What is decisive: marketing or sales and what about SMEs?

Yes, of course scientific approaches are desirable and essential (like: “There is no practice without theory”), however their disadvantage is that they cannot define ‘Suggestions’ for most of the different entrepreneurs running this ‘business world’. ‘ – this refers especially to SMEs, which represent more than 90% of companies worldwide.

The main reason is that the conditions of individual companies are too specific and cannot be taken into account.

… but of course you have to consider whether it is more advisable to assign or even subordinate the sales department to the marketing department or vice versa. The ‘market as such’, however, in most cases cannot be schematized or generalized so easily but depends on the specific needs of the clients as well as the producer.

While in a B2C environment, specific processes may suggest assigning marketing to sales, this is completely different in a business that produces capital goods.

So what is the end goal? YES, the customer, whether in B2C or B2B.

Comparing the distribution structure in B2C is surely more important than in B2B, as ‘mass products’ (of any kind) are sold more often. In that case, the competition is quite numerous and the “customer needs” are less specific, which may lead one to believe that sales are more important than marketing.

As for B2B, only ‘customer specific needs’ are at the fore, the competition is less numerous, but possibly more concentrated on a specific target group, globally.

Theory or not:

As marketing professor Kotler also suggests, the sales department should be assigned to the marketing department. Below he will find some reasons, which could also bring interesting aspects/approaches for SMEs that do not yet have fully developed marketing/sales activities and need ways to successfully shape their future.

The marketing department has to research the markets in order to clarify which markets/market segments could/should be supplied with which products (either already existing products or being developed/produced/adapted due to available core competencies), either in the domestic market or in international markets.

· The marketing department then determines the ‘desired/requested’ target groups to define the respective forms of distribution (ie sales routes – NOTE: ‘thereafter’). for example, with or without associated service capabilities, etc. What type of distribution, whether existing, to be defined, the company’s own office, etc. – depends to a large extent on the type of clientele as well as the financial power of the company – and/or the products in question.

·… and… it is the marketing department that has to first understand the ‘requests/wishes’ of the customers to decide -together with the other internal departments, and based on reliable market data- if said product has to be produced again, to modify an existing one, or even to supplement the sales portfolio with suitable purchased products.

In any of these cases, the actual sales process begins only after the respective forms and decisions have been found/made. The sales department then receives the necessary goals/targets/customer data, etc., as new strategic advice, from the marketing department. This could be completed with questionnaires whose evaluation allows a greater “refinement” of the sales routes later on.

What it means again:

Only a close collaboration between both departments will lead to maximum success: animosities, as known in the past, are worthless in today’s market environment…

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