While we know that, separately, sales and marketing are very different things, they ultimately work together as one long process. Is there a time when you can have marketing without the goal of “a sale?” Can you have sales without the use of marketing? Can they exist without one another? Should they be classified as separate or a whole? For this discussion, respectfully debate your thoughts on these questions with your classmates. Give the reasons for your answer and use observations from the readings and resources to defend your argument. Use as many real-life examples as possible.
I had many conversations about the frustration with pricing to the marketing managers. A lot of efforts and thinking is used to develop reliable products. Marketing managers usually research and create visually appealing messages to be sent to the market for the sake of creating value and the margin. The product is then passed on to the sales team who act tactically in-spite of strategically and do whatever they can to sell the product. Among the tactics, one of the tactics is to use price as a tool to earn sales, erodes margins, devalues the product and renders the marketing strategy useless.
The salespeople are mostly critical of marketing departments. They often think that the sales department do not understand the challenges brought up with the selling in their local market. This statement is understandable because if we consider that in agriculture, many marketing offices are located in in the office buildings are urgent centers, while the salespeople are distributed throughout the countryside in rural communities, potentially on opposite ends of the state or country. Hence, as a result, the schemes which are laid out by the marketing team doesn’t often work or perceived as being “out of touch” with the customer base and local marketing situation.
- Involve salespeople in the strategic planning process. I got the privilege to work with a lot of different organizations during the process of strategic planning. Every time I received this chance to do it, I used to put one condition in front of them which was that the task-force involved to take part I the process includes the cross-section of different representatives from different organizations. The involvement of salespeople in the strategy process was considered to be necessary. It is often taken care that the views are represented. Often the salespeople have a close connection with the customers, and hence they see things that are invisible to the marketing team who sits in the offices. Not only the strategy is benefited by it, but it also helps in the implementation as it creates buy-in from the sales team keeping in the mind that they are part of the process.
- Engage the sales team more often. During the conduct of formal marketing, it is often necessary and essential to research before coming up with a decision. It is relevant to now the opinion of others before the final decision. Salespeople are considered to be the best sources of market intelligence because they often know the subtleties about the local markets, competition and customers. This resource often remains under-utilized under-utilized. Marketing people should at least sit with the salespeople and visit the market so that they can understand the behavior of demand and salespeople could help them to do so.
- Offer incentives based on margin or effort, not volume. The marketing strategies are made to achieve the volume and the margin targets; the message can be easily misplaced through translation when the salespeople are given regional volume targets. The “margin” piece gets clouded over by volume, often because of reward structures based on volume, and volume is understandable and easy to measure. In-spite of using incentivizing on volume, the language should be used as a measurement of success. Also, new ways should find out such as margin target, attracting specific customers segments or analyses of customer satisfaction.
- Ensure the sales team understands marketing strategy. It is a broad statement. Hence, it is often more possible that somebody who was in marketing role started with the sales than a salesperson who starts with the marketing. The salesperson doesn’t usually develop the understanding skills and conceptual understanding of the marketing. If they have a better knowledge about the theories, tools, terminology and tactics used in marketing strategy, then the salesperson will be easily able to understand and execute certain things. Due to this understanding, a more cohesive sales/marketing is developed.