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Our latest CPM Expert Speak comes from Lorraine Butler, Managing Director of CPM Ireland. Lorraine has more than 20 years’ industry experience in highly targeted Sales industries. In this article, Lorraine analyses the importance and benefits of aligning Sales & Marketing Teams.

A long discussed topic is the synergies yet disparity between the Sales & Marketing functions and disciplines. However, never has it been more important for organizations to take heed of the benefits to be gained from aligning the two functions. In a market where the shopper is more in control than ever, the retailer, supplier and their corresponding Sales and Marketing functions need to work together for efficient, effective commercial management.


Perceptions of Sales & Marketing Functions

In contrasting sales & marketing functions, Marketing is often seen as cerebral, creative and long-term oriented; and sales is action-oriented, relationship-focused and short term. Resources required to carry out both critical functions attract very different skill sets and mindsets. However one could argue that the best Sales & Marketing people are those who have worked in both functions and who have a healthy respect for the activity of both functions and the  inter- dependencies between the two.

Never before have shoppers been more connected. Technology has increased consumer & shopper access to information & consumers and shoppers are in turn more accessible to suppliers and retailers than ever before. The speed & frequency of how shoppers are influenced is increasing daily. Both Sales and Marketing functions work with the aim of optimizing brand financial performance. Given the need to impact shopper behaviour as quickly & often as possible it makes sense that more is to be gained by both functions working together rather than separately.

A point to note, is that much of today’s marketing activity is directed at the consumer. However while consumers influence, it is the shopper who dictates the success or otherwise of a brand. Sales people have direct engagement with the shopper - observe and understand the physical behaviors of the shopper and are thus well positioned to offer insight to Marketing as to how to positively influence shoppers. Marketing can in turn leverage this insight to tailor brand propositions, positioning & pricing in support of augmented sales. This mutually beneficial cycle seems highly logical but yet is not as widely adapted in practice as one would like.