Like any relationship though, the one between the two departments can and does change over time, growing as the companies Sales and Marketing functions develop and mature. Ideally, the groups change from being unaligned – and typically conflicted – to being fully integrated, working together, sharing knowledge and ideas in order to further the brand and company. Though complete integration is difficult to achieve, moving towards that should always be the goal.
What Sort Of Relationship Are You In?
The relationship between Sales and Marketing can be divided into four distinct types. When the relationship is undefined, the two departments have developed independently, with each preoccupied with it’s own workload and agenda. Neither can really know much about what the other is doing until a problem – a conflict – arises.
In this scenario a meeting between the two tends to be ad hoc and is likely to be spent resolving the conflict. In a defined relationship, rules and processes are set up between the two groups to prevent disputes. Both sides know who is supposed to do what, with everyone sticking to their own tasks. In a defined relationship meetings are more reflective and both groups work together on events like conferences or trade shows.
“Better aligning the groups can stop duplication of efforts and tasks falling through the cracks. It can also ease competition for funding”
The next type is an aligned relationship. In this instance there is a definite separation between the groups, but the boundaries are flexible. There is joint planning and training, the salespeople understand and use marketing terms, and marketers include salespeople when discussing and working on important accounts.
Finally, there is the integrated relationship. In this set up the boundaries are blurred with both groups sharing structures, systems and rewards. Budgeting becomes more flexible with less cause for controversy and the two departments work together to develop and implement. In an integrated relationship there is a ‘all in it together’ philosophy.
Understand Where You Are And Evolve
It can be difficult to see what sort of relationship exists between the two groups within your own company.
Without objectivity and the correct tools it is easy or managers to misjudge their cultures and working environments. However, once an organisation does understand the nature of the link between its Sales and Marketing departments, management can assess the benefits of creating a stronger alignment between them.
Do you need to improve the relationship between your sales and marketing teams? Why not get in touch with us? It costs nothing to talk and our insights could prove priceless.