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Cultural frames that drive sales and marketing apart: an exploratory study

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Purpose ? Despite the necessity of close integration between marketing and sales, managers report less than satisfactory results in this area. This paper aims to examine what keeps the two functions apart. It proposes going beyond surface level behavior to examine the different sub-cultural mental frames that characterize the two functions. Design/methodology/approach ? A total of 44 salespeople and marketers across four different organizations in different industries were interviewed. Findings ? The research finds that conflicts between marketing and sales are driven by differences in beliefs about the valid scope and focus of activity, time focus, valid sources of knowledge, differences in perceived status, and the relationship to the business environment. Practical implications ? Managers need to focus on removing implied status barriers between sales and marketing, provide sales with a strategic voice, and attend to structural issues that drive the two functions apart. Originality/value ? Research on the sales-marketing interface remains scarce. The paper examines this from a cultural point of view and identifies a number of basic cultural frames that explain behavioral differences between the two functions. Critically, it also identifies significant points of difference on which to build greater understanding between the two functions.
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Keywords: Integration; Marketing; Organizational culture; Qualitative research; Sales; Selling

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2006

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