Sales and marketing are so interwoven together it’s sometimes hard to tell them apart. Yet, despite being deeply connected, they both have individual strengths that are vital for business growth.
Marketers craft strategies with revenue in mind, and the sales team relies on marketing results to produce those revenues.
Without a sound marketing strategy, your sales could weaken, and without a powerful sales plan, your marketing efforts might be for naught.
87% of successful enterprises are well aware of that fact and boost their profits by aligning sales and marketing goals.
Discover the difference between them to get the best of both.
Here, I will share a glimpse of what distinguishes marketing from sales and what tools you can employ to collaborate on their activities.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is Marketing?
Before I bore you with a technical definition, let me ask you a question.
When you think of a men’s shaving razor, what name comes to your mind?
Gillette, I presume?
Ever wondered why?
I mean, Gillette might be old, but it’s certainly not the oldest. Nor does their razor quality triumph over every other brand. Still, Gillette holds the status of one of the top razor sellers, and many associate it with a man-shaving razor.
The reason for Gillette’s popularity is rather simple. The company merely has an excellent marketing team who knows how to reach their target market.
Marketing’s entire purpose is to promote your products and build your brand identity.
To achieve it, a marketer carries out a set of activities to introduce your product, attract your target audience and nurture the prospect. These campaigns establish trust in your brand and drive potential customers towards the sales funnel.
From the moment you conjure up an idea to the point where you favorably generate qualified leads, every action you take falls under marketing.
What is Sales?
The sales process involves actively pursuing leads to convert them into buyers.
Typically, the sales team forecasts annual revenues, sets monthly quotas, and prepares strategies to meet their target. Their action plan consists of identifying qualified leads, pitching to potential clients, closing the deals, and maintaining contact with existing customers.
Any activity you conduct to sell your product and improve customer retention comes under this department.
Take a look at the below example. Grammarly is offering 75% off to its prospects to increase conversions.
This is a typical sales promotional technique.
Sales vs Marketing
Sales and marketing’s end goal might be the same; however, their objectives, approach, strategies, and target audience, are exclusive.
Marketers play an incredibly long game to keep their brand constantly in the minds of their prospects. They set objectives to create a need for their product, raise brand visibility, and establish a company’s position in the market.
Sales, on the other hand, focus on units and customer acquisition. Its objectives are short-term and more measurable than marketing. Often the department stipulates monthly goals to meet the desired sales numbers and works with the marketing team to increase yearly revenues.
Take a look at this image:
It is a screenshot from a blog post written by Joshua Fields Millburn on The Minimalists.
Here, he has used affiliated marketing to promote BlueHost using an educational article. If a reader pursues the link, they likely would be interested in acquiring the BlueHost hosting services.
As you click on the link, the below shown offer will appear. That’s where the sales job begins.
The sales team’s aim here is to persuade a qualified lead into buying their plan. They have dangled a 30 day money-back guarantee as a negotiation tactic to gain a customer.
A curious visitor might abandon the page, but an SQL would positively ponder over the proposal.
A buyer goes through various stages before they make the purchase.
These stages are divided between the marketing and sales departments, where both take a separate approach to reaching their audience.
Let me explain it with an example.
Suppose, during a shopping excursion, you noticed a pair of leather boots on the display rack and felt an immediate impulse to buy. As you made a beeline towards the shoes, you hesitated for a moment at the price tag, wondering whether the shoes were worth it, after all. The shop owner, finding a prospect, will quickly regale you with the item’s praise to encourage you to take the offer.
You purchase the shoes and go about your way until you receive a message a week later informing you of a 50% sale.
Everything on display, from the shop structure, racks, product placement, is a marketing tactic to attract potential customers. And your interaction with the shop owner and follow-up discount message sums up the sales procedure.
Ecommerce stores, lacking a physical presence, instead take multiple approaches to promote and sell their items.
Observe Zappos’ Instagram posts.
Just as brick-and-mortar seek prime space to increase their visibility, Zappos depends entirely on social media marketing to attract traffic.
Once you visit the site, you’ll be bombarded with aggressive sales promotions and deals to further persuade your mind in favor of their items.
To cut the story short, a marketer subtly influences their leads decisions, while the sales approach is more direct.
3. Game Plan
A marketer typically creates pull strategies to reach their target audience. Their plan includes social media Ads, blog posts, Search Engine Optimization, influencer marketing, print media, or events.
For example; When I explored Wood Pegboard Shelf on Pinterest, I came upon this post.
Etsy is a handmade selling platform and employs a social media strategy to generate leads. As their products are mostly handmade, they operate a Pinterest account to advertise their brand. Since I love home decoration and prefer custom-made items, I often visit Pinterest and, thus, fit their target market.
Sales representatives devise strategies primarily to connect with qualified leads. They interact with prospects through in-person pitching, cold calling, and emailing. Moreover, they use selling methodologies like cross-selling to increase conversions.
To demonstrate a sales plan of action, let’s pick up our previous Etsy example.
After I discovered a perfect shop to buy a pegboard shelf on Etsy, the page suggested other items I may find interesting.
The recommendation is a cross-selling strategy. Companies opt for this approach to sell various products to their potential customers.
Succulently put, marketers and sales representatives might often borrow each other’s campaign methods, but their game plans are vastly different.
4. Target Audience
Technically, marketing and sales target the same audience, but the scope of their leads varies in size.
A marketer uses multiple mediums to capture a broad crowd.
The sales team limits its focus to site visitors and customers only.
Say, if 100 people explored your website daily, statistically, 56 would be merely curious leads. 40 might be interested in your product, and hardly three would convert into paying customers.
Marketing campaigns attract those 100 generic leads to identify the 40 MQL (marketing qualified leads). The sales team put all their energy into 40 MQL to grab the three gems.
Their separate targets allow them to customize their strategies accordingly.
Tools to Help You Align Your Marketing and Sales Goals
Sales and marketing software saves time, eases communication, and improves your work quality. They efficiently develop harmony between both departments and help you keep everyone in the loop to avoid mishaps.
Here, I am leaving you with the four popular tools you might want to check out.
Nutshell is a CRM platform that offers many actions to align sales and marketing operations.
Its basic features consist of email marketing, sales automation, content management, customer support, and performance analysis. Additionally, it provides unlimited space.
Most find it extremely user-friendly, and nearly 25,000 run this Nutshell.
If you own a small business, this might be the best option for you.
For a mid-size organization, Insightly is an excellent tool.
It keeps all your customer data in one place and has decent marketing and sales automation options. Customization flexibility also makes it easier for you to track a buyer’s journey.
You can sync your Google account and move sheets using the drag-and-drop feature.
That said, there’s a possibility you may not like the project management layout. But if you can overlook it, I suggest trying it.
Think of HubSpot as an all-in-one tool.
The platform provides visually appealing sales management, email tracking, marketing automation, and integration.
It may appear slightly complex, but HubSpot has tons of tutorials to get you started. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll maneuver it effortlessly.
Since Hubspot extends a freemium plan, it’s a great platform for small companies. Furthermore, it offers other sales and marketing software you can link to your CRM.
Gong may still appear relatively new, but it has gained tremendous popularity because of its unique approach.
Gong is a smart tool that not only provides a space for monitoring your sales team but delivers insight into their performance.
The technology uses artificial intelligence to record, transcribe, and analyze your calls. The resulting states help you detect areas for improvement.
To put it simply, Gong will take your data, evaluate your performance with industry experts, and share results to devise what you can do to increase your sales. It’s an amazing feature you will probably not find in a CRM.
If you are a midsize company, you should give Gong.io a try.
Explore all four tools and select one suited to your business nature.