Photo by Scott Robinson, CC

Market research can be an expensive practice that takes quite a bit of time.

Well what if I told you that there’s a new method of building marketing knowledge that doesn’t involve expensive measures.

A new study published at Texas Tech University by researchers Dennis B. Arnett and C. Michael Wittman (2014) discusses how an organizations sales team may be the best way of attaining marketing information.

Think of it this way. A sales professional develops a massive outbound network using Social Media, Cold-calling, and etc.

These “boundary spanners” as Arnett & Wittman (2014) discuss, are actively involved in learning about client issues and possible client leads. This is highly valuable information for the Sales team because it develops their competitive advantage.

A central problem with many organizations however is that this valuable information is not shared among the rest of the organization. If organizations were to spread information from their sales team towards their marketing team, their marketing team will have a much higher chance of developing highly successful and innovative marketing tactics.

According to the researchers Arnett & Wittman (2014), these are the best 4 practices you should use to turn your sales knowledge into marketing innovation:

  1. Improve communication between Sales and Marketing departments. The first thing all organizations should consider doing is improving the communication lines between their departments. Some ways of developing communication can be either through increased socializing opportunities, use of communication technology, and using inter-departmental memo boards. However just talking more won’t cut it, organizations should encourage Sales and Marketing to transfer higher quality information between each other (Arnett & Wittman, 2014).
  2. Develop practices in trust building activities. “Second, when coworker trust is higher, tacit knowledge exchange tends to be higher,” (Arnett & Wittman, 2014). Trust is a significant aspect within inter-departmental communication. When organizations encourage competition amongst employees, those employees are less likely to cooperate. Cooperation cannot truly foster when work environments are fashioned to award competitive behavior. Furthermore employees will be more likely to retain information from each other because it increases their importance at the workplace.
  3. Increase interaction between Sales and Marketing. This means that organizations should be creating events and projects that involve high interaction between different departments. This can be a primary way of improving communications and developing trust between departments.
  4. Upper management should constantly be involved in interactions between Sales and Marketing. Upper management must remain the flag bearers in developing inter-departmental interactions. If upper management chooses to be uninvolved, the likelihood of inter-departmental communication is less likely.

If you follow these four steps, you very well might turn your Sales team into Marketing innovation. And with increased interaction between Sales and Marketing, your organization is much more likely to build their competitive advantage.


Arnett, Dennis B., and C. Michael Wittmann. “Improving marketing success: The role of tacit knowledge exchange between sales and marketing.” Journal of Business Research 67.3 (2014): 324-331. Print.