Sales v. Marketing

HBR’s summer issue is about sales—not really the focus of my work. But there was a good one about stopping the “war” between the sales and marketing departments. I like this one, because even if your organization doesn’t HAVE both sales and marketing departments, it’s relevant.

At one level, it’s relevant because this type of competition between departments is common, and not just in sales and marketing. An association client of mine had quite a division between the education department (that brought in a LOT of revenue) and the admin department (that was responsible for doing registrations, logistics, etc.). Like sales and marketing, each side depends on the other. Although, as the article states, the issue isn’t conflict at the level of the technical relationship:

The cultural conflict between Sales and Marketing is, if anything, even more entrenched than the economic conflict. This is true in part because the two functions attract different types of people who spend their time in very different ways.

This point is true for lots of departments, yet organizationally this truth is often ignored. I more often hear the desperate cry of “Why can’t they just get along?” rather than an attempt to understand “them” and devise more effective ways to work together.


  1. 21.08.2006 at 1:36 pm

    They should get along, indeed, but they constantly ignore the consequences on the customers. They must step over their pride and think about business.