The Chartered Institute of Marketing’s call for marketing to be fused with sales in order to safeguard its future is indicative of a new economic reality, but it is better management of the two functions and not a forced marriage that is required.
The Institute says separate departments will disappear over the next ten years. The theory, to summarise, is that a merger will make marketing part of a profit centre that is accountable and measurable, and therefore “safeguard” its future.
The CIM also said that a marriage would put an end to simmering conflict that exists between the two departments. It would stop the “siloed thinking” and “subtle conflict” that stunts growth.
The answer, however, is not to shunt the two together.
Marketing’s job is to find an effective way to communicate the business’ strategy and objectives both internally and externally. It is sales’ job to reinforce that at the coal face. A sales team should be continually striving to leverage the marketers’ vision.
Very different skills are required to successfully perform in either role. So, if there is “subtle” conflict the problem is the lack of effective management that sees the two functions singing from two very separate song sheets.
The CIM’s polemic is born from an economic environment that sees marketing budgets under ever more scrutiny. It is increasingly the case that those controlling the purse strings demand low cost, highly targeted, measurable campaigns regardless of the channel being used. Language understood perfectly by the sales team.
It may well be that “all marketing is becoming direct marketing”, with campaigns required to show a return rather than engage or entertain but it is greater alignment to achieve a shared vision that is required not fusion.