When sales and marketing align
Gary Carandang is an entrepreneur and senior consultant of Corporate Achievers Institute. Previously, he was VP commercial of Republic Cement, key account director and commercial unit director of Coca-Cola Femsa, national sales trade director of Mead Johnson and VP sales of Nestle where he was expatriated in Switzerland for a year and a half. Carandang also finished the Advanced Management Program at INSEAD. Armed with these accomplishments, he shares with us here his views on the need to align sales and marketing.
Q: What have you observed about sales plans as compared to marketing plans when you were in the corporate world?
A: Marketing plans tended to be more elaborate and detailed than a sales plan. The marketing plan is about market segments and consumers and creating strategies to reach these consumers while the sales plan is about developing strategies to sell the products to the customers in the chosen channels.
The sales plan therefore often forms part of the broader marketing strategies, which is why the marketing plan tends to be more elaborate. There are far more aspects in the development of a marketing plan in terms of identifying market and consumer segments, identifying consumer needs, branding, messaging and communication, product offerings, consumer promotions, category strategies, alignment with corporate brand guidelines, etc. as compared to mostly channel and customer plan, distribution plan and trade marketing plan for sales.
In the end, the goal is to develop a well-integrated sales and marketing plan in order to win both the consumers and the customers. An integrated sales and marketing plan will also allow efficiencies in terms of the proper allocation of the advertising and trade spend budgets to the critical sales and marketing activities.
Q: How can companies align their sales and marketing plans? What should be on their agenda?
A: The starting point is always a “collaborative approach” to sales and marketing alignment. Neither group should be adversarial in their approach because in the end they have the same purpose—winning consumers and customers. This is a mind-set and behavior that both groups should have.
Q: How different is alignment of sales and marketing in the digital marketplace?
A: The digital marketplace has made access to consumer and customer information relatively easier (demographics, consumer behaviors and preferences, etc.) and it has also allowed a more targeted approach from consumer messaging and communication all the way through customer acquisition and retention. As they say, the world has become a smaller world to live in. Everything is now accessible. While the digital era has made sales and marketing planning and execution a lot better to a certain extent, the concept of alignment and collaboration with sales and marketing to my mind becomes even more so important.
Why is this so? Given the speed of acquiring information, there is also the danger of the “speed of losing your reputation” in an instant. In the digital marketplace there is very little room for error. What you actually promise is what you should actually deliver. That is why sales and marketing collaboration, alignment and integration become even more critical than before. Their plan should be well coordinated and integrated to deliver on that promise to their customers.
Q: Can you share some pitfalls to avoid in aligning sales and marketing?
A: Avoid silos. Collaboration, alignment and integration are the key behaviors needed to develop a well-integrated sales and marketing plan. No amount of structures or process will beat that.
In the end, there is only one goal for sales and marketing to keep in mind … that is to win consumers and customers. You can achieve that by formulating and executing an integrated sales and marketing plan. —CONTRIBUTED INQ
Josiah Go is the chair and chief innovation strategist of Mansmith and Fielders Inc. Follow him at www.josiahgo.com
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