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Indiana University Bloomington

Center for Global Sales Leadership


"The Center for Global Sales Leadership at IU makes a rare and important contribution to improving our knowledge of this vital business function."

Neil Rackham, author of Spin Selling and consultant to the world's leading corporations

Research &Publications

Journal Articles

Marketing and Sales Strategy: Strategic Alignment and Functional Implementation

1996, Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management

William M Strahle, Rosann L Spiro, Frank Acito


Many authors have argued that when a firm selects a particular marketing strategy, at the business-unit level, the organization should make functional level decisions which are aligned with the marketing strategy. This study examines the alignment between business-unit level marketing strategies and functional level sales objectives and activities for a specific products. In the study, marketing executives from 25 firms were asked to identify the marketing strategies and corresponding sales objectives for four of their current products. Three hundred and sixty-seven sales managers from the same firms were subsequently asked to identify the sales objectives for the products identified by their respective marketing managers and to rate the importance of various sales activities for these products. The results confirm, as many authors have speculated, that there are often discrepancies between marketing executives and their sales managers with regard to specific product strategies. Extensive post-survey interviews offer some interesting insights as to why discrepancies occur.


Strahle, William M., Rosann L. Spiro, and Frank Acito (1996), "Marketing and Sales Strategy: Strategic Alignment and Functional Implementation," Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 1-20.


Selected by Pi Sigman Epsilon as the 1996 outstanding Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management article