According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review (requires subscription or can be purchased), you could and you should strive towards integrated sales and marketing departments as the benefits of having both groups work in harmony are plentiful.
Stop marketing departments who spend on advertising without tying the results to sales, stop sales departments that only fulfill demand instead of (co)creating it, and stop managers for whom marketing is nothing more than selling and sales support… p.l.e.a.s.e!
The authors see two main sources of friction between sales and marketing – one economic and one cultural. The economic one has to do with the power distribution between sales and marketing in three of the four P’s – promotion, pricing, and product. The cultural one, which may be even more entrenched, has to do with the fact that the two departments attract vastly different types of people – with different educational backgrounds, skill sets, etc.
The article offers a few suggestions to better align the marketing and sales departments:
- Encourage disciplined communication – and that does not mean more communication, which is expensive.
- Create joint assignments and rotate jobs
- Improve sales force feedback
Once you have your sales and marketing departments aligned you can go a step further and work towards achieving an integrated relationship. The authors suggest the following actions to achieve integrated departments:
- Appoint a chief revenue or chief customer officer – a CRO or a CCO
- Define the steps in the marketing and sales funnels
- Split marketing into two groups – strategic and tactical groups
- Set shared revenue targets and reward systems
- Integrate sales and marketing metrics
While some of the advise and terminology may seem a little staid or even passé (after all, is marketing still about the 4 P’s? and is the buying process still a funnel?), the advise is solid and practical and should benefit any company with dysfunctional marketing and sales departments.