A three-stage model of integrated marketing communications at the marketing-sales interface

Timothy M. Smith, Srinath Gopalakrishna, Rabikar Chatterjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


The marketing and sales functions in many firms are often at odds despite their common goal of increasing revenue and profit. The finger pointing goes both ways: Marketing complains of poor lead follow-up by sales, and in turn, sales grumbles about the quality of leads generated by marketing. This disconnect can be damaging; high lead volumes generated through effective marketing campaigns could actually hurt downstream sales because of wasted effort on poorly qualified leads and/or delays in sales follow-up resulting from limited sales force capacity. To examine the revenue and profit implications of coordinated communications efforts at the marketing-sales interface, the authors develop a three-stage model that captures the effects of sequential marketing/sales communications on lead generation, appointment conversion, and sales closure. The results, which are based on a collaborative effort with a large home improvement retailer, suggest a complex interplay among marketing efforts (multiple media that generate leads), delays in follow-up (time lag between inquiry and sales force contact), and sales efficiencies (appointment and sales conversion). The findings underscore the impact of multimedia spending on the timing and effectiveness of subsequent communications, implying that improved internal collaboration between marketing and sales can offer significant upside potential for the firm. Finally, the authors develop a managerial decision support tool to simulate the impact of varying communications budgets, timing, and allocation on the marketing and sales planning system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)564-579
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2006


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