The Chartered Institute of Marketing is predicting the demise of separate marketing and sales departments within the next ten years in its latest paper, ‘Marketing and Sales fusion?’ The paper takes the Institute’s centenary year as a motivation to reflect on the history of marketing and sales, and to consider the future direction of both disciplines. It argues that businesses who have integrated their sales and marketing functions have experienced significant benefits, while those companies retaining separate departments are hindering their own growth.
The paper proposes that marketing has reached an evolutionary cul-de-sac, and must return to its roots in sales to continue to develop in the next decade. Examining the development of marketing since the Institute was founded in 1911, the paper notes an increasing separation between marketing and sales functions in most businesses.
In the paper, the Institute argues that there are clear benefits to be derived from re-integrating the marketing and sales elements of business. Research demonstrates that a close alignment between the two departments drives growth across businesses – and, conversely, that companies retaining separate departments will pay a high price in terms of competitiveness.
David Thorp, director of research and professional development at the Institute, said, “This paper is deliberately interventionist, and we hope that it will provoke genuine debate. For too long the trend has been towards separating marketing and sales – and the marketing profession, in its desire to establish itself, undoubtedly contributed to this. We believe that, in the next decade, more and more companies will see re-integrating marketing and sales as a smart move that brings real rewards. In the last hundred years, marketing has clearly proved its worth as a discreet discipline; in the next hundred, it will evolve again by embracing a reunion with sales.”
Key points from the ‘Marketing and Sales fusion?’ paper:
- There has been a trend towards the separation of sales and marketing functions in businesses: this results in unnecessary competition and a detrimental impact on the business overall.
- Research demonstrates that companies with closely aligned sales and marketing departments are more competitive and more successful.
- A conceptual shift is required at the highest level of UK business. Both sales and marketing functions must abandon their ‘silo’ mentalities and embrace not just cooperation but union. Big businesses could have much to learn from SMEs, where sales and marketing are often integrated.
- Marketing evolved out of sales, and the two disciplines share many fundamental characteristics: reuniting sales and marketing brings benefits across a business.
The full report is available at www.cim.co.uk/agenda