Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Marketing and Sales

How much does marketing really matter?

Maybe that's a terrible way to begin a blog for a marketing class, but I find myself struggling at my small company with making marketing relevant to the sales process. Even when marketing conducts research and analysis that resultsin very specific, targeted plans, the sales force may veer off in an entirely different direction. Obviously that's partly a management issue, but it's also a challenge that I think marketers should be willing to take up to further the strategic advantage of the company as a whole.

It's also a challenge for our MBA program. By definition we have few (or no) people who are in a purely sales role participating in the program because of the travel requirements of their jobs. To better integrate the roles of sales and marketing in my company I think that my marketing programs need to be more tactical and less strategic. Strategy still plays a role, but a gut feeling for effective strategies develops with time, experience, and observation of what sales processes do and don't work.

Over the course of a year and a half I think that I've been able to educate my management chain (VP of Sales) about the role of marketing, how it supports sales, and how it must be fundamentally have a more long-term focus than quarterly sales numbers. How do other people reconcile the conflicting agendas of marketing and sales at their companies?