At Leighton, we’ve got a really strong presence in both sales and marketing. But last year, we decided to merge our two teams. Still being seen as two separate machines but working more closely enables us to promote our brand, sell our services and build relationships. And from there, we quickly saw how sales and marketing go hand in hand when working as a team throughout the sales process.
Any company needs to know the difference between two departments when they decide to merge them. They need to be developed separately as they have different work styles and tones. If we broke it down to the basics, marketing is everything that you do to reach and persuade potential clients and the sales process is everything that you do to close the sale and get a signed agreement or contract. Both are necessities to the success of a business. You cannot do without either process. If you work to strategically to combine both efforts you should see a successful amount of business growth.
So, what’s the difference?
Marketing is what some people would see as the ‘fluffy’ side of the process. Making things look nice, using buzzwords and writing for writing's sake. But it’s not, it’s about strategic thinking, audience segmentation and specific messaging. Marketing is the first step in the sales process. How would someone know who you were if you didn't promote your brand? Surely you’d be more inclined to buy something from a reputable, well known brand. It’s all how how you present yourself and maximise what you’ve got.
At the start of the process, the sales team are on the sidelines, waiting to jump in on potential leads and grow the relationship. But once they have their time to shine, they don’t disappoint. The sales team take over from marketing and help to build the initial relationship with potential clients, learn to understand their needs and ultimately close deals.
How do you encourage them to work together?
One of most important things is communication between teams. Everyone needs to know what each other is working on, where you’re at in the sales process and any problems or issues. Both teams need integrated KPI’s to help each other reach their business goals. Both sides need to be aware of how the marketing team are choosing to sell and promote the brand, to maintain consistency, avoid confusion with clients or diminish their trust in you. Sales should be making sales and marketing should be creating campaigns and materials to make the sales process easier.
What are the benefits?
While the merging of two teams is mainly beneficial for the company, it’s also a great opportunity for employees to learn and grow. Sales and marketing bounce off each other when working closely together, to ultimately create the best customer service they can. Both sides tend to have completely different personalities and work ethics, which gives any project many different viewpoints and increases employee development.
Quality of Content
Marketers are best known for their ability to create content. Content is king after all. But having a sales focus on the marketing messages makes it easier to target potential clients, especially when you’re targeting a number of business sectors. The sales team can feed in pain points and common problems for your audience, so the marketing team can create personalised content.
Aligning sales and marketing enables them to work together to ensure the marketing team only capture the most valuable leads and that the sales side of things fully address them all so that none get wasted. This saves on time and resources previously wasted on dead-end leads and increases efficiency.