How To Find The Golden Mean Between Sales And Marketing
Want to know the difference between marketing and sales? Then you’re in the right place.
Most people think the two are synonymous, but they’re not. While sales and marketing are related and feed off each other, they’re worlds apart. The two have different goals, outlooks, and positions where they operate in the funnel.
As a result, there are always tensions between sales and marketing departments. They’re often at each other’s throats. But it needn’t be so.
For higher revenue inflows, both departments should learn from each other and synergize their efforts. In this article, we will look at how to achieve the perfect balance between sales and marketing in order to achieve maximum growth.
Let’s get started, shall we? But before we delve into the details, let’s get the basics out of the way.
What is marketing?
Marketing is any activity that an organization carries out in order to spark interest in and awareness of their goods and services.
Its goal is to attract and connect with a business’s pre-defined target market.
What are sales?
Selling covers any activities that focus on convincing prospects and leads to buy a company’s goods and/or services.
Its sole aim is to close as many deals as possible with leads generated by the marketing department.
From these definitions, you can understand why there are endless sales vs marketing debates. Neal Taparia, a serial entrepreneur and founder of card gaming platform, Solitaired, says that the delineation between the two can be nuanced. He explains that “sales and marketing have the same goals of acquiring customers, but the handoff between the two can vary based on business. The marketing and sales functions for selling classic games is very different from that of selling education software.”
As an example, let’s say that an organization has created online courses and wants to offer them to potential students. While the marketing team loves to educate the market and explain how the courses would help students achieve their desired outcomes, salespeople simply want to confirm that the product is a good fit, complete the sale, and move on to the next prospect.
Let’s now explore the differences between the two, and how they can complement each other to fuel growth.
#1 Funnel position
First of all, what can cause tension between marketing and sales is that they target opposite ends of the funnel.
Marketing focuses on the top and middle of the funnel. When prospects begin their buyer journey, they are unaware of which problems your company solves. Heck, they may not even know they have a problem that needs solving!
So, the marketing team must woo these cold prospects into the funnel through educating them on topics related to the brand’s products and services.
While the marketing team is trying to lure prospects at the beginning of the buyer’s journey, the sales department is breathing down their necks demanding leads to work with. If marketers feel pressured, they might end up filling the funnel with crappy leads just to get the sales team off their backs.
And, because the quality of leads will probably be poor as a result, the sales team will struggle to clinch sales. Guess who they will blame? The marketing department, who will then point the finger back at the sales team to start the cycle all over again. In this scenario, it would be no surprise to see company revenue nosedive.
Sales teams must be patient with the marketing department. The former should give the latter enough time to attract and push quality leads down the funnel. Then, sales will be given first-rate leads that are more likely to buy.
Marketers should stop their obsession with huge numbers that simply don't help their fellow workers. Sales aren’t just waiting for a huge amount of leads - they want prime, ready-to-buy leads.
#2 Opposite goals
Second, marketing and sales have different goals. For marketers, the aim is to generate maximum exposure for the brand in order to get the brand and its products known in the marketplace. And not just known by everyone, but by an audience whose members match that company's buyer personas.
How about sales? Their obsession is touting to complete deals. Because companies base part or all of the sales pay on commission, over-eager salespeople often run roughshod over potential customers in a desperate effort to make quicker sales and higher earnings. As a result of pushy selling, these leads might not ultimately make a purchase at all. This would frustrate the marketing team who’ve worked their tails off to get those leads into the sales funnel, and they’d feel let down by their colleagues.
Marketers should urge sales reps to be patient with prospects. Rushing a sale can only hurt their pockets in the end.
For their part, marketers should align their messaging with the brand’s customer personas in order to maintain brand consistency and to increase the chances of sales teams completing deals. Also, marketers should always remember that the sales team’s income depends on cuts. Then they’ll do their best to attract high-quality leads who are most likely to convert.
After all, the ultimate goal that everyone is gunning for is revenue growth.
#3 Levels of engagement
Marketers may have lots of superficial conversations with prospects. They can talk to many prospects but get limited feedback.
The sales team focuses on intimate, long, one-one conversations with leads. They talk to potential customers through:
- In-person meetings
- Phone conversations
- Video conferences
Contrary to popular belief, the best-of-the-best sales reps are superb listeners, not just sleek talkers who dominate the conversation.
Because star-reps are brilliant listeners, they understand customers’ behaviour at a deep level and know which buttons to press to persuade them to buy.
As a consequence of their in-depth day-to-day conversations with potential customers, sales reps can have piles of notes on customers’ pain points, dreams, and objections. To build an efficient high-converting sales pipeline, they must share this vast knowledge with the marketing team.
This way, marketers can know about their prospects’ biggest questions and most pressing needs. The former will be able to engage more intelligently with the latter. Content and conversations can become deeper and richer from the get-go. From email marketing campaigns to social media posts, marketing messages will be more likely to resonate instantly with leads.
Importantly, some objections can be addressed straight away before those prospects reach a decision stage. Therefore, the sales team's job will be made easier.
#4 Different focuses
In general, selling is product-centric while marketing is customer-centric.
Yes, marketers can also talk about products, and vice versa, but each department centers on one aspect.
Because marketers want to generate awareness and get a lot of eyes on a business, they focus on users and their desires. Marketing teams help consumers see the depth and breadth of their needs and then introduce them to the solutions.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, salespeople zero in on product specs. They weave product elements and benefits into the conversation.
Why? So that leads can see how a product or service will benefit them. And once they do, they’ll soon take out their credit cards. To close deals, the sales team needs content assets in order to convince undecided leads.
The marketing team can assist their counterparts by producing excellent bottom-of-the-funnel (BoFu) content, such as case studies and comparison posts. BoFu content helps people to understand a brand’s product better and also see its value. The sales team can use these materials to follow up with leads and nudge them over the buying line.
When you couple solid non-pushy BoFu content with sharp selling skills, a sales pitch will become more interesting. It can appeal to both emotions and intellect, which is crucial in B2B circles.
Role of webinars in sales and marketing
As I have shown, sales and marketing are two distinct yet connected entities. But what if you could market and sell in one masterstroke? Is that possible? Yes, through smart webinars.
These numbers from Convert Kit show the superpowers of webinar marketing:
- 30% cold traffic conversion rate
- 40% of registrants attend
- 50 minutes attendee stick rate
- 15% leads to sales conversion rate
- 25% of people watch replays
As you can see, webinars are a powerful marketing and sales tool. They build trust fast, work at both ends of the funnel, and most importantly land bumper sales. Plus, webinars are a reusable content asset. No other B2B marketing strategy comes close to their all-round marketing and sales brilliance.
Webinars are one of the best ways of seamlessly combining sales and marketing. So, if you aren’t taking advantage of webinars in your sales funnel, you’re simply leaving money on the table. That’s disappointing, because webinar marketing is cost-effective but insanely profitable.
Role of webinars in sales and marketing
To have a thriving brand, you must close the gap between marketing and sales. But how to find a way to let both parties benefit from each other's vast knowledge?
Here are some quick suggestions to get you started:
- Allow marketers to sit in during sales calls or meetings.
- Permit the sales team to have input into marketing campaigns.
- Conduct cross-training between the two departments.
- Let both departments lead sessions during combined workshops.
- Build a culture of cooperation, not competition.
- Work together as one team through simple CRM software.
- Train both departments to always have the big picture in mind.
Sales and marketing: friends, not foes
Walking the sales and marketing tightrope isn’t easy. As Qhubekani Nyathi (aka The Click Guy, an offbeat certified freelance writer for hire) states: “It’s a delicate balancing act. Many brands cannot reconcile the two. As a result, both departments operate in silos and the company ends up with a misaligned, misfiring funnel that leaks leads and sales. But with a bit of work, you can combine them, because there are two sides of the same coin. They are interdependent and work at their optimum when they cooperate, not compete.”
It’s possible to align sales and marketing perfectly. Bearing in mind that the author of the above quote creates content that ranks and drives qualified traffic, we do believe in his words. So if he’s sure that your conversions and sales will explode with webinars, we’d wholeheartedly agree.
The only way to check if we’re right is to find out for yourself, so feel free to try what LiveWebinar can do for your business. But before you run your first video, read our post about webinar promotion to get ready and set for a huge lead boost.
Happily combines a love of writing and new technology as a copywriter, and enjoys the puzzle of putting together a good article. In her spare time she likes to catch up on the latest, greatest books, bake chocolate chip cookies and ponder her next travel destination.More posts