The Melding of Sales and Marketing
Although it may appear at times as though marketing and sales are at odds with each other, the two business functions actually share synergy, possible even a symbiotic type of relationship. One's energy feeds the other. One thing is for certain, both are important and neither can survive without the other. Becky Carroll at Customers Rock says "The goal is to understand the customer so deeply that everyone wins: sales + marketing and the customer. Only then will a relationship have any chance of taking hold and growing to meet the needs of both company and customer. "
Trouble often erupts between sales and marketing people in the absence of good communication channels. Sharing strategy and tactics within any organization is often vital, and is no less so in the supposed customer-centered gap between sales and marketing functions. Many times, it is a matter of egos getting in the way. Marketing feels that it is all about them and salespeople feel the same way. The truth of the matter is, marketing generates prospects and warms-up the marketplace, preparing the way for salespeople to answer questions and close the deals! Feedback from each is often critical to the success of the other. A clear line of communication is necessary for the business to function and grow most effectively.
For many individual entrepreneurs and smaller companies, the marketing and sales functions may be handled by the same person, possibly the business owner herself. In either instance, all marketing ideas and strategy are executed and followed-up upon by the same person. In this case, plan adjustments and resulting feedback can happen in real time, allowing for rapid adjustments to market conditions and customer preferences. Larger companies however, require an adjustment to their infrastructure to enable the best performance. In either case, there must be a change in the thinking process.
Lewis Green offers an idea he calls "melding," where physical, intellectual and conversational barriers are dismantled, truly encouraging a synergy previously unavailable. "The purpose for the meld would be to break down the doors of departmental thinking and bring in other ways of attacking a challenge. Teams would be organized around challenges, and those teams would stay together for as long as the challenge exists or the product resulting from that team's work is in the marketplace. They would be responsible for everything: design, testing, launch, marketing, customer experiences and so on. "
Whatever means a company utilizes to meld sales and marketing is not nearly as important as the meld itself and the establishment of clear communications, enabling a rapid response to customer needs. The customer always remains the focus of both sales and marketing, with both working in concert to win the customer's business and loyalty.