The relationship between sales and marketing is very front of mind of late. This is perhaps due to the remote working world and the simple fact that sales teams have had to rely a lot more heavily on marketing in order to communicate and engage with clients.  The relationship between these two departments gets so much attention, but why? Is there anything significant about the various changes that are occurring?

A deeper relationship exists between sales and marketing departments than any other in a typical investment management firm. They have much in common in their roles, particularly customer engagement, organisational growth and revenue generation. Yet strangely they can be seen as rivals and it is here where conflict can often be found, for either cultural or economic reasons, such as the battle for the distribution of budget.

Towards common goals

Regardless of industry the goal is to have these two departments working in tandem towards common business goals. However, while it may be easy to imagine this harmony, aligning the departments to achieve a cooperative approach in the real world is a more challenging task.

We are moving away from a world where sales 'pick up' after marketing 'hand over' at a certain point in the sales funnel, and where we see a clear divide between the two functions. We are moving, quite rapidly, towards a model where the two departments are working together through the full length of the funnel.

The below image has been circulating my LinkedIn recently and I think it brilliantly depicts the new direction and alignment that we are seeing. This 'new' model, when in practice, not only improves the relationships between the two departments but also leads to better results for the business.

In conversation with various members of the community, firms are at different stages of this alignment and this model may not yet ring true for all. This may be due to the size and age of marketing departments - many small businesses don't establish a formal marketing team so often, incorrectly, equate marketing with selling.

At the opposite end of the scale, larger firms struggle as marketing becomes more strategic with such detailed segmentation, targeting and positioning that it begins to compete with sales. With so many human elements to manage alongside this, it's natural that some teams will be further along in achieving this alignment than others.

Achieving alignment

As part of the Academy course we offer through White Marble Learning, Scott Stevens, Director of Recruitment and Acquisitions at Quilter Financial Planning, shared insights around getting the relationship and alignment right. He referred to "sales with marketing" as two halves of the same whole. When the two departments are on an equal platform, the magic can happen. In changing "and" for "with" he succinctly highlighted the simplicity behind this need for unity.

The process behind achieving this alignment can be very tricky to implement. For some it can be so hard to fathom that, despite the multiple benefits of this alignment, it is simply ignored. In the follow-up to this, to be published next week, I will share some of the valuable and actionable tips on how to begin making this change in your own departments.

Do you think one day it will be the norm to have a joint 'smarketing' department?