Ending War Between Sales and Matketing

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In many companies, sales forces and marketers feud like Capulets and Montagues— with disastrous results. Here’s how to get them to lay down their swords.

Ending the War Between Sales and Marketing
by Philip Kotler, Neil Rackham, and Suj Krishnaswamy

Included with this full-text Harvard Business Review article: 1 Article Summary The Idea in Brief—the core idea The Idea in Practice—putting the idea to work 3 Ending the War Between Sales and Marketing 14 Further Reading A list of related materials, with annotations to guide further exploration of the article’s ideas and applications

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Ending the War Between Sales and Marketing

The Idea in Brief
In too many companies, Sales and Marketing feud like Capulets and Montagues. Salespeople accuse marketers of being out of touch with what customers really want or setting prices too high. Marketers insist that salespeople focus too myopically on individual customers and short-term sales at the expense of longer-term profits. Result? Poor coordination between the two teams—which only raises market-entry costs, lengthens sales cycles, and increases cost of sales. How to get your sales and marketing teams to start working together? Kotler, Rackham, and Krishnaswamy recommend crafting a new relationship between them, one with the right degree of interconnection to tackle your most pressing business challenges. For example, is your market becoming more commoditized or customized? If so, align Sales and Marketing through frequent, disciplined cross-functional communication and joint projects. Is competition becoming more complex than ever? Then fully integrate the teams, by having them share performance metrics and rewards and embedding marketers deeply in management of key accounts. Create the right relationship between Sales and Marketing, and you reduce internecine squabbling, enabling these former combatants to boost top- and bottomline growth, together.

The Idea in Practice
How interconnected should your Sales and Marketing teams be? The authors recommend determining their existing relationship, then strengthening interconnection if conditions warrant. WHAT’S THE CURRENT RELATIONSHIP? THE RELATIONSHIP IS… Undefined IF SALES AND MARKETING… • Focus on their own tasks and agendas unless conflict arises between them. • Have developed independently. • Devote meetings between them to conflict resolution, not proactive collaboration. • Have rules for preventing disputes. • Share a language for potentially contentious areas (e.g., defining a “lead”). • Use meetings to clarify mutual expectations. • Have clear but flexible boundaries: salespeople use marketing terminology; marketers participate in transactional sales. • Engage in joint planning and training. • Share systems, performance metrics, and rewards. • Behave as if they’ll “rise or fall together.”





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Ending the War Between Sales and Marketing

The Idea in Practice (continued)
SHOULD YOU CREATE MORE INTERCONNECTION? Strengthening Sales/Marketing interconnection isn’t always necessary. For example, if your company is small and the teams operate independently while enjoying positive, informal relationships, don’t interfere. The table offers guidelines for companies that do need change. IF THE CURRENT RELATIONSHIP IS... Undefined AND... • Sales and Marketing have frequent conflicts and compete over resources. • Effort is duplicated, or tasks fall between the cracks. THEN MOVE THE RELATIONSHIP TO... Defined BY... • Creating clear rules of engagement, including hand-off points for important tasks (such as lead follow-up).


Aligned • The market is becoming commoditized or customized. • Product life cycles are shortening. • Despite clarified roles, efforts are still duplicated or tasks neglected.

• Establishing regular meetings between...
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