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HOW CAN MARKETING AND SALES COLLABORATE?

This month’s topic is based on a recommendation from a Linkedin contact and addresses the question: how can marketing and sales collaborate in companies?

First of all, let's clarify the position of sales in the conventional marketing mix; sales is part of the promotional “P” of the 4-P’s model. But for many companies, sales and marketing are separated. This can result in collaboration problems - depending on the responsibilities that have been assigned to each respective service of these companies.

Generally speaking, for companies with separated marketing and sales, the following organization can be noted: the marketing department will have the task of creating quality leads which are in line with the company’s objectives and mission which sales then convert into customers. However, oftentimes, the two services are working on a different timescale: marketing typically works in the medium and long term while sales work in the short term and is accountable every month if not every week.

The relationship between the two services needs to be collaborative because:

- Sales have the finger on the market; if your competitors offer something similar at a better price, they’ll know it first;

  1. - Sales will be able to quickly gauge the level of acceptance of your product/service by customers and potential-clients;

  2. - Sales are a vital source of information on any new product/service and on the unrealized needs of your current customers;

  3. - Sales are the bridge between clients and operations, and

  4. - If there is a gap between theory and practice, sales will be the first to know it.

Thus, sales must notify marketing of any pertinent information enabling marketing to quickly rectify, when necessary, either the target market and/or the message used and/or the product composition.

Conversely, sales should demonstrate flexibility and openness in analyzing customer feedback for several reasons:

  1. - It may be that the new product / service is  aimed at a very different clientele than that currently served by sales;

  2. - It is also possible that the sales technique for this new target client is different from what has worked so far;

  3. - It is also possible that the customer perception is distorted (she/he knows the company for a certain kind of product, but not for another);

  4. - It is also possible that the sales cycle is different from what customers and vendors are used to.

In any case, a close and transparent relationship should be established as soon as possible and maintained between the two services while understanding the objectives and the realities of the other.  How can we go about establishing such a relationship? There are many ways, but they revolve around the following points:

  1. - Involve sales in the development of new products;

  2. - Have a key person in the marketing department who will collect, classify and analyse all information from sales;

  3. - Develop an internal training program for sales that addresses all phases of the launch of a product/service;

  4. - Use test groups which would be composed of a selected company's customers, sales and marketing to gather information on new products, existing products, or the level of satisfaction from the sales/marketing process.

If you have other experiences to share on this topic, feel free to let me know. They will be included in the next article on the subjec

Have a great day!

Stéphane Elmaleh-Riel, B.Ed., MBA
Marketing consultant