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Case Study : Communication Breakdown between Sales and Marketing

by Master Fool


This company has been operating for more than 20 years and have seen a steady growth throughout the years. They expanded their range of products and also the number of customers grew steadily. In time, the company formed a marketing department to focus on trade marketing activities whereas the sales department would solely focus on customer relationship management and sales growth.

As the team expanded, more and more marketing activities and demands from customers were coming in for both the teams to handle. Over time, both teams were overwhelmed with requests from both the customers and internal requests. This has lead to communication issues between both departments and unsatisfactory results on the marketing execution.


  1. Low execution points from sales team stating they were not aware of the promotion although promotions were prompt months in advance and promotional plans were being disseminated on monthly basis
  2. Sales team were frustrated that last minute information were only given by the marketing team
  3. Marketing do not have updates of sales team progress in the execution of various activities

Meetings were held on ad hoc basis and there were quarterly meetings to discuss the upcoming quarter’s promotions. So what was the issue?


Pretty simple actually. Ad hoc meetings simply do not work. Why? Because of the low attendance rate as some of the sales personnel may be out for an appointment. Do not expect that information will be disseminated top down as relying on this would only cause both parties frustration.

  • Plan out a short weekly or bi-weekly meeting. Meetings should be short and concise as most times lengthy meetings only cause inattention
  • Quarterly meetings should have specific agendas that are only for big discussions. Smaller discussions eg issues should be taken on the weekly meeting as it should have been resolved by then and pending 3 months later
  • There should always be an updated file or system where both parties can update live information and the users are able to view the changes live. An example case is the marketing would like to know where the new product is listed and what is the listing status, instead of having a meeting to get an update, there should be a file or system where each sales personnel responsible for that outlet should update the information accordingly. The file or system should be able to track and inform the user the changes compared to the previous round or the updates of the changes on the file. If there are any questions, the marketing personnel can always bring the topic up during the weekly meeting if necessary or check directly with the sales personnel involved. This would ease both parties as everyone needs to be responsible for their own actions and work

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