Ending the War Between Sales and Marketing Analytics [Article Review]

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The following is a review of the seminal article, “Ending the War Between Sales and Marketing Analytics”, published in the Harvard Business Review by Philip Kotler, et al.  The original piece is almost 5,000 words, so we thought our readers would perhaps appreciate this “book review”!  

Sales and marketing teams often find themselves at odds with each other. However, both teams need to work together to create value. Unfortunately, economic and cultural issues often cause a strain within this relationship. The fiscal tensions caused by the division of operating budgets between sales and marketing departments is often initiated by the individual who holds the power within an organization. Most CEOs tend to favor sales in these exchanges, the reason for this being that contributions from sales are easier to quantify than contributions from marketing. Additional friction occurs when money is actually spent promoting a product. A sales manager would rather spend money on increasing the size and quality of the sales force than “wasting” money on advertising or customer experience marketing.

The cultural conflict has roots within the economic conflict. Both teams judge performance differently. Marketers are ruthless and quickly become cold towards an initiative that has failed, simply because their focus is not on the people involved but, instead, on the long-term campaign. These campaigns require additional time for proper examination. Meanwhile, salespeople thrive on closing sales and are used to the idea of rejection. These individuals can often determine the potential success of an idea or campaign very quickly. The differences don’t stop there, however; marketers usually want to sell products which offer a promising future and higher profit margins. A salesperson simply wants to sell products at lower margins in order to satisfy sales goals.

The Four Types of Relationships Between Sales and Marketing Departments Within an Organization:

  1. Undefined – Both groups are unaware of each other, and their tasks and agendas reflect this. Meetings are the result of conflicts.
  2. Defined Some boundaries exist. Both groups know their roles in relation to each other and have meetings regularly.
  3. Aligned Flexible and clear boundaries. Both groups regularly plan campaigns together. 
  4. Integrated – Blurred boundaries and budgets are flexible. Both teams redesign the relationship to share resources, systems and shared metrics. Customer communication marketing becomes a management objective and a strategic objective.

An organization that understands the relationship between sales and marketing will be able to improve the relations between the two groups. Here are some ways to accomplish this:

  1. Advocate for more disciplined communication
  2. Conduct regular meetings
  3. Create joint assignments
  4. Rotate jobs
  5. Appoint a marketing liaison to work with the sales force
  6. Put the marketers and salespeople in the same location or physically close to each other
  7. Improve feedback of the sale force
  8. Integrate marketing analytics and sales metrics

The majority of managers would describe the relationship between sales and marketing as disappointing or inadequate. Improving the relationship between sales and marketing will allow you to create better products while simultaneously improving your effectiveness with future clients.


Check out why the best interaction for customer communication marketing are 1:1

Are your sales team and marketing team on the same page? How can your sales team improve the marketing analytics in your company? Go ahead and comment below.

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