It can be dangerous having a marketing book reviewed by someone from the Sales side-we tend to view things from the sales perspective which is often at odds with Marketing. And that 'at odds' happens to be exactly what The Profit Maximization Paradox: Cracking the Marketing/Sales Alignment Code (BOOKSURGE Publishing) by Glen S Petersen is about-more specifically, how to turn that 'at odds' into cooperation and a coordinated plan that benefits marketing, sales, and most importantly, the company and its customers.
The Profit Maximization Paradox is another in a long line of books that address the divide between Sales and Marketing and seeks to establish a format for bringing the two departments together. A short, easy to read book, The Profit Maximization Paradox isn't a step-by-step guide. Instead Petersen reviews the problem and tries to point out in more general terms where the solution to the problem lies.
In chapter 5, Marketing/Sales Disconnects, Petersen quotes some anonymous commenters on the disconnect between the departments, one of which pinpoints, from a sales perspective, the issue succinctly:
"Marketing believes the sales force is myopic, i.e., too focused on individual customer experiences, insufficiently aware of the larger market and blind to the future."
There's the rub-the two functions have a vastly different view of the world. Marketing addresses the market from a macro point of view while Sales must view the market from a micro point of view. The above quote by a marketing person illustrates the disconnect in stark terms-Marketing expects Sales to view the world from Marketing's perspective, not from the real world of sales.
The reality of sales is that salespeople don't have the luxury of taking a broad view of the marketplace. Salespeople don't deal with the 'market;" they deal with a prospect, an individual human being with specific needs, wants, and issues. Their job isn't to appeal to an idealized prospect with the general characteristics of X, Y, and Z. No, they must deal with a flesh and blood prospect that may or may not conform to Marketing's conception of what a prospect should be.
On the other hand, Sales tends to view Marketing as theoretical and out of touch, a pestering gnat to be swatted away, not an ally to help identify and close sales. Marketing, for many in sales, are the uppity know it alls who couldn't close a sale if the prospect literally took the paperwork from them, filled it out and handed them a check.
Compounding the issues between Sales and Marketing is the way each department is compensated. Marketing is compensated by salary and bonus-a longer-term strategy, while Sales is compensated by commission, a very short-term strategy.
Petersen argues that with very different perspectives and objectives, it is unrealistic to expect Marketing and Sales to come together to solve the divide. According to Petersen, "it is unlikely that the VPs of Marketing and Sales are going to unilaterally decide to abandon current behaviors in favor of new roles and accountability that will undoubtedly change existing budget allocations and headcount."
So, are the two departments left forever to their own devices, feuding and wasting resources and opportunities at the expense of the greater good of the company?
Petersen not only doesn't believe that an option, he believes there is a real solution to the issue-one that can only be resolved through the intervention of the CEO. Trying to patch up the differences between the departments will accomplish little, if anything. What is needed isn't a truce or even a little more cooperation between the departments, but a radical change in the business model that can only be accomplished through the leadership of the CEO.
The change that Petersen sees is a process that "starts with the customer and progressively creates a number of perspectives that help the organization to rally around a specific strategy and tactics. The organizational driver becomes the profitable delivery of customer value."
The Profit Maximization Paradox isn't the final word in the struggle to bring about a real working relationship between Sales and Marketing. But it can be a beginning. Petersen is certainly right that past attempts have failed, that the perspectives of the two departments are so divergent that left on their own they will not-cannot-come together. With that in mind, a higher authority must take the reigns. Mandating change won't work-but very possibly a new vision, a new focus that encompasses and coordinates each department-and the rest of the organization as well-might.
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