Marketing Challenge: What to Do When Sales Rises Up Against Marketing


The departure of Astor Manufacturing Company’s SVP of sales prompted CEO Caise Chester to shake up the business. He promoted the company’s SVP of marketing, Abigail Bruner, to chief marketing and sales officer. Although the marketing and sales teams had been fairly collaborative, Chester’s goal was to unify them and, in doing so, improve the effectiveness of both.

About a week into her new role Bruner decided to take a leisurely lunch to map out some of her short- and long-term plans. Tucked in a booth at a nearby restaurant, she heard familiar voices behind her as two guests were seated at the next booth.

Bruner was about to slide out of her booth to say hello when she heard one person say, “There’s no way I’m staying and working for Bruner. What does a marketing hack even know about sales?” And the other reply, “We could go to Milburn together. What a coup that would be.” Bruner froze and listened as two of Astor’s top salespeople hatched a plan to pitch themselves to the competition.

In fact, she barely took a breath until they left. Now, instead of focusing on her bigger strategic plans she needs to devise one to deal with the surprisingly disgruntled salespeople—not only the two she now knows about, but also any others who might feel the same, or at a minimum are concerned about a marketer running sales.

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