Different sales and marketing thought-worlds

15th December 2017 |   Kenneth Le Meunier-FitzHugh

Which cross-functional integration mechanisms improve the relationship between sales and marketing functions?

Different sales and marketing thought-worlds

The article by Douek on the importance of intra-collaboration between sales teams in complex sales situations in the previous edition of the Journal has highlighted the need to revisit the thorny subject of the internal relationship between sales and marketing functions. Previous research has established that where there is collaboration between sales and marketing, there are improvements in sales performance.1 Conversely, where conflict exists between sales and marketing, it is detrimental to sales success. It has been found that conflict is created when sales and marketing experience thought-world differences or role ambiguity, or where the importance of, and linkages between, their tasks are not clearly explained.2

Organisations strive to improve collaboration between functional areas as this creates mutual understanding, sharing of resources, a common vision, and fosters the development an esprit de corps in their interactions. Organisations also strive to reduce conflict between sales and marketing as conflict would be indicative of low levels of cooperation, poor alignment of activities and ineffective working practices. Although there has been much discussion in both academic and practitioner literature on how to improve the interactions between sales and marketing over the past ten years, this is still something that many organisations are struggling with today.

Senior Lecturer at the University of East Anglia

Kenneth Le Meunier-FitzHugh holds a PhD from the University of Warwick and currently is a Senior Lecturer at the University of East Anglia. Prior to this he spent 20 years working in industry. His research has focused on sales and marketing and he has a number of publications in academic journals including, Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Business Research and Industrial Marketing Management. Ken has edited and written several books including, The Oxford Handbook on Strategic Sales and Sales Management, Achieving a Strategic Sales Focus, and Creating Effective Sales and Marketing Relationships.