Yes, of course scientific approaches are desirable and essential (as: “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, who account for more than 90 % of the worldwide companies.
The major reason being that the conditions in individual companies are too specific and cannot be taken into consideration.
… but of course it is necessary to contemplate 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 can’t be schematized or generalized so easily but depends on the specific needs of the clients as well as the producer.
Whilst in a B2C-environment specific processes might suggest to assign marketing to sales, this is completely different in a business producing investment goods.
So what is the ultimate target… YES, the client, whether in B2C or in B2B.
Comparing the distribution structure in B2C is surely more important than in B2B, as more often ‘mass products’ (of any kind) are sold. The competition in that case mostly is quite numerous and the ‘customer needs’ are less specific – and this may lead to the belief that sales are more important than marketing.
Looking to B2B only especially such ‘specific customer needs’ are in the foreground, the competition is less numerous, yet possibly more concentrated to a specific target group – on a worldwide basis.
Theory or not:
As also Marketing-Professor Kotler suggests the sales department should be assigned to the marketing department. Please find hereafter a few reasons – which could also bring interesting aspects / approaches for SMEs who do not yet have fully developed marketing-/sales activities and who need ways for a successful configuration of 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 (whether already existing products, or such to be developed/produced/adapted due to the available core competencies) – either in the home market or in international markets.
· The marketing department determines thereafter the target groups ‘desired/requested’ in order to define the respective distribution ways (i. e. sales routes – NOTE:’ thereafter’). e. g. with or without associated service capabilities, etc. Which kind of distribution – whether existing, newly to be defined, own company office, etc. – is largely depending on the kind of clientele as well as on the financial power of the company – and/or on the products in question.
·… and… it is the marketing department that has to understand first the ‘clients’ requests / wishes’ in order to decide – together with the other internal departments, and based on reliable market data – if such a product has to be newly produced, an existing one to be amended, or even the sales portfolio be supplemented by suitable purchased products.
In any of these cases the actual selling process starts only after the respective ways and decision have been found / made. The sales department then receives the necessary targets/objectives/client data, etc., like new strategic advice, from the market department. This might be completed by questionnaires the evaluation of which allow a further ‘sharpening’ of the sales routes lateron.
Which means again:
Only a close collaboration between both departments will lead to a maximum of success – animosities, as known from the past, are of no value in today’s market environment…