Marketing and sales… They go together like a horse and carriage.
That doesn’t rhyme as well as Sinatra’s original version but the final line remains the same: You can’t have one without the other.
Marketing drives customers to sales and sales teams close the deal to generate the right ROI so that the marketing teams can keep their jobs.
Marketing is not sales. Sales is not marketing. But they are both crucial to the buyer’s journey and they are both dependent on each other.
For too long there has been this erroneous assumption that marketing and sales are two sides of the same coin. This not only does a disservice to the work and process of both marketers and salespeople but it creates an inaccurate notion of the purpose of marketing.
We’re here to set the record straight. And we’re also here to broker a peace treaty between marketing and sales because, ultimately, we need both for our businesses to be successful.
Awareness, Consideration, Conversion (or Decision)
Known as the marketing/sales funnel or the buyer’s journey and also known to have a hundred different variations, this model breaks down the road map of how a prospect becomes a customer. We like the simplified version of 3 steps: Awareness, Consideration and Conversion.
It’s a funnel that captures interested audiences until finally leading them to make a purchase. It’s important to visualize this process because, just like the shape of the funnel, the jobs of the marketing team vs the sales team become narrower as the potential buyer progresses on their journey. And the narrower it gets, the closer we get to differentiating marketing vs. sales.
Building brand awareness is the primary job of marketing. This awareness leads to engagements, which leads to trust. Through content, social media, blogs, newsletters, paid advertising, and all those other nifty tactics, marketers cast a wide net to interest potential customers. Marketing provides relevant information, fosters conversations and communicates the value of a service or a product. It is as simple as that. But it’s also quite complex.
Building awareness with marketing isn’t just about throwing out a campaign blindly into the internet-ether and hoping for the best. It involves tons of research, evaluation and, most importantly, knowing your customers. When all this is done properly, with the right marketing tactics and a well-designed content marketing campaign, you capture the customers that will actually gain value from your brand. This will then lead them to…
Here, the potential customer has become what’s called a “warm lead,” meaning they’re qualified, close to saying yes, but they need a little more information and convincing. The marketing team steps in again here to give even more targeted materials. Perhaps this is a personalized email or maybe it means engaging more on social media. These days this often ends up as the prospect researching and digging in on their own, most likely by reading your blogs or examining your product or service through reviews.
We’re still in the realm of marketing here. But as the customer gets closer and closer to making a decision, that’s when sales steps in to take over.
Finally, we have reached the tip of the funnel. The customer has decided that they must have your product or service and they are compelled to make a purchase. In traditional businesses this could mean a salesperson stepping in and closing the deal, but more often these days it’s a matter of putting an item in a cart (either physically or online) and making the purchase.
If a more traditional sales model is taking place, then it’s absolutely crucial that the final stage in the buyer’s journey leaves them feeling good. If a buyer is happy with their decision and has a great experience, they will go on to become a loyal follower and even refer others.
The moral of the story?
While marketing and sales are intertwined, they have different roles and serve different purposes. Marketing is creating interest and awareness in goods or services. Sales takes these interested leads, reinforces the value of goods or services and converts the prospects into customers.
Marketing needs sales and sales need marketing. They rely on each other, so the best business will create a relationship between marketing and sales teams to best support the other and to let each team do what they do best.
For a smaller business or a single owner entrepreneur this means a bit of mental aerobics. But the primary consideration is to not turn marketing into icky sales drivel. Let marketing do what it does best: creating awareness and giving customers information. Then when it’s time to make a sale, seal the deal and leave your customers feeling fantastic about their decision.
Now, how do you feel? Confused? Amped? Let us know how we can help you master your marketing strategy so you can make the sales.