As we continue looking at how some of the eight business fundamentals work together, it’s time to examine the relationship between marketing and sales. These two roles rely on each other, and it’s hard to overstate the importance of making sure a marketing team and sales team talk to each other and cooperate.
First, you must recognize that marketing and sales are universal, inescapable parts of any business.
Everyone is marketing, even if they aren’t consciously trying to do so. It’s impossible to be ambivalent about marketing — you’re either doing it well or doing it poorly. Marketing is projecting an identity, showing people who you are and what your business does. A company that does zero marketing is still projecting an identity, after all, just one that shows it does not care enough to communicate clearly with its customer base.
Likewise, everyone at a business who comes into contact with a client or customer, from the receptionist on up, is selling the product or services. All these points of contact reflect on your business, your products, and your reputation — which all adds up to sales, the basic unit of success for any business.
Whether your team is a hundred strong or just one person, seeing how marketing and sales complement each other can give insight on improving the way both are done. Let’s take a closer look.
GPS: Sales & Marketing
Marketing, which deals with consumers as a whole, comprises several key actions:
- Researching to identify a target market
- Building the brand identity, from logo to website and everything in between
- Deploying assets to build brand awareness within that target market
- Driving potential leads to reach out to the sales team
- Providing material for sales teams to use, all keeping with brand consistency
Sales focuses on the individual customers, going from the collective concept of a target market down to the person walking in the door. This involves:
- Researching to identify individual leads within the target market
- Directly reaching out to these leads
- Providing customer service to leads who reach out to the sales team
- Using the marketing collateral to keep established brand standards
- Forming relationships that can lead to future purchases and referrals
- Getting people to actually purchase the goods and services
Looking at their functions, it’s somewhat obvious how these two roles must work together. Marketing gets the word out to the community at large and generates interest, which gets people walking in the door. Once these potential customers have shown up (whether online, with a phone call, or in a showroom), it’s up to the sales force to convert these browsers into buyers.
Yet, many businesses do not ensure these two departments are functioning well together, which can lead to disconnects. It can be a sales team feeling abandoned by a distant marketing department that doesn’t understand its needs, or a marketing team frustrated that the interest it generates falls flat when potential buyers show up.
When these two teams are working well together, they feed into a cycle that gains momentum from each side of the relationship. An attentive leader will make sure this wheel gets greased so it’s always turning, gaining speed and reach, which increases brand awareness and sales.
For its part, the marketing team should be constantly driving people in and priming them to have a good feeling about the brand and product before they even set foot in the door (or click the “order” button on the website). This is accomplished with thoughtfully designed collateral, branding, and content. The sales team, with the boots on the ground, should regularly give feedback to the marketing team to help refine its efforts and keep the messaging clear and honest. If a marketing campaign makes promises the sales force cannot keep, customers will feel tricked — and it’s almost impossible to regain a consumer’s trust after that feeling sets in.
Communication between sales and marketing is therefore essential, to find and fix any pain points and also to capitalize on opportunities. Employees in these two departments should know each other and not just be comfortable but highly motivated to reach out if they notice efforts aren’t in sync or if they need support that’s not being delivered. When one part of the marketing-sales cycle is underperforming, it will drag both sides down — and profits will drop accordingly.
With a marketing and sales team smoothly cooperating, you ensure solid, consistent messaging to consumers as a whole while also providing a positive, memorable experience for individual customers who reach out — both essential ingredients for a lasting relationship.
To build a long-term, successful enterprise, when you don’t close a sale, open a relationship.
— Patricia Fripp, author and presentation coach
Selling and marketing are about inspiring people, making them discover something about themselves. When you can accomplish this, people remember and feel a connection. People reward this approach with trust and loyalty, and they will build on that relationship by recommending a product or service to others or circling back when they are ready to buy themselves.
Chuck Mohler established Eagle Corporate Advisors to help business owners who have reached the level of success where they begin to feel constrained by their own limits — whether those limits are time, knowledge, or the inability to fulfill the many roles their business requires. We provide custom support for any issue, milestone, or decision so your business can break through a plateau and reach a higher level.
By crafting an individualized approach with your long-term goals in mind, Eagle Corporate Advisors can help you make big changes and sound business decisions based on trusted methodology.