Should we take CMOs and CSOs, tie them up back to back (their normal relationship) and plop them down on a hill of fire ants?


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Actually, they’d likely struggle to run in opposite directions; go nowhere; and suffer a painful death rather than one give in to the other. Of course, I’m using CMOs and CSOs as a metaphor. Top marketing and sales positions fall into many different categories, and tensions don’t just exist at the top level. And many other functions that should be cooperating fight each other instead.

What’s the problem here? Well, ironically it’s not marketing and/or sales. Nor is it poorly designed process, although there’s process dysfunction all over. I started a discussion thread on Linked: HR on Linkedin and folks really got into it. The overwhelming majority identified asynchronous marketing and sales operations as the result of weak leadership. In fact, much of the descriptive language was far harsher. C-level management letting marketing and sales “duke it out themselves” reflects executive inability to define, communicate and sustain strong organizational values.

This same inability also presents huge road blocks for companies trying to align all their pieces with customers. No strong leadership? Nothing changes.


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