Sales vs Marketing

Marketing is the art of creating genuine customer value (Philip Kotler). Hence, marketing analysis, marketing thinking, and marketing decisions cannot rest upon the shoulders of just one department. Plus marketing theories that work in one context may not work in another. (Julian Villanueva). Anthony Palmer, President of Global Brands & Innovation, Kimberly-Clark Corporation: your role is to sell more stuff to more people for more money more often. That has to be the ultimate goal. You also have to inspire the organization to take calculated risks, and inspire the organization to love winning more than they are afraid of losing.

The best thing a marketer can do is understand what the sales team needs from them.

The best way to create sales content that actually gets used is to look at previous results. What are reps using the most? What assets are never used and why? Look at analytics to see which pieces of content are moving the needle and receiving positive feedback. And if you can, listen to sales call recordings to hear for yourself which messages work best.

From here, focus on new content that emulates previously used content, and continue to update it. That creates an easy transition for sales teams and less time spent on onboarding.

By encouraging more consolidation and collaboration, you can create relevant content that sales reps can quickly and intuitively learn.

As your functions become better aligned, it’s important to create opportunities for marketers and salespeople to work together. This will make them more familiar with each other’s ways of thinking and acting. It’s useful for marketers, particularly brand managers and researchers, to occasionally go along on sales calls. They should get involved with developing alternate solutions for customers, early in the sales process. And they should also sit in on important account-planning sessions. Salespeople, in turn, should help to develop marketing plans and should sit in on product-planning reviews. They should preview ad and sales-promotion campaigns. They should share their deep knowledge about customers’ purchasing habits. Jointly, marketers and salespeople should generate a playbook for expanding business with the top ten accounts in each market segment. They should also plan events and conferences together.

Sales and marketing are business functions that share a common goal: to attract prospects and convert them to customers, ultimately generating revenue.

There are a few general differences between marketing and sales.

  • The difference between marketing and sales lies in how close you are to converting a potential customer to an actual customer.
  • Marketing focuses its efforts on the general public or larger groups of people, while sales targets smaller groups of people or subsets of the general public.
  • Marketing departments are responsible for communicating how the product fills customers’ needs and wants. 
  • Sales often involve interpersonal interaction that persuades a lead to become a customer. Most of the time, these leads have been driven to you via marketing efforts. 
  • If your sales and marketing teams are in different departments, those departments must communicate in order to be effective. 

Companies with strong sales and marketing alignment get 20% greater annual revenue growth. One of the most critical steps to aligning your sales and marketing efforts is creating a service level agreement (SLA). 


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