Sales and marketing are two vital components for growing a successful business. If management doesn’t put careful consideration into how they’ll use both effectively, it isn’t likely to stick around for very long. In order to create a fruitful strategy for each of the two, you need to have a clear differentiation between them.
Unfortunately, this can be a challenge due to the fact that sales and marketing are often used interchangeably, when in reality they are very different and will require their own plan of action, especially today. Let’s take a closer look at their distinct characteristics when it comes to creating your strategies, and how the two need to be used together effectively.
How are Sales and Marketing Strategies Different?
To derive effective strategies for your sales and marketing activities, you’ll first need a clear understanding on how they differ. Let’s assume you’re starting from scratch:
A marketing strategy is created in order to set out exactly who your target audience is, how you plan on reaching those potential customers and encourage them to buy your product or service. This can involve a wide range of different techniques, depending on the type of marketing, inbound or outbound. A good strategy will often be a combination of the two.
The inbound marketing approach essentially revolves around attracting potential customers, as opposed to reaching out to them yourself. It utilises things like social media, mailing list opt-ins, SEO, pay-per-click, and content marketing, e.g. blogging. It’s usually the cheaper option of the two, but undoubtedly can be more time-consuming for things like crafting content and waiting to build a substantial list.
Outbound marketing tries to reach potential customers directly, instead of hoping they’ll come to you. It involves methods such as direct mail, email and cold calling campaigns, radio, TV, and newspaper ads. While this is the more traditional of the two methods, it can often yield good results, especially in the case of email marketing, particularly if you’re a new business or targeting a new market. For example, if you decide to expand into Hong Kong, you could use a Hong Kong company database to find new B2B leads, including their phone and email details.
Your sales strategy, in comparison to marketing, should be more focused on individual consumers or companies, instead of a wide audience. Therefore, it needs to be better tailored to the needs and preferences of those you’re trying to convert into paying customers.
Your sales team will usually get to work on leads that have been qualified by the marketing department, although they may also choose to do the scoring themselves. In order to be as efficient and productive as possible, it’s incredibly important to have clear and realistic targets for your sales team, as well as solid rules for how they should approach the selling process.
How Sales and Marketing Work Together
In order to have the greatest chance at targeting potential customers effectively, the marketing and sales teams need to work together effectively. There are several parts of the process where this is most important.
Creating Buyer Profiles
Having an in-depth understanding of who is your ideal customer is essential. It allows you to identify the right leads to follow up on. When it comes to creating content, that should result in interactions with your brand.
The marketing and sales teams need to work together to establish who you should be targeting. Both departments can offer useful data and insights here, such as engagement rates from marketing, or sales explaining who is making the highest value purchases.
Once you have your buyer profiles in place, your marketing team can then effectively qualify leads. In order to do so, they should look at things like age, location, income, lifestyle, etc., or in the case of B2B, industry, revenue, years in operation, company size and so on.
It will then be down to the marketing team to fill the sales pipeline with as many qualified leads as possible, in order to give the sales team better chances at winning a sale, with less wasted time as a result.
Tailoring the Approach
Team effort is also required when it comes to ensuring that you’re targeting your potential customers in the most effective way possible.
For the marketing department, it’s vital that they know more about the target market in order to come up with appealing content, and often-used keywords and phrases. It also helps them to decide which channels are going to be the best for reaching your audience.
On the sales end, your team will need to know the right way to approach prospects in order to engage them better. There’s definitely no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to sales; different types of people (and their companies) will have different pain points.
The marketing department can help with more in-depth information about each lead, including the types of interaction they’ve had with them so far.
Ensuring a Smooth Transition
In order to keep the hand-off from marketing to sales as smooth as possible, you should make sure that the process is documented. Whenever a qualified lead is sent from marketing to sales, it’s a good idea to have a record that can easily be accessed if needed.
Using a CRM tool is a very good idea for this purpose, as it allows all parts of the buyer journey documented in one place. It also means that both the sales and marketing team can have access to the customer information, keeping both teams on the same page.
Knowing the difference between a sales strategy and a marketing strategy is essential if you’re looking to develop each of them effectively.
Ultimately they should be used together to ensure that useful insights are shared between teams, to identify the right audience segment(s) and tailor the approach method.