There are a lot of different perspectives about marketing and sales. Whether they are separate functions, the same function, or how they work together can become tricky to decipher. At the same time, while the ultimate goal is conversions, it can be hard to attribute efforts solely to one of these functions.
Can Marketing Ever Be Sales?
Yes. There are different types of organizations where marketing is sales. For ecommerce, they are one and the same. For ecommerce business that is selling everything 100% online, then marketing is sales. And some only have certain aspects of their business that are completely online.
In this article, we’re going to look at how sales and marketing are alike, how they are different, and how they help each other.
How are sales and marketing the same?
1. Sales and Marketing Are All About Numbers
In order to sell a product or service, you have to get in front of enough people. Both sales and marketing are about meeting your audience where they’re at when they need you. There are different levels of both the marketing funnel and the sales funnel but they go hand in hand to move the customer journey through your buying process. Each part of these funnels delivers numbers and that data can be used to enhance the sales and marketing processes.
For salespeople, it’s a matter of having enough quality leads to go after. Marketing is needed to continue the process of bringing in qualified leads to the funnel. The end goal is always to narrow down those leads and turn them into sales or conversions. Customers often aren’t ready to buy right away and need more time or more information. There are lots of numbers between both marketing and sales when it comes to the numbers that make these functions very similar.
2. Sales and Marketing Require Strategic Targeting
Sales and marketing both have to consider how to target their audience. From the marketing perspective, there are many types of demographic audience targeting, geographical targeting, platform targeting, and more. For those in a direct sales role, oftentimes, they become their own marketing department and have to target customers through one-on-one relationships. It is always a matter of figuring out where to go to get customers. Both sales and marketing have to also adapt their messaging and language to target their audience. The process of narrowing down what works becomes more and more refined as data is collected but for both sales and marketing, targeting is very important.
3. Sales and Marketing Must Overcome Objections
A major role of both sales and marketing is to overcome objections. Once you have a potential customer’s attention they are in your funnel. Moving them through the sales process is about clearly presenting the reasons they should say “yes!” to your product or service. Some of the things that sales and marketing can do that help overcome objections include:
Having credibility through a strong web presence
Defining who your brand is and what it’s about
Showing the value of the product or service
Explaining why it’s better than competitors
Through customer testimonials
It’s important to show customers why they should want your product or service, or why they need it! Objections are a good thing because they help both sales and marketing do the job of showing customers value.
4. Sales and Marketing Need Clear, Creative Messaging
Both sales and marketing need to work on the messaging of their product or service. The words and specific language used to describe your brand, products, or services make a big difference. This may seem obvious for marketing, and at times branding can be taken to extremes, but there is the psychology behind it. And when done well, it works!
Having creative and consistent language throughout marketing not only differentiates your brand but clarifies specifics. Marketing and sales have to use language that considers different perspectives and will work with their audience. When clear, creative messaging is carried throughout the marketing and sales processes, customers know what to expect.
5. Sales and Marketing Are Responsible for Revenue
Sales and marketing have goals to achieve revenue success. It’s obvious how sales are responsible for revenue. However, marketing is just as responsible for revenue as sales are. Marketing drives qualified leads to sales teams. All the parts of the funnel have to work together and generating revenue is the ultimate goal. For those in ecommerce, the relationship is more direct. But for every business, driving leads, filling the funnel, and closing deals are what sales and marketing both have to pay attention to in order to complete the revenue cycle.
How are sales and marketing different?
1. Sales and Marketing Focus on Different Parts of the Funnel
Marketing is heavily focused at the beginning of the funnel, or at the top. The goal is to make people aware of the product or service. While marketing also brings leads in throughout the funnel they’re constantly coming up with creative strategies to keep their audience interested. They have to move customers through to the bottom of the funnel so sales can do their job.
A high percentage of online sales are made before consumers ever get to a sales representative. This is because customers are doing their research and the inbound marketing is working. Sales are almost always at the very end of the process, or bottom of the funnel.
2. Sales and Marketing Have Different Audience Sizes
With marketing, the audience is larger. Marketers are trying to reel in their audience and sometimes that group of people can be large.
For those sales, it’s usually a one-to-one conversation. The customer relationship for sales is more on a personal or a much smaller scale.
3. Marketing is Not Always Purely About Selling
While marketing and sales can be one and the same, the goal of marketing is not just about selling. It is also about providing information and a positive experience. While there is some overlap, marketing involves brand awareness, customer service, follow-up, communications, and more.
As an example, after somebody has bought, it may be the role of marketing to provide communications to ensure the customer is enjoying their product or service. While every organization has different processes and marketing needs, keep in mind that marketing is about sales, but it’s not only about sales.
4. Sales and Marketing Often Use Different Metrics
The data and metrics that marketing and sales pay attention to is usually completely different. This goes back to the first difference, where sales and marketing focus on different parts of the funnel. The different metrics tell each function what is working and what’s not.
5. Marketing Has Creative and Budgets to Manage
There is some marketing that doesn’t cost money online or offline to place. But there are still the efforts of the marketing team to provide meaningful content that will attract those organic leads. With paid media, marketing teams are managing the creative for the ads but they are also managing ad budgets. And sometimes there are large ad budgets that can be divided differently to get in front of more people.
Ultimately, while sales and marketing are the same in many ways and different in many ways, they have to work together. Sales and marketing help each other!
Marketing and sales need to be part of each other and there needs to be constant communication between them. They should always work to collaborate and get better. Sales cycles can be much shorter because of digital marketing. These two very important functions have to work together to keep business flowing and maintain happy customers.