Strategic and Operational Alignment of Sales-Marketing Interfaces: Duel Paths Within an SME configuration



Date of this version


Document Type



sales-marketing interface, small and medium-sized enterprise, integration devices, marketing strategy, qualitative research




Sales-marketing interface (SMI) research aims to understand the interdependence between sales and marketing in order to successfully develop and implement marketing strategies. While scholars note a variety of mechanisms that may aid marketers' ability to achieve strategic and operational alignment with salespeople in order to foster strategy implementation success, the insights gained from extant research have limited utility for a large number of organizations. Specifically, given the predominance of SMI research focused on conventional organizational contexts, the field is largely in the dark with regard to how marketers within small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may achieve strategic and operational alignment with their sales counterparts. The authors utilize a discovery-oriented method and employ depth-interview data collected from 39 sales and marketing personnel within an SME context to shed greater light on this phenomenon. Findings illustrate that marketers within SMEs employ a two-step process: (a) legitimizing their proximal authority and (b) simultaneously signaling clout and camaraderie to achieve strategic and operational alignment with salespeople. Results deepen the understanding of SMIs, while also providing research propositions that improve the utility of this interface across a broader spectrum of organizational contexts.



Published in

Industrial Marketing Management

Citation/Other Information

Malshe, A., Friend, S. B., Al-Khatib, J., Al-Habib, M. I., & Al-Torkistani, H. M. (2017). Strategic and operational alignment of sales-marketing interfaces: Dual paths within an SME configuration. Industrial Marketing Management, 66, 145-158. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.indmarman.2017.08.004