How Does Market Orientation Affect Sales and Marketing Collaboration and Business Performance?

Kenneth Le Meunier-FitzHugh, Leslie Caroline Le Meunier-FitzHugh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Citations (Scopus)


Studies into the sales and marketing interface have neglected the relationship between market orientation and collaboration between sales and marketing. We found that market intelligence processes and management attitudes towards coordination have positive impacts on market orientation, which then has benefits for collaboration between sales and marketing, and business performance. The sales and marketing interface has attracted considerable attention from researchers, but the relationship between market orientation and the level of collaboration between sales and marketing has not yet been fully explored. This issue is important to help understand how to improve collaboration between sales and marketing. As organizations are competing in increasingly crowded markets with more demanding customers and who are struggling to differentiate their offer from their competitors, the effective operation of the customer-facing interface of sales and marketing is critical in helping to achieve success (e.g. Homburg and Jensen, 2007). The objectives of this study are to help understand the relationship between market orientation and collaboration between sales and marketing; to identify the role of senior management and market intelligence in creating market orientation, and to explore if these variables directly or indirectly impact on business performance. Further, the study aims to contribute to the debate on the sales and marketing interface by bridging gaps found in literature.

Evidence from recent studies indicate sales and marketing staff are frequently set individual targets that may pull them in different directions and that there is a less than optimum working relationship (Dewsnap and Jobber, 2000; Rouzies et al., 2005). Friction can be aggravated by differing perspectives, strong independent cultures and need to maintain independent functionality (Shaprio, 2002; Kotler, Rackham and Krishnaswamy 2006), but sales and marketing still need to coordinate their efforts to maximize the return on their activities and a marketing orientation should facilitate this. If an organization has a market orientation, logic suggests that the organization should be customer orientated and the objectives of sales and marketing departments should exhibit greater alignment and ensure that the response to the market is efficient. Senior management need to create an internal culture of cooperation and provide guidance to sales and marketing managers on aligning goals and improving communications. They also have a key role in building an environment that will facilitate the development of market orientation and an understanding of the part that sales and marketing play in achieving organizational objectives. Senior managers also provide sales and marketing with the guidance and tools to enable them to align their activities, share information more efficiently and appreciate each others’ contribution to achieving objectives. Integrated market intelligence processes enable sales and marketing to understand market conditions more effectively and share information in a structured environment, thereby improving efficiency in responding to customers and competitors. This study explores this topic through a quantitative survey questionnaire sent to Managing Directors/CEOs of large, UK organizations who had separate sales and marketing departments.

The study finds an effective market intelligence system that collects and disseminates market information internally positively supports a market orientation, but does not directly impact business performance. A positive senior management attitude towards coordination impacts on marketing orientation, but not directly on business performance or collaboration between sales and marketing. Finally, market orientation does have a significant and positive impact on achieving collaboration between sales and marketing, and the findings confirm that this collaboration has a positive and direct impact on business performance. Organizations should not only work to create market orientation, but also need to develop an effective market intelligence system and engender a positive attitude to coordination in senior managers to improving interfunctional collaboration. For too long managers have allowed separate sales and marketing departments to maintain silos, developing their own specialist skills and routines without establishing sufficient links to share and expand joint competences. Collaboration between sales and marketing is a key element in achieving improvements in business performance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Customer is NOT Always Right? Marketing Orientationsin a Dynamic Business World
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 2011 World Marketing Congress
EditorsColin L. Campbell
Number of pages1
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-50008-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-50006-5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

Publication series

NameDevelopments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
ISSN (Print)2363-6165

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