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02 May '15 | Debjyoti Paul

German Shoppers: Meet Them in the Fast Lane to Phy-gital

15 January '15 | Ralf Reich

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15 January '15 | Anil Venkat

Modernize or Perish: Property and Casualty Insurers and IT Solutions

14 January '15 | Manesh Rajendran

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13 January '15 | Anil Gandharve

The New Omnichannel Dynamic: Finding Core Principles Across Industries

13 January '15 | Debjyoti Paul

Technology does not disrupt business – CIO day 2014 Roundup

02 December '14 | Anshuman Singh

Apple Pay – The Best Is Yet To Come

02 December '14 | Indy Sawhney

Digital transformation is a business transformation enabled by technology

01 December '14 | Amit Varma

3 Stages of FATCA Testing and Quality Assurance

06 October '14 | Raman Suprajarama

3 Reasons why Apple Pay could dominate the payments space

18 September '14 | Gaurav Johri

Beacon of Hope: Serving Growth and Customer Satisfaction

05 August '14 | Debjyoti Paul

The Dos and Don’ts of Emerging Technologies Like iBeacon

30 July '14 | Debjyoti Paul

What You Sold Us On – eCommerce Award Finalist Selections

17 July '14 | Anshuman Singh

3 Steps to Getting Started with Microsoft Azure Cloud Services

04 June '14 | Koushik Ramani

8 Steps to Building a Successful Self Service Portal

03 June '14 | Giridhar LV

Innovation outsourced – a myth or a mirage or a truth staring at us?

13 January '14 | Ramesh Hosahalli

What does a mobile user want?

03 January '14 | Gopikrishna Aravindan

Revisiting the Sales and Marketing War

Posted on: 14 June '10

I recently re-read an old, but yet still very relevant article by Philip Kotler, Neil Rackham and Suj Krishnaswamy from the July-August 2006 issue of Harvard Business Review. Entitled “Ending the War between Sales and Marketing,” the article talks about the chasm that normally exists between sales and marketing functions within most organizations and how to resolve the conflict.

Coming out of this very deep recession, I imagine the “blame game” has been going on in many organizations throughout the world: with disappointing sales, marketing blames the sales force for poor execution and follow-up to campaigns they ran. The other side of the argument has sales blaming marketing for being out of touch with what they need-whether it is incorrect messaging, pricing, or leveraging the wrong go-to-market channels for lead generation.

The authors of this article define 4 types of relationships between sales and marketing:

 

    • Undefined: Each group has grown and operates independently. Essentially, the right hand doesn’t know what the left-hand is doing.

 

    • Defined: Processes exist between the two group and boundaries are understood and respected. The groups work together, but not consistently – perhaps only on large events.

 

    • Aligned: Clear but flexible boundaries exist. Joint planning, strategy creation and training take place. Definition of terminology like ‘qualified lead’,’value proposition’ and ‘segmentation’ are jointly understood.

 

    • Integrated: Not only are each of the above characteristics apparent in integrated sales and marketing relationships, but in this category it goes one step further-shared metrics are established.

 

I encourage readers of this blog to take a look at this article. In particular, take the self-assessment test in the article that will help decide the state of your sales and marketing alignment. I did it for MindTree and concluded we are ‘Defined’. As a next step, I plan to ask our sales and geo heads to do the same and give me their assessment rating. From this, I am hoping we can agree on measurable next steps to move MindTree towards being ‘Aligned’. This will require a more formal communication process; and identifying a liaison, who can work between the two groups to educate, share feedback and resolve conflicts.

How did your organization rate? I’d love to hear from you.

  • Harmanjit Singh

    Mr. King,

    Reached here from your twitter link. Thanks for sharing this article, but in my case, we are a small firm of only 10 people, so such issues never arise here but will definitely go through the article from knowledge point of view.

    Regards,
    Harman

  • Joseph
    I experienced 3 types of relationships – Undefined, Defined and Aligned – across 3 organizations. But they were not always in tight silos.

    You can experience alignment in one area and still have an undefined relationship in another. For example, in a largely ‘Aligned’ organization, the relationship can still be ‘Undefined’ when it comes to the critical function of Demand Generation (in B2B). Marketing has to take the lead here and demonstrate that they have the required understanding of the market, the dynamics at work in different geos, what’s happening in the client organization, what the competition strategy is and therefore what our go-to-market should be – all backed with solid data. Without this, sales will always view marketing simply as a “marcom” or support function – to deliver collateral and organize events.

    When marketing demonstrates the expertise and delivers (especially to the pipe), then a 360 alignment between sales and marketing becomes possible.

    Thanks for sharing the HBR piece. Will read it.

  • Vijay. M

    Hi Joe,

    Sales and Marketing should work hand in hand. Marketing should drive sales and vice versa.

    If there is a synergistic relationship between the two then the organization can reach heights.

    Regards, Vijay

  • As I understand Marketing “Communication with the Market to achieve sales” they have to work hand in hand. Consequently I can only confirm the comment of Vijay. M.

  • Dream big….10 people today but what you do creates the foundation for tomorrow. Good luck.

    And thanks for following me on Twitter

  • Yes Vijay. I agree

  • Thanks for writing Azra. It is worth tracking down the article…enjoy.