Sales Vs Marketing
Marketing and sales are two distinct but related processes in the value chain that starts with conceiving and producing a product and or service, convincing targeted prospects to purchase; and then finally ensuring that the offering or the company continues to be relevant to the needs its customers.
Marketing is about product conception, competitive business intelligence and building positive reputation of the offering and the company; sales deals are about actually convincing of the customer to part with his money to purchase the offering. Furthermore, successful sales is about maintaining a good relationship with key customers to ensure their continued patronage and harnessing new opportunities to up-sell or cross-sell products and services.
Both sales and marketing interface with customers and prospects continuously, albeit for different reasons. While marketing uncovers customer needs, competitor initiatives and building brand image through promoting effective value propositions. Whilst sales seeks to establish durable win-win relationship by offering tangible value for the money that the customers pays.
In the battle for supremacy, often sales and marketing are at loggerheads. Sales people love to make big commitments to be delivered as quickly as possible, so they can earn more money for themselves and the company.
Marketing on the other hand believes in the slow and steady process of brand building for sustaining long term sales leadership through reputation, price and value competitiveness. In the ongoing power struggle, sales and marketing people often end up uselessly fighting and blaming each other for missed sales opportunities – either through slow pace of sales messaging or through non-fulfillment of over ambitious sales promises.
Successful organisations put in tangible measures to effectively leverage synergies of these ‘made-for-each-other’ functions. Both sales and marketing efforts feed each other as they always compliment each other provided business strategists can effectively plan their inter-connects in a manner that benefits the organisation and customers rather than creating ego-battles. This is now easier with online marketing as web branding can inform as well as engage customers to complete the sales cycle in one seamless function. Responsible sales people often report the product/service features of competitors that are popular with customers so that marketers can effectively launch new/improved products and also alter their branding messaging/tactics.
Tips to synergise online sales and marketing
Optimising sales and marketing tactics so that they effectively help each other is a necessity few organisations can afford to ignore. Here are some time tested tips to synergise these two important functions:
1. Publish an online press release and also inform your clients & prospects.
While you devote extensive resources on online PR and media-relations, you often forget to send relevant information as news alerts to your target audience. For better sales-marketing synergies, you need to put the press release’s highlights on your homepage and also targeted e-newsletters. Always remember to re-write the press releases into one or two easy to read paragraphs and also posting them on your official blog site.
2. Use sales leads for both marketing and sales.
While eager sales people love converting sales leads that arrive as info-requests from websites,
marketing also needs to ‘service’ these requests by sending relevant collaterals, success stories and ‘post-sales’ brand-info-mailers for exploring additional cross-selling opportunities.
3. Maintain messaging consistency.
Companies invest a lot in developing extensive online & offline advertising and PR programs designed to ‘pull’ in more online traffic to their web-offerings. As a best practice always ensure that the web-content of your site/landing page/sales scripts does match the promise given in your ad/press release.
4. Leverage off line events with online marketing initiatives
It is a smart idea to capture your offline speaking engagements as a well documented webinar on your website. Then proceed to build a learning community with all attendees of the offline event. Sales people can then connect with the loyal visitors expanding the sales reach of your offerings. The visitors to the speaking event can also be sent complimentary links to whitepapers on your website. This will not only build a ‘thought leader’ brand proposition for your company but also boost conversion rate of your online and offline sales efforts
The Internet provides more data to sales and marketing people than ever before, developing internal processes and procedures to harness this potential is a great opportunity to be leveraged by any organization.