Marketing and sales differ greatly, but have the same goal. Selling is the final stage in Marketing, which also includes Pricing, Promotion, Place and Product (the 4 P’s). A marketing department in an organization has the goals of increasing the desirability and value to the customer and increasing the number and engagement of interactions between potential customers and the organization. Achieving this goal may involve the sales team using promotional techniques such as advertising, sales promotion, publicity, and public relations, creating new sales channels, or creating new products (new product development), among other things. It can also include bringing the potential customer to visit the organization’s website(s) for more information, or to contact the organization for more information, or to interact with the organization via social media such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs. Social values also play a major role in consumer decision processes.
The field of sales process engineering views “sales” as the output of a larger system, not just as the output of one department. The larger system includes many functional areas within an organization. From this perspective, “sales” and “marketing” (among others, such as “customer service”) label for a number of processes whose inputs and outputs supply one another to varying degrees. In this context, improving an “output” (such as sales) involves studying and improving the broader sales process, as in any system, since the component functional areas interact and are interdependent.
Most large corporations structure their marketing departments in a similar fashion to sales departments and the managers of these teams must coordinate efforts in order to drive profits and business success. For example, an “inbound” focused campaign seeks to drive more customers “through the door”, giving the sales department a better chance of selling their product to the consumer. A good marketing program would address any potential downsides as well.
The sales department would aim to improve the interaction between the customer and the sales facility or mechanism (example, web site) and/or salesperson. Sales management would break down the selling process and then increase the effectiveness of the discrete processes as well as the interaction between processes. For example, in many out-bound sales environments, the typical process includes out-bound calling, the sales pitch, handling objections, opportunity identification, and the close. Each step of the process has sales-related issues, skills, and training needs, as well as marketing solutions to improve each discrete step, as well as the whole process.
One further common complication of marketing involves the inability to measure results for a great deal of marketing initiatives. In essence, many marketing and advertising executives often lose sight of the objective of sales/revenue/profit, as they focus on establishing a creative/innovative program, without concern for the top or bottom lines – a fundamental pitfall of marketing for marketing’s sake.
Many companies find it challenging to get marketing and sales on the same page. The two departments, although different in nature, handle very similar concepts and have to work together for sales to be successful. Building a good relationship between the two that encourages communication can be the key to success – even in a down economy.