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51Sales Planningthat sales plays in your organization is by looking at your corporatestructure.There has been a long-standing debate about the best fit andreporting structure for sales. Some believe that it is a part of themarketing function, while others say it belongs as a stand-aloneunit. The answer is that it really does not matter. What is key is thatthey collaborate well with one another. Below are a couple of sam-ple corporate reporting structures, one with sales reporting directlyto a very senior officer (Figure 3-1) and the other with a seniorexecutive heading up both sales and marketing (Figure 3-2).Of course, sales not only needs to tie closely in to marketing butalso needs to work in tandem with the entire organization. Thisincludes R&D, finance, human resources, manufacturing, customerservice, and so on.Most important, whatever corporate structure you are in, thegoal is to serve the customer.THECUSTOMER-CENTRICORGANIZATIONThere are two critical questions that everyone involved in the orga-nization should be able to answer:What does your company define as a successful customer?What is the desired customer experience?There has been a great deal of talk over the past couple of dec-ades on how to develop a structure whereby the entire organizationis focused on the customer and the customer experience. This is incontrast to the old days, when marketing, sales, and customer ser-vice’s main focus was in creating demand, selling to, and then satis-fying the customers, and others had very little involvement in theprocess; the back office, with human resources and accounting, wasmerely there to help ensure that the daily activities and processeswere functioning, and they did not readily see any direct or indirectlink to the customer. This type of straighforward department layoutwould look something like the one in Figure 3-3.While this still has validity and does depict the customer as thecentral focus of the organization, today a truly customer-focusedorganization is that much more complex and intertwined with the
52F U N D A M E N T A L SO FS A L E SM A N A G E M E N TFigure 3-1. A corporate structure in which sales and marketing report separately tothe COO.C-Level OfficersC-Level OfficersVice PresidentSalesVice PresidentMarketingDirectorsDirectorsManagersManagersEmployeesEmployeesChief ExecutiveOfficer/PresidentChief OperatingOfficer
54F U N D A M E N T A L SO FS A L E SM A N A G E M E N TFigure 3-3. A common approach to the customers.ManufacturingFinanceEngineeringHumanResourcesCUSTOMERSERVICESALESMARKETINGCUSTOMERAdapted fromAMA’s Advanced Course in Strategic Marketing.an array of areas in which to integrate your processes. Some majorcompanies, for example, have their processes so refined that every-one involved in the supply chain meets certain standards of quality,communications, technology, and so on. Some of the key benefitsto these companies are everything from cost savings to higher profitmargins, improved quality, and increased customer satisfaction.When you think of it in terms of your sales team, there are many