تنظیمات رابط بازاریابی فروش در شرکت های B2B
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|23790||2010||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||12205 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 39, Issue 2, February 2010, Pages 183–194
As the body of knowledge on marketing-sales interface expands, there is a greater need to investigate the specific aspects of marketing–sales configurations in B2B firms. Using a qualitative methodology and interview data collected from over 100 sales and marketing professionals from the US, The Netherlands and Slovenia, this study presents a dynamic, evolutionary spectrum of four B2B marketing–sales interface configurations. These configurations are described in detail in terms of structure, communication patterns, information sharing, collaboration, and strategic outcomes. The findings show that no configuration is inherently superior. Our dynamic configuration spectrum offers managers a toolkit to evaluate their firm's marketing–sales interface in terms of current and desired positions, and contribute to their firm's market orientation and business performance.
The widely embraced market orientation construct emphasizes the critical role of effective interfunctional interfaces within market-oriented organizations (Kohli and Jaworski, 1990 and Slater and Narver, 1994). Smoothly functioning interfaces in such organizations offer many benefits: e.g. timely dissemination of market information, coordination of marketing activities in creating superior customer value, and market responsiveness. One of these interfaces is the marketing–sales interface. A firm's business performance greatly depends on how these two functions work together (Cespedes, 1992, Cespedes, 1993, Guenzi and Troilo, 2007 and Smith et al., 2006) and how smooth, well-coordinated and conflict free this interface stays (Dewsnap & Jobber, 2000). In contrast to marketing's interface with other departments such as R&D, which represent the vastly different commercial and technical functions in a firm, marketing and sales should be well equipped for effective cooperation. They both serve customers, with marketing entrusted with providing support to salespeople and building consistent brand image in the marketplace, and sales traditionally performing tactical tasks such as contacting customers, executing marketing strategies, and closing the sale in the field (Matthyssens and Johnston, 2006 and Rouzies et al., 2005). In recent years, scholars have highlighted the need to reconsider the role the sales force may play in business organizations. LeMeunier-FitzHugh and Piercy (2006) suggest that a sales organization must be valued as a crucial source of critical market intelligence and propose that marketers must demonstrate to salespeople how their market feedback contributes to the firm's strategic activities. Piercy and Lane (2003) put forward that firms must leverage the market intelligence salespeople possess and start viewing the sales force activities as strategic customer management activities. Ingram, LaForge and Leigh (2002) argue that progressive sales organizations are becoming more strategic and are adopting a customer relationship management approach focusing on the initiation, development and enhancement of customer relationships. These recent observations suggest a more strategic role for sales, which further emphasizes the need for an effective and harmonious marketing–sales interface. A review of the literature suggests that the marketing–sales interface has not been extensively researched, with some notable exceptions (Biemans and Makovec Brenčič, 2007, Homburg et al., 2008 and Kotler et al., 2006). Ideally, sales and marketing activities are closely coordinated, with salespeople collecting valuable customer-related information and passing it to their marketing colleagues (Dewsnap and Jobber, 2000 and Rouzies et al., 2005), and marketing using the information to create customized products and programs, and thus increasing value for customers. Unfortunately, over the years, several scholars have noted that the marketing–sales interface is not always harmonious and constructive (Beverland et al., 2006, Carpenter, 1992, Cespedes, 1993, Dewsnap and Jobber, 2000, Lorge, 1999, Rouzies et al., 2005 and Strahle et al., 1996). Specifically, Kotler et al. (2006, p. 78) conclude that “senior managers often describe the working relationship between Sales and Marketing as unsatisfactory. The two functions, they say, undercommunicate, underperform, and overcomplain.” This interface assumes special importance within B2B firms, where marketing activities are frequently conducted by people in various departments (such as marketing, business development, technical support and development, and sales support) who may lack a formal marketing background and training. In such situations, effectively organizing and managing the marketing–sales interface may be especially challenging. The preceding discussion suggests a need for greater inquiry into the marketing–sales interface. First, marketing and sales may not always exist as separate functions in an organization and their roles and responsibilities may depend on a firm's size, growth rate, products, industry and organizational structure (Biemans and Makovec Brenčič, 2007, Homburg et al., 2008 and Kotler et al., 2006). This suggests that firms may exist on a continuum with firms on one end lacking a separate marketing function and firms at the other end of the continuum having sales and marketing as integrated functions with shared objectives. In addition, it is likely that depending on the intra-organizational and external variables, the marketing–sales configuration in a given firm may change over time and firms may move along the continuum. Existing studies have neither adequately addressed the relevant interface configurations for B2B firms nor paid attention to how they may change over time. Second, previous studies have looked at issues such as communication, collaboration and information sharing between the two separate marketing and sales functions (Cespedes, 1993, Ingram, 2004 and LeMeunier-FitzHugh and Piercy, 2007). Since marketing may not always be a clearly defined function in B2B firms, we may see different patterns with respect to communication, collaboration and information sharing between the two functions. Further, these patterns may change as firms move along the continuum. Last, while researchers have investigated the strategic outcomes of an effective marketing–sales interface (Guenzi & Troilo, 2007), we do not know (a) whether (and how) different marketing–sales configurations may impact a firm's marketing proficiency and (b) the advantages and disadvantages of different configurations. Our investigation of the marketing–sales interface in B2B firms addresses these gaps in the literature. The paper is organized as follows. First, we review the relevant literature about the marketing–sales interface. We then discuss our methodology and present a series of dynamic marketing–sales configurations and their related strategic outcomes. We conclude by discussing the theoretical contribution of this study, its managerial implications, limitations, as well as suggestions for future research in this area.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The results of our study of B2B marketing–sales configurations make several important contributions to the existing literature. Most importantly, this is the first study that explicitly investigates the marketing–sales interface in the context of B2B firms of various sizes and from various industries. Most of the extant literature either focuses on the marketing–sales interface in B2C firms or does not distinguish between B2C and B2B. Our findings demonstrate that the specific characteristics of marketing in B2B firms strongly influence the marketing–sales interface and its outcomes. Nevertheless, some of the marketing–sales configurations identified in our study correspond to those found in other more general studies of the marketing–sales interface. For instance, our “sales-driven marketing” is similar to the “sales rules” configuration from the study by Homburg et al. (2008) and our “marketing–sales integration” is comparable to the “integrated” stage identified by Kotler et al. (2006). In addition, the current literature emphasizes that a firm's performance greatly depends on how well its marketing and sales functions work together (Cespedes, 1992, Cespedes, 1993, Guenzi and Troilo, 2007 and Smith et al., 2006). However, our findings demonstrate that the quality and outcomes of the marketing–sales interface strongly depend on the characteristics of both functions and how the interface is organized. Contrary to most of the literature, we do not present one marketing–sales configuration as the ultimate solution, together with suggestions to achieve this ideal state. Instead, we posit that firms must develop the marketing–sales configuration that best matches the characteristics of the firm and its environment. To this end, we present a dynamic spectrum of four different marketing–sales configurations that may be useful for B2B firms, with each configuration representing a different organizational arrangement, different operating/process characteristics and different outcomes. This offers a nuanced perspective on the underlying dimensions and the variety of the marketing–sales interface that can be found in B2B firms (Homburg et al., 2008). Apart from presenting our four marketing–sales configurations, we also propose that they can be interpreted as a dynamic, evolutionary spectrum that describes how a B2B marketing–sales interface may evolve over time as the firm grows in scope and complexity. This evolutionary perspective on the marketing–sales interface is closely related to a B2B firms' development of a marketing capability, with firms initially appointing just one or two persons in a marketing function to support sales, which subsequently evolves into a full-fledged marketing department with a distinct identity. Thus, our description places the evolution of the marketing–sales interface at the heart of a B2B firm's efforts to increase its market orientation (Day, 1994 and Kohli and Jaworski, 1990). Our study is also the first to provide rich characterizations of several marketing–sales configurations that are prevalent in B2B firms, using variables such as interfunctional communication, information sharing, collaboration, division of tasks and responsibilities, strategic outcomes, and advantages and disadvantages. While the extant literature tends to advocate an interface that is smooth, well-coordinated and free of conflict (Dewsnap & Jobber, 2000), we show that no single configuration is inherently superior. Each configuration has its own benefits and disadvantages and fits a specific type of firm and economic conditions. Finally, our study offers a first glimpse of the factors that cause firms to move along the spectrum (e.g. increasing firm size, increasing scope of operations or a changing customer base). In addition, our description of the four configurations illustrates the cumulative effects of building a marketing capability. One respondent concluded enthusiastically: “We are currently at Stage 2, but we want to move to Stage 4. And we would like to skip Stage 3.” But a firm that wants to achieve marketing–sales integration must first invest in the development of a more mature marketing function, which is perceived as a credible partner by sales. If sales does not view marketing as a capable and credible partner, marketing–sales integration may be too ambitious.