Marketing and sales need to work hand in hand together to grow businesses. However, sometimes marketing and sales have unnecessary conflicts on the strategies used. Here are some areas of conflict:
1) Sales often want to sell the better product. As in a really technically superior product that works better than competitors. However, marketing wants a better brand story and perception for the product instead. Marketing wants to improve the perception of the product in consumers’ minds. Both areas are important, but each function needs to understand where the other party is coming from.
2) Sales people like line extensions, as it leverages on an existing brand strength to sell additional products. It does increase sales in the short term, but in the long run you risk diluting the brand equity. This is what marketing fears the most. E.g. if your product is in top of mind for the ‘longest lasting pen’, you will risk diluting it with line extensions into other stationery products like rulers, pencils and erasers. Ok to have line extensions, but beware of over extending.
3) Sales often like to run coupons and promotions such as discounts. This again generates lots of short term sales, but could be damaging in the long run. Lots of resources and money goes into running these promotions, which could be better used for branding efforts. It may also attract customers who buy your products because they are cheaper, but not so later after the promotion has ended.
As I have said, both functions have good intentions. Ultimately, the company need to have longer term views, and not pressure sales and marketing too much for short term performance at the detriment of long term success.