to sales management which will help me in my future.  I keep copies of all the articles that are assigned because I know they provide key information that I will be able to use as a sales manager if that is where my career takes me.

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