When I read Mark Ritson’s recent article attacking David Thorp and the CIM for producing the document Marketing and Sales Fusion (MW 15 December), it made me think of how Ned Ludd would have reacted when he first learned of the Spinning Jenny.
Like Mr Ludd, Ritson has picked up the nearest sledgehammer and sought to destroy the idea. Nice one, from an academic who is supposed to be at the forefront of marketing thought.
Ritson appears to be suggesting that sales people are incapable of positioning a brand. It is laughable to suggest that they cannot learn about marketing and branding, and equally as ludicrous to assume marketing people cannot learn about sales.
Unifying understanding, thought and ideas would, without doubt, be the answer to several of my clients’ prayers. The barrier between sales and marketing is one of the biggest issues they face.
Thorp is not suggesting that marketing ditches its philosophy and body of knowledge. He said: “A unified model for anyone wanting to go into sales or marketing would enable marketers to be more aware of how the sales process works and what’s involved, and sales people to be more aware of marketing functions and how they can deliver the results the company is looking for.”
Neither is he suggesting that sales should rule marketing, or vice versa. The CIM document is about developing a common culture that is customer-focused.
I suggest that an open mind on the matter, with dialogue from both sides, is likely to result in an outcome that helps businesses to work in harmony and succeed by serving customers. That is the fundamental reason why sales and marketing exist. They were never intended to be self-serving entities.
Opening the debate and breaking down such barriers is exactly what the CIM appears to be trying to do.
The CIM’s call for a merger of marketing and sales functions is well-timed. Anything that stifles corporate growth needs to be addressed.
But your news item (‘CIM: Marketing needs to merge with sales to safeguard its future’ MWlinks.co.uk/CIMmerge) omitted to mention one of the key means of aligning the two: shopper marketing.
Shopper marketing has become recognised as an important tool for injecting more equity into in-store marketing. It is the emerging bridge-function that brings the two sides (actually often three: consumer/brand marketing, sales and customer/trade marketing) together and focuses acutely on who they’re selling to and specifically where they’re selling it.
Every company claims to be gearing up for a step-change in achieving growth, but the smart ones are appointing board level players to own, implement and integrate shopper marketing to do this. It’s an effective means of removing the traditional sales/marketing silo so that both are working towards a common growth agenda.