Should marketing and sales be separate functions?

I’m often asked if Marketing and Sales should be combined into just one function.  I always answer in the same way.  It’’s not about where they report but what they actually do that matters.

I regard Marketing are the servants of Sales and the masters of business strategy.  Successfully pulling this off is often quite a challenge. I encourage clients to think that Sales own responsibility for selling and servicing all customers individually and Marketing are responsible for all customers collectively. In other words they have to work together.

The issue is not the internal wrangling about metrics or organisational structures.  They are just red herrings and take our mind off the core issue. The real focus is Customers and how both Marketing and Sales work together to get and keep profitable customers.  

In a really Customer focused organisation all decisions are tested against the impact on customers before being implemented. Having this common touchstone significantly reduces internal “discussions” about organisation structures.


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