While many of the largest businesses have separate sales and marketing departments, even those businesses often fail to understand the vast difference between the two. In some cases, even sales and marketing departments themselves can misunderstand their own roles.
This can lead to a number of conflicts and headaches, not to mention a failure of both departments to achieve their goals. In order for sales and marketing departments to work smoothly and seamlessly together, it is important for businesses to establish clear protocols for each.
Here are three areas to focus on to help your sales and marketing departments each do their best work.
Clear communication is important for both your sales and marketing departments to each have both a clear mission and a clear division of labor. Sales and marketing are often thought of as being one thing, but they are actually two very different tasks that sometimes can actually seem at odds with each other.
Marketing is first and foremost about establishing a relationship with a client or potential customer or consumer, while sales is about closing the deal. Both, however, should be focused first and foremost on determining what the needs of the client or consumer are and how to meet them.
Perhaps one of the biggest obstacles to a smooth relationship between sales and marketing is when one makes promises the other can’t live up to.
In order to ensure a smooth, symbiotic relationship between sales and marketing, it is important to ensure they are both on the same page, both pursuing the same end goals and both being realistic about what their product or service genuinely has to offer.
Technology can go a long way towards helping to create a smooth symbiosis between sales and marketing. From chat apps to project management apps, technology can help build a solid bridge between the two departments. Technology can also help automate a number of tasks to help keep the relationship flowing smoothly.
From auto-scheduling weekly meetings to automatically looping in key individuals on e-mails and other important communications, technology can help keep everyone on the same page and keep projects running smoothly.
When marketing is working on a new marketing campaign, apps and services like Evernote or even Google Drive can give sales the opportunity to offer valuable input and feedback as the campaign develops and takes shape.
Instead of marketing rolling out a new campaign that takes sales totally by surprise, they can actually gain invaluable input and feedback every step of the way. While this can, of course, be challenging, in the end it means that marketing can be sure they are rolling out campaigns that have the full, enthusiastic support of their sales department.
While sales and marketing are often thought of as being two sides of the same coin – and in many ways they are – there is another department that should in fact be considered part of a triad.
Customer service. Perhaps one of the biggest difficulties with sales and marketing is that in many cases they are actually fully disconnected from the actual customer.
The role of marketing is to build and establish a relationship with potential clients and consumers before they are a customer. In many cases, marketing may have absolutely no contact or interaction with potential clients or consumers at all.
The role of sales is to turn a potential client or customer into an actual, legitimate client or customer. Once they have done so, however, they often have little to no further interaction. The people that actually have to deal with the client or consumer – and very often the fallout from the sales and marketing departments is the customer service department.
When sales or marketing makes promises they can’t deliver on or when the product or service fails to meet the expectations of the consumer that they created, it is customer service that has to deal with it. This is why it is of critical importance for sales and marketing to both take into account the aftermath of their actions or interactions with clients and consumers right from the start.
The goal of sales and marketing should not just be to sell a single product, it should be to create a long-term relationship with them. When the efforts of sales and marketing lead to unhappy clients and consumers, it is the customer service department that has to clean up the mess. Therefore, sale and marketing both need to always be taking the end game into account in all of their efforts and endeavors.
One of the most critical factors in uniting your sales and marketing teams is to be crystal clear about the roles of each. There should be a very firm delineation between where marketing ends and sales begins.
In addition, your sales team should have an active role in creating marketing campaigns and materials. After all, it is your sales team that will have to work directly with your clients or consumers, not your marketing team.
And once your sales team is done, your customer service team will have to deal with any issue brought about by your sales team. In truth, sales, marketing and customer service should all be working together to create one smooth, seamless customer experience.
BIO: Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie enjoys reading about the latest apps and gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows. You can reach him @bmorepeters