Understanding integrated sales and marketing

William Woods Business

The competitiveness of today’s marketplace has stimulated much discussion around the ways businesses can improve performance, including the topic of integrated sales and marketing.

Businesses where sales and marketing function separately often face many issues from poor performance measurement to missing the opportunity to close on sales fast, or at all.

Take for example, a window manufacturing business that sells and installs quality windows across the state of Missouri. The marketing team may spend a considerable investment promoting the company through local newspapers, TV or online advertising. Prospective customers who see the ad may call to obtain a quote. At this point, the marketing team has done its job in prompting the inquiry, while it’s up to the sales team to “nurture” the lead or build a relationship with the goal of earning customers’ business.

However, if sales and marketing are not integrated, much can go wrong in this scenario. For example, if the sales team does not track the origin of inquiries, the marketing team will not be able to measure the performance of their advertising campaign. Or, if marketing does not inform sales of its campaign activities, the sales call center may not be prepared to withstand the increase in call volume.

For this reason and more, most marketing experts advocate for closely integrated sales and marketing. Authors Phillip Kotler, Neil Rackham and Suj Krishnaswamy, share some of the ways businesses can bridge this gap in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, “Ending the War Between Sales and Marketing.” Some of their suggestions include appointing centralized staff, rotating job assignments across marketing and sales teams, setting shared revenue targets, establishing systems that improve sales force feedback, etc.

Students pursuing the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at William Woods University are taught the skills necessary to solve every-day business problems including those related to marketing and sales integration. While most business majors generally take at least one course in marketing, students can also expand their knowledge of sales with an elective BUS309 Salesmanship. In this course, students learn to assess and apply the concepts of selling such as prospecting, demonstrating, questioning, handling objections, and closing.

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