Whether you manage a large enterprise, or a small mom-and-pop style business, you perform some type of sales and marketing. In a smaller entity, the same team (or individual) might handle both; larger organizations will often have separate teams.
Sales and marketing are closely related, yet have distinct differences. Marketing encompasses all the activities related to identifying target customers, and promoting the company’s brand, along with analyzing trends and new markets. Sales is a part of the overall marketing process, with a focus on developing relationships, understanding the client’s needs and ultimately “closing the deal.” In essence, the marketing staff develop the content, and the sales staff deliver and promote that content.
It’s easy to understand why discord can exist between the two. Marketing staff are focused on long-term efforts that sustain the company’s brand. They research trends, analyze markets and work on the foundational aspects of building a client base. A salesperson is more focused on immediate results, as they often have monthly or quarterly quotas.
While marketing and sales staff have differing priorities and approaches, they both share the ultimate goal of generating new and repeat business for the company. Because these two functions are so vital to your company’s revenue and reputation, it’s essential that they work together effectively to achieve results.
One of the most important elements of ensuring collaboration between marketing and sales is to help them understand each other’s functions. Conduct joint meetings on a regular basis to keep the lines of communication open. Have the sales team attend strategic marketing sessions, involving them in discussions and decisions about new product launches or targets. They will feel empowered and more vested in the overall success of the initiative. Have the marketing team listen in on sales calls or attend meetings with prospective clients. This gets them out of the office, away from mere research and analytics about what customers want and gives them the chance to interact with the actual target audience, providing valuable feedback to help inform marketing decisions.
Marketing and sales staff should both understand the company’s buyer persona, i.e., the target customer. The marketing team can help sales staff by recognizing that sales staff often interact with a wide audience within the buyer persona. They may be pitching multiple people within a company, ranging from the CEO to a purchasing manager. Their approach to each will be different, and having customized collateral from marketing is important in ensuring that messaging is tailored to the right level.
By having your sales and marketing staff collaborating regularly, you can facilitate greater information flow, idea sharing and overall awareness about how each contributes to the company’s goals. Getting them on the same page, presenting a consistent image of your company, will strengthen your brand, build your reputation, and ultimately increase your bottom line.