Edited by Gary L. Lilien and Rajdeep Grewal
Chapter 8: Coordinating Marketing and Sales in B2B Organizations
Frank Cespedes An executive I once interviewed described a common situation (Cespedes 1996a, p. 4): ‘Our Marketing managers operate at a national level and with specific product orientations. They’re not as familiar with regional or account differences. Meanwhile, Sales is driven by specific accounts, volume shipments, and trade deals.’ A senior sales manager at this company described marketing managers as ‘headquarters theorists, unaware of field realities’, while a marketing manager responded that salespeople were ‘primarily interested in the deepest deal that moves the most product in the current quarter – regardless of the impact on profitability’ (Cespedes 1996a, p. 4). Meanwhile, service personnel complained that their activities were constantly being ‘disrupted by the ad hoc arrangements that characterize Marketing–Sales interactions in a marketplace where customers are more powerful and demanding’ (Cespedes 1996a, p. 4). Why do such conflicts arise between groups that, as the general manager of this division (along with most academics and consultants) repeatedly emphasized, ‘should all be team players because they all work for the same company’? Why does a recent study (Miller Heiman 2008 Sales Best Practices Study, as cited in Levy 2008) indicate that only 37 per cent of respondents agreed that their marketing and sales organizations are aligned with what their customers want and need? This chapter focuses on the topic of the coordination of marketing and sales activities in B2B organizations. I first provide a brief historical overview of the topic, including the recurring prescriptive advice that has been offered to practitioners and...
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