Sales and marketing may seem similar, but a fine line differentiates the two.
However, these two business functions have a common goal - to generate revenue by attracting qualified leads and converting them into buyers.
While marketing focuses on informing and attracting leads to your company and products or services, the sales team is responsible for implementing the strategies formulated by the marketing team.
The sole responsibility of the sales team is to work directly with prospects to reinforce the value of your company's goods and services and to convert the prospects to customers.
Sounds simple, right?
Let's delve into the top 4 differences between these two business functions and how they can be aligned to work together.
Sales Vs Marketing
To ensure that the marketing and sales teams are on the same page for the organization's greater good, it's essential to understand the basic elements of each department.
When drawing plans, both teams must keep the company's overall goals and initiatives in mind. This acts as a guide to their different activities.
The marketing department then focuses on the 4ps of marketing, i.e., the product, price, place, and promotion in their plans.
They set goals, choose the marketing channels, and make a budget for the different campaigns they plan to pursue.
Marketing professionals formulate strategies your company can use to attract your target audience and arouse their interest in your business.
The results should be measurable so that your organization can judge the most cost-effective marketing choices and those that bring in the numbers.
On the other hand, the sales reps focus on the target market, team structure, goals, and the sales process.
Their sales plan clearly outlines their sales strategy, the sales tools they'll use, and the resources they need to hit their sales targets.
Their primary role is to convince someone to buy your products and services. It's more of an interpersonal relationship that persuades a lead to become a customer.
Usually, these leads are a result of marketing efforts.
Sales Goals Vs. Marketing Goals
The common goal for the two departments is to generate revenue for the company.
However, the marketing department looks at the bigger picture, and long-term goals as marketing campaigns can span several months.
Usually, they are responsible for setting the product prices and creating awareness of how the product will satisfy the needs and wants of the customers.
They are also responsible for promoting your brand, company, products, or services.
On the other hand, the sales team is interested in hitting sales volume goals, and their goals are usually short-term.
The target for individual sales reps is defined, and results are measured on a month-to-month basis.
The concerted efforts are usually geared toward meeting the company's overarching goal.
Tools Used In Sales And Marketing
The two business functions use different tools and resources to meet their goals.
For marketing professionals, the focus is on customers' satisfaction, and that their needs are met or even surpassed.
This, therefore, means that the marketing team would be more interested in customer views about the company's products or services and how best they can serve them.
Some of the tools the marketing techniques the department can use include;
- Search engine optimization (SEO – This tool ensures that customers get the company’s products when they search online.
- Data reporting software is an effective tool for collating the responses from the customers.
- Content creation tools to help avoid poor content marketing
- Marketing software
Since the sales team's interest is to drive the sales, their tools are more product-oriented and transactional.
Some of the tools used by the sales team are;
- Invoicing software – for tracking sales vs. payments received
- Inventory and order management software – this tool tracks what was sold out and the stock levels.
- Email management tools – most salespeople have a mailing list for selling to their subscribers or offering educational articles to help solve their problems.
- Meeting apps – this tool enables salespeople to meet up with their clients.
Both marketing and sales departments can also leverage social media to reach a large pool of customers.
The Strategy Employed By Both Departments
Marketing teams will adopt a specific strategy depending on the customers targeted and the type of campaign they are running.
Below are some of the marketing strategies;
- Social media marketing.
- Search engine optimization
- Creating marketing content
- Internet marketing
- Blog marketing
- Print media
- Video marketing.
Similarly, the sales team will employ strategies depending on the target customers, the market, products, and the industry.
Some of the most common sales strategies are;
- Inbound selling
- Solution selling
- Conceptual selling
- Customer-centric selling.
The focus of these sales techniques is to help a customer solve a problem, satisfy a need or achieve a much-desired goal, and ultimately lead to a sale.
How Can Sales And Marketing Departments Work Together?
The truth is, there have been frayed partnership between marketing and sales teams.
While the marketing department is frustrated by the failure of the sales team in implementing their set strategies, the sales team, on the other hand, is frustrated by the difficulty in implementing the said strategies.
This usually happens because these strategies are set by people who are not on the ground and do not understand the needs of the ideal customer.
But to achieve the overall organizational goals of increasing revenue, these two critical departments must work together to avoid sales and marketing misalignment.
Below are ways in which these two departments can work harmoniously.
Involves Salespeople in Strategy Formulation
It's much easier to implement a strategy that you understand and are part of.
During the strategic planning process, it is critical to include the sales team because having them onboard will ensure that their views are heard and appreciated.
The salespeople have a relationship with the customers on the ground and better understand their needs.
This means they can see things that the marketing team cannot see from the office; therefore, including them in the strategic planning makes it easy to implement the strategies as they were part of the process.
Offer Incentives On Effort and Not Volume
While marketing strategies are set to achieve specific sales volume, it can be frustrating for salespeople who don't achieve these targets despite putting in the effort.
To encourage the salespeople to do more, it's essential to measure results by the volumes and factor in the efforts a salesperson puts in.
Say, for example, customer satisfaction or the number of leads they are pushing to close on a sale.
This will make them feel valued, and it will push them to work harder in implementing the laid strategies.
Engage Your Teams More Often
One of the best ways to conduct market research is to take into account the observations of the salespeople.
Your sales team is the best source of the market intelligence you need. They understand the market well enough to know the customer's needs, your competitors, and what's being said about your organization.
The marketing team should use this valuable resource by visiting the market with the salespeople to understand their observation of the market trends.
On top of that, arrange for regular meetings between the two teams to help nurture a productive relationship.
Ensure that Marketing Strategies are Ingrained in the Sales Team
The salespeople must not only understand the sales skills, but learn marketing theories, tools, tactics, and terminologies.
This will make them better understand why they need to implement marketing strategies.
It will in turn ensure they execute their duties better, and this will lead to better cohesion between the two departments.
The Bottom Line
For an organization to achieve its revenue and business goals, the sales, and marketing departments must be on the same page, as none can work without the other.
While the marketing team is in charge of attracting leads, the sales team converts these prospects into customers.
This can only mean that they need each other, therefore, despite the above differences these two business functions need to be aligned for the organization's greater good.
That said, GrowhGenerators can help streamline your inbound marketing and sales campaign.
Discuss your strategies with one of our business development managers to see how GrowthGenerators can help you achieve your goals and most importantly, boost your business revenue.
September 12, 2022
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