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The common language

The recent CIM white paper ‘marketing and sales fusion’, which acknowledged the need for co-operation, co-ordination and cohesion between marketing and sales departments, was a great, if long overdue, recognition of the only way businesses really can realise their full potential.

To achieve this in practise I’ve been working with businesses to align marketing and sales departments for the past decade.

One of the biggest challenges I find is that marketing concepts are based on the ideas of the “rational consumer” while sales have first-hand experience of the “irrational customer”.

For example, marketers tell me time again that they believe customers will make the right buying decisions if they have the correct information, and so they should as they are analysing populations. Populations are rational but individuals and smaller groups are not.

However the frontline sales team are only too aware people can make decision based on non rational factors – they buy from people they like or who they have an existing relationship with.

So often the marketing team is focused on “tone” and “presentation” and the sales team is focused on “targets” and “orders” that somewhere along the line creation and delivery of value from the businesses headquarters to country to region to frontline is lost.

So with these two perspectives on buying behaviour how can the circle be squared, the lines joined, the bridges built?  As the report rightly acknowledges there is a clear need for a common language - and the first word we always start with at Strategy to Revenue is value.


Matt Downes

Executive VP Sales & Marketing

Strategy to Revenue Ltd

+44 1753 245543