The hostility between sales and marketing mentioned three times in the Factfile by Andy Ferguson based on the report by NHA International (MW September 11) is no surprise to anyone working in or with UK companies.
As consultants, we are continually staggered by the lack of communication between the major disciplines – marketing, manufacturing and sales – in UK companies. I would bet a month’s salary that a similar research programme in, say, Holland, would not identify a lack of communication which borders on hostility.
When developing brands and new products with clients, consultants need to work with other disciplines. Each has a different jargon-filled language and generally believes that it could do everyone else’s job better. In fact, in several cases, we have undertaken internal workshops where it was the first time that these people had actually sat in a room and worked together to understand and develop the brand and product opportunities. Once they accepted that everyone has a role and can contribute factually and creatively, the teamwork starts.
This is peculiarly British – we do not encounter this with our overseas clients who tend to be more integrated in their approach to individual and team development. Is this because we, as a nation, are bad at communicating? I don’t think so. It is more to do with our culture and the educational system which generates perception of superiority. UK companies need to find ways of raising the perceived value of the key disciplines in the company to a point that they respect each other and see the need for working together on a day-to-day, as well as project-by-project, basis for the general good of the business.
This is the key to getting innovation to the market.