Strengthen the Marketing and Sales Relationship With a Business Degree

While marketing and sales have different objectives, strategies and frameworks, both sectors aim to turn prospects into consistent customers. For successful collaboration between the two departments — a hallmark of sector leaders — each department must acknowledge the other’s independence as well as codependence in achieving common goals. Operating in silos is a strategy for losing, yet many organizations struggle to achieve sales and marketing alignment. Lack of alignment puts downward pressure on corporate performance. As a result, sales cycles lengthen, market-entry costs rise as do the costs of customer acquisition and retention.

Professionals with an understanding of both marketing and sales know-how can successfully achieve company goals. The William Paterson University (WP) Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Sales Strategy online program equips graduates with faculties in both areas. It prepares them to “utilize marketing strategies and analytical skills to make informed sales and marketing decisions.”

Consider these statistics:

  • When sales and marketing are tightly aligned, organizations experience 36% higher customer retention rates and 38% higher sales win rates, according to MarketingProfs
  • According to LinkedIn, 87% of sales and marketing leaders say collaboration between sales and marketing enables critical business growth.
  • Ninety percent of sales and marketing professionals point to a number of disconnects across strategy, process, content and culture, according to LinkedIn.

Traditional Conflicts Between Sales and Marketing

The strains between the two departments classify as either economic or cultural, according to a Harvard Business Review study. Historically, sales and marketing departments struggle to see the middle ground between their goals. The two departments often compete for company budget share and spending on promotion, pricing and product. Sales often think of promotion dollars as less cost-effective than sales dollars, while marketing regards these costs as the primary keys to revenue generation. Sales often wants to be consulted for its first-hand experiences with customers when it comes time to develop new products and services or improve existing ones. At the same time, marketing regards research and development as its primary partner in this venture.

Cultural conflicts arise from the different values and training that each department traditionally brings to the organization. Marketers tend to be project- and data-focused, with an eye toward future results. Salespeople are more focused on their day-to-day activities, especially nurturing relationships. Sales believes marketing focuses too much on branding and positioning and too little on producing quality leads for sales to convert. Marketing views poor sales performance as a failure to execute on its plans.

Historically, these conflicts have persisted for long periods, but recent studies and statistics have made the case that these archaic ideas and attitudes must change to foster collaborative success.

Why Cohesive Sales and Marketing (aka “Smarketing”) Departments Win

Aligning the two functions results in a collaborative, non-competitive relationship in which both departments are of value to one another. Alignment produces agreed-upon key performance metrics (KPIs) that both departments can work towards collectively. These include targeted cost-per-sale and sales cycle durations, which result in more accurate customer personas to improve each department’s understanding of customer segments, journeys and experiences. It provides insights into what motivates people to become customers and increase their lifetime spending. Alignment results in higher quality sales leads, marketing promotions, content that converts leads to buyers and an ever-expanding product or service portfolio that requires less selling and marketing effort.

Graduates Are Ready to Build Partnerships Between Departments

The WP MBA with a concentration in Sales Strategy online is a comprehensive program focusing on key components of overlap between sales and marketing to design and implement a successful revenue-generating team within an organization. Students learn to manage and motivate across the organization, including both departments to achieve sales and marketing goals, with courses including Economic Analysis for Decision-Makers, Marketing for Decision-Making, Data-Driven Decision-Making & Sales Analytics, Marketing Strategy and Strategic Sales Leadership.

Graduates can lead turnaround processes that result in tight alignment and honest conversations between marketing and sales leaders. They bring the listening, questioning and negotiation skills that are in short supply and high demand. They use deliberate language to create a culture of alignment. These abilities are most often learned and practiced in an academic environment free of real business pressures.

Today, the way to define success in marketing and sales is as a collaborative venture. Organizations in every industry know the first step toward this goal is investing in professionals trained in marketing and sales alignment.

Learn more about William Paterson University’s Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Sales Strategy online program.

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