18 Dec J is for… The Juxtaposition of Sales and Marketing
Your A-Z of Marketing Essentials
J is for… The Juxtaposition of Sales and Marketing
Who takes the credit?
Whilst sales and marketing are often referred to in the same sentence, rolling off the tongue as one, and utterly inseparable, they are in fact quite different disciplines that require their own unique skills-set. Neither can function well without the other.
Yet these departments are often at odds with each other. They bicker over who should take the credit for sales, blame each other when the quality or the quantity of leads isn’t up to scratch and when targets aren’t met. Invariably, each blames the other when things don’t go according to plan.
Although both share the same broad objectives in terms of creating value and increasing the bottom line, each have their own important part to play.
One-to-Many and One-to-One
Simply put, marketing takes a one-to-many approach.
Marketing seeks to define markets and quantify the needs of customers both existing and new within these markets. Marketing then communicates value propositions to these customer groups in a way that will resonate with them.
Sales on the other hand, typically involves a one-to-one relationship that serves the needs of customers as individuals. The approach is direct and often involves in-person contact with customers that have already engaged with the organisation in some way through the efforts of marketing.
In a typical sales-funnel therefore, marketing is concerned with top levels and sales with the lower levels.
Marketing Strategy and Tactics
For marketing, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and as such, Marketing takes an integrated approach to strategy development. It takes on average twelve touch-points for a customer to engage with a brand. In today’s connected world Marketing must take a consistent, seamless and multi-dimensional approach to the customer experience across all channels.
Sales on the other hand is concerned with answering questions, solving problems, devising solutions and negotiating with customers as individuals. Where Marketing communicates with customers at a distance, Sales is far more tactical and tailored to the individual.
Sales and Marketing Working Together
According to research by LinkedIn, almost three quarters of Sales and Marketing teams questioned, believed that they worked collaboratively. However, a look at LinkedIn interactions revealed that over half of sales and marketing professionals were not connected with their counterparts within the same organisation.
Creating a cohesive relationship between Sales and Marketing enables both to be more effective. Sales gathers a tremendous amount of insight from the front-line every day. Whether it’s customer feedback, the latest competitor activity or product development. This insight can help Marketing to create campaigns and content that resonates with buyers in the here and now.
Sales can enable Marketing to gain access to customer stories, to understand what impact products and services have and in turn, what differentiates the brand. In turn, Marketing can enable the marketplace to connect with these stories which in turn helps to grow sales.
In small businesses, it’s quite usual for sales and marketing to be delivered by the same person and that can work well. However, beware of the temptation to devote more resource to one than the other, at the expense of both.
If your business has grown beyond the ability to deliver both functions effectively and you need access to professional marketing expertise, whilst preserving the strength of your sales team, get in touch.
We’d love to hear how your sales and marketing functions work together and what successes / challenges you’ve had.
Michelle Roberts (MCIM), is the managing director and founder of The Creative Marketing Agency. She is trained in both digital and traditional marketing through the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). She is also a member of the CIM and a Certified Practitioner in the Watertight Marketing Expert Community, both of which provide access to an additional wealth of knowledge and experience.