Prof. Barbara Stöttinger, Academic Director of the Professional MBA Marketing & Sales
What do executives of successful businesses do better than others? They have optimal control over the interface of marketing and sales, which is traditionally conflict-ridden. As a result, their businesses can exploit potentials that others are unable to unlock. Even so, in actual practice, this fact is given little attention.
This is exactly where the WU Executive Academy's Professional MBA Marketing & Sales comes into play: over an 18-month period, participants undergo intensive training, deepening their understanding of both the opportunities arising from the smooth interplay between these two key areas and of the substantial synergies it creates. The program's part-time structure enables them to immediately put theory into practice—for their own benefit and that of their businesses, which will profit from the new knowledge of their employees.
Using this topic as her starting point, Prof. Barbara Stöttinger, Academic Director of the Professional MBA Marketing & Sales, has asked participants of the current class about their experiences regarding the interaction of marketing and sales, and about their opinions on the importance of undergoing in-depth training to grasp the specifics of the relationship between these two fields.
An unique combination of marketing and sales at MBA level
Around the world there are numerous MBA offerings with a focus on marketing, but hardly any of them combine marketing and sales in a single program.
"The Professional MBA Marketing & Sales is designed to make participants aware of the enormous potential a business can unlock when these two core areas join forces and pull together. This is why the WU Executive Academy makes a conscious effort to overcome the traditional, albeit anachronistic, separation between them," explains Prof. Barbara Stöttinger.
"Although we work for two businesses that are fundamentally different—in one marketing and sales are separate fields, in the other they are closely linked—, we have both made the same experience: to understand what makes your colleagues tick, what strategy they pursue and that, ultimately, they strive for the same goals as you, helps you in creating new knowledge and in enhancing your efficiency," say Michal Puskar, Senior Business Developer at Slovak Telekom, and Hank Sczerba, Group Brand Manager & Sales Manager Specialiy Care at Eli Lilly and Company.
One core aspect of the program is to teach participants to think in terms of alternatives and develop innovative strategies, always assessing financial implications. "For me, the MBA has really been an eye-opener. It has helped me not only to gain a deeper appreciation of the big picture in my business but also to quickly put complex situations into context. My horizons have broadened; my way of approaching and handling new tasks has changed", says Alexandra Burchiu, Product Marketing Manager for Bancassurance business at UNIQA International Vienna.
The interplay of marketing and sales is a decisive success factor for every business. Those responsible for making marketing and sales decisions need to have sound theoretical knowledge as well as practical experience, so as to bolster the strategic positioning of their businesses and the products and services they offer, and to reap the benefits and profits later on. Therefore, the Professional MBA Marketing & Sales places great emphasis also on the topics traditionally associated with general management.
"In my day-to-day work, the hard skills have also proved highly beneficial. I now have a wide range of expert knowledge, tools and methods at my disposal that I can take advantage of whenever my professional duties require me to do so. This is very convenient, enables me to achieve better results and helps me to save a lot of precious time too," says Svilena Stoyanova, Deputy Manager Private Banking, Raiffeisen Bank Bulgaria.
"It is only thanks to this methodological knowledge that managers are in a position to highlight the benefit and value of products and services in such a way as to create win-win situations for their businesses and customers in difficult times. We need to keep one thing in mind: satisfying your clients is not enough, you have to fill them with enthusiasm," adds Prof. Barbara Stöttinger.
The crisis in recent years has also significantly increased the pressure on businesses as they are faced with a difficult economic climate in which they need to successfully sell their products and services—stagnant and declining markets notwithstanding. In this context, sales and marketing have a particular responsibility in developing and implementing, in a thoughtful and persistent manner, concepts that ensure long-term success for the benefit of both the customer and the business itself.
From an academic as well as from a business perspective, marketing and sales belong together and need to be interconnected. Every business aims to attract new customers and retain existing ones. A joint effort is needed to attain this goal. Marketing knows the markets and sales knows the customers! Only if the two join forces when it comes to thoroughly analyzing customer needs and translating the results into products and services to address them, can a business achieve true market success and thus economic prosperity.