Sales vs. Marketing – How to Use Both to 10x Your Success
Marketing and sales – the two most critical components to running any type of successful business.
While both are vitally important parts of any business, for decades the two teams have constantly clashed for a variety of reasons. In some organizations, it feels as though they were more rivals than they were teammates. Which is ironic because both of them should be working together to achieve a common goal.
Yet, in the past, each team seemed to constantly try to take priority over one and other. Usually disagreeing on metrics, expenses, and the importance of each department made for a lot of friction between the two segments. It wasn’t one-sided either, both parties played a part in the conflict.
Sales thought they were more important than the marketing team as they closed the deal and actually grew the business by increasing revenue. Conversely, the marketing department thought they were more important because they brought awareness to the brand and made the sales possible in the first place.
Needless to say, it’s time for a change; I’m convinced in 2020 there is a better strategy. If you’re a solopreneur or small team, you need a balance of both to grow your business. That was the old way and it’s probably costing you a lot of revenue (and sanity).
The faster you can have them working together, the easier it will be to grow your business and have a better culture among your teams. And if you’re taking on both roles yourself, we have some strategies as well.
Here’s how you can end the war of marketing vs. sales and create a team that works together.
Sales vs. Marketing 101
Before diving into some tangible steps to align both teams to reach a common goal, let’s get some clarity on the role that each one plays inside an organization.
First off, a lack of alignment between sales and marketing can not only hurt team morale but it can also impact the effectiveness of the business as well. Being out of sync has a huge cost on the long-term success of the organization. A Harvard Business Review study said this,
“There is no question that, when Sales and Marketing work well together, companies see substantial improvement on important performance metrics: Sales cycles are shorter, market-entry costs go down, and the cost of sales is lower.”
Who doesn’t want those types of results?
The article goes on to show how a friendly, mutually beneficial relationship can play a huge role in so many areas of the business. Before giving you some tips to improve the relationship between the two former enemies, let’s first break down each one and the role they play inside an organization.
Marketing is the strategy to reach new leads and gain awareness of your business, brand, or offer. With each type of marketing, you should have clear KPIs (key performance indicators) to know what strategies are working and which ones aren’t working.
As you know, marketing is very fluid and always changing, especially since the rise of the internet and social media platforms in the past decade. What worked in 2000 or 2010 doesn’t work anymore so each business needs to keep adapting to the times. The key to growing your business is to use several marketing strategies and constantly test new ones as trends change quickly.
For example, last year Facebook and Instagram seemed to have a strong hold on the social media world. But in mid-2020, TikTok has seemingly popped out of nowhere and is growing at unprecedented rates.
This is why staying current and testing out different marketing strategies is vital to continually growing your business. Some of the most popular marketing styles include:
- PPC ads
- Content creation
- Paid advertising
- Direct marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Cold calling and cold emailing campaigns
- Social media marketing (organic and paid ads)
All of these marketing methods get customers one step closer to an eventual sale which is part two of the equation.
Once individuals get acquainted with your brand, the second part is converting strangers into customers and generating sales. Marketing gets people in the door but sales is where the revenue is generated and the deals get closed.
While marketing has changed drastically in the past 20 years, sales remains pretty steady in terms of how business gets done. But like marketing, sales can happen in a variety of ways including:
- Social media
- Networking events
- Selling on a webinar
- High-ticket phone sales
- Email marketing (abandoned cart, retargeting ads, etc.)
Paired together, these two team are the engine that drives your business for long-term growth. Whether you’re a team or a one-man/woman show, you need to allocate your time on both for the best results.
If you can align them, your business can go to the next level. Here’s how to do it…
How to Align Sales and Marketing in Your Business
Depending on the size of your company, you might have two separate departments for both sales and marketing. Or, if you’re in the startup phase, you might have one or two people that are responsible for both sales and marketing. The main thing to improve is getting both teams on the same page to create the best customer experience.
Because as consumers become more and more savvy, it’s more important than ever to blend marketing and sales for the best customer experience. A great example of this is featured in the same Harvard Business Review story when discussing a shift that IBM made in the mid 2000s. Prior to integrating, sales and marketing were independent of one another and causing inefficiencies inside the business.
“Salespeople worried only about fulfilling product demand, not creating it. Marketers failed to link advertising dollars spent to actual sales made, so Sales obviously couldn’t see the value of marketing efforts. And, because the groups were poorly coordinated, marketing’s new product announcements often came at a time when sales was not prepared to capitalize on them.”
It wasn’t until IBM made some drastic changes and began to bridge the gap between both departments before they found a lot more financial success. Here are some easy strategies to blend the two departments together for a harmonious and successful relationship.
Balance Your Teams
One of the biggest mistakes that so many companies make is that the sales team is drastically bigger than the marketing team. Sure, the salespeople do convert the sale, but oftentimes the marketing team can’t keep up, which impacts the customer experience.
Plus, since so much has changed in the past decade thanks to the internet, a typical sales role has evolved as well. Most people do plenty of research on their own and have a strong inclination to buy before they ever have an interaction with a salesperson.
Think about it, if you have 10-15 salespeople for every one or two marketers, it’s hard for the marketer to keep up. This leads to the salespeople getting frustrated and the marketing team feeling overwhelmed and frustrated as well.
To fix this problem, try to find a better balance between the two so that each side has enough support. Another strategy is to have a hybrid team that combines both marketing and sales. These team members (or even one individual for a small team) could oversee both to ensure things are working smoothly.
Finally, make sure to have regular interactions with both teams to foster relationships and bridge the gap. You can do this with normal team meetings and even add in things like a group Slack channel to share wins and have everyone rooting for each other.
Use The Same CRM
One of the easiest things you can do is use the same CRM for both departments. By using a software like HubSpot, both teams can share the same platform and work together without wasting time. This will speed up the communication process and make sure that everyone is on the same page which helps save money and once again, create a better customer experience.
Don’t take my word for it either, check out this study from Demand Gen Report. They surveyed over 1,000 different marketing companies suffering from misalignment and figured out why the two teams are constantly butting heads. They found…
- 49% said the biggest issue is communication between the two
- 43% said process are broken or flawed leading to misalignment
- 40% said the disconnect came from metrics as each one was measured differently
The first two of these issues can get resolved quickly if you’re using the same CRM to keep communication strong and quickly fix any issues or broken processes. Metrics are something that should be evaluated regularly to make sure it’s not lopsided toward one team.
Have Transparent Metrics
As I mentioned in the last point, the lack of transparency in metrics is also a common breaking point between sales and marketing teams. To have a better understanding of one another, I suggest having each team commit to specific metrics and track performance to hold them accountable. This is a strategy used by big names like General Electric, Coca-Cola, and other big brands.
But since both jobs are very different from each other, it’s important to spend extra time getting clear about the individual metrics. For salespeople, it’s usually a lot easier to create and manage expectations for the job. Common KPIs include number of sales, average profit, sales quota/target achieved, etc.
The marketing side of things is a little more complicated and usually involves cost per lead, product forecasting, and other internal KPIs. Whichever metrics you choose for each team, make sure that everyone in both departments is on the same page and are holding themselves accountable.
By having KPIs out in the open and not siloing them between sales and marketing, you should have less friction amongst team members. Finally, always remind both segments that the goal is to provide an amazing experience for your customers above all else! While each department will have different metrics, they should both share the same goal.
Get Clear About Your Ideal Customer
With so many marketing tools right now, it’s vitally important that you know exactly who you are trying to reach with your product or service. You can’t afford to be broad and expect to attract the right people into your business anymore. To help create better marketing messages and increase conversions on sales, spend a lot of time getting to know your ideal customers.
Every piece of marketing should speak to them and help them get more familiar with your brand. Then, when they are ready to purchase a product or service, it’ll be a much easier selling process. The more that each team knows about the ideal customer, the more effective both teams will become.
To blend sales and marketing together, both departments need to get on the same page regarding the story of your offer as well. Each team needs to confidently speak to the transformation that your product or service provides. This is where having a smaller team makes it a lot easier to get aligned quickly.
As expert-marketer and author Seth Godin said, “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic.”
Storytelling is an art but it can be done once you have a clear understanding of your ideal customer and how your product or service can help them. The more in sync both departments are with this, the easier it is to communicate in both your marketing and sales messages.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding how sales and marketing can play a pivotal role in growing your business. Let’s end the “us vs. them” philosophy once and for all!
Whether you’re a solopreneur or a growing team, sales and marketing are both needed to help turn followers and fans into customers. Otherwise, you will waste energy and resources with two departments constantly at war with one and other.
Remember, customers are more savvy and self-educated now than ever before. While selling is always important, it’s critical that you make buying your product an enjoyable one, not one that people cringe at. By combining both teams, you can create a better team culture and one that provides the absolute best customer experience as well.
To see how we at EasyWebinar are committed to the assisting your business in creating the ultimate customer experience check out our testimonials here!