When your sales are down, you invest more in marketing to fix the problem, right? Promoting your product more attracts more audience, which results in higher sales. So, wouldn’t it make sense to say that your marketing and sales departments do the same job virtually? Not exactly!
Marketing and sales services, although adjacent and similar, are vastly different. They benefit from each other and their cooperation but are not the same. This is why it is important to do a marketing research process.
Is this useful information or just trivia?
Well, you be the one to decide; however, it’s undeniable that you can drastically increase your revenue by understanding the differences and how these two fields complement each other. Here’s what you need to know about the difference between marketing and sales services.
What is marketing?
While it’s relatively easy to understand sales, the marketing part has most people confused. People usually believe that the job of closing sales should also be extended to marketing or that the marketing goals are far beyond where they currently are.
What is marketing?
According to the definition, marketing is the process of developing, promoting, and distributing products.
What is a sales team?
The definition of the sales team is that it’s a department responsible for meeting the sales goals of an organization.
The marketing department/agency and the sales team would ideally work hand-in-hand.
So, what is the goal of marketing for most businesses?
While the primary goal of marketing is to increase revenue generation, it has to rely on the sales team to complete this. Sure, your marketing team will persuade some people to buy directly, but these customers are often referred to as qualified leads or low-hanging fruits.
Generally speaking, most businesses would benefit from the cooperation between a trusted marketing agency and an efficient sales team.
The first difference between marketing and sales services lies in their end goal.
Usually, marketing aims to attract new customers, which does so via a slow approach, fixating on the customer lifecycle. This is a principle according to which customers cautiously approach new brands instead of just buying from them as soon as they get in touch.
As such, it’s the role of marketing to guide the customers through the brand recognition and brand awareness process and gradually increase trust.
The first objective, however, is to make people hear of you. This is why the starting objective of marketing is to spread the word around and drive traffic.
Once they become familiar with your brand, your sales team can persuade them to buy. In other words, your sales team’s job is to convert the leads into customers but to have these leads; they need a reliable marketing team.
This is also why your marketing and sales plans must work together.
Regarding the process itself, sales have a more direct approach.
While marketing gives its best to profile its audience and analyze their online behavior, it’s casting a much wider net.
Your sales team, on the other hand, assumes a one-on-one approach. It targets specific leads and makes them more willing to buy.
The problem is that, as a salesperson, you don’t have the luxury of getting to know every single lead. This is why you need to rely on the profiling gathered by your marketing team. Their analysis of the market and pricing strategies will help you craft the USP (unique sales proposition) that will work most of the time.
Both sales and a marketing plan heavily rely on the rule of big numbers. While not all your customers buy your products for the same reasons, most of them are persuaded by your USP. It’s down to your marketing to determine what the USP is and to lure in the leads with promises that it’s worth it. Past this, it’s down to your sales team to wrap up the conversion process.
This USP will also help you stand out in the generic market. It is sometimes hard to understand and define generic markets because, as an insider, you’re biased toward your product. You understand why it’s a better choice, but finding a way to present this to the audience is not as simple. This is where experienced marketers can help.
So, if we had to generalize broadly, we could say that marketing is more data-driven while sales are more personalized. Therefore, people with different traits and backgrounds usually excel in these fields. An analytical mind is more valuable in marketing, while in sales, your networking abilities, empathy, and being a people person, in general, are invaluable.
The sales team focuses on revenue and sales targets. They’ve done their job as long as they’ve fulfilled their sales targets. With marketing, KPIs are a bit more difficult to track.
The problem with marketing KPIs is that they don’t directly translate into revenue. Increasing traffic will increase revenue, but the same traffic increase won’t always result in the same revenue increase. This is probably the biggest difference between marketing and sales services. The effect of sales services is easier to quantify.
Marketing agencies sometimes have communication problems with their clients. Take, for instance, an example of SEO. The job of an SEO team is to make your pages rank better. A better SEO rank will indirectly increase your traffic and sales, but it’s not a job of an SEO team to drive your sales.
Some clients get disappointed in SEO marketing because their revenue hasn’t increased as much since they hired them, but increasing revenue was never their job. If your rank increases, your pages rank better, which drives more traffic, and they’ve done their job. If you fail to convert this increased traffic into increased revenue, this is down to your sales team.
If the client struggles to understand what is the responsibility of marketing and sales teams, they’re bound to be left disappointed.
Different target and process duration
Marketers target as many people as they can. Sales teams work with individuals or small groups. These two fields’ targets and scope are huge from the start.
Whether discussing B2B or B2C marketing, the marketing and sales plans are fundamentally different, marketing fixates on demographics, while sales focus on individual instances of conversion.
Another thing worth mentioning is that most sales representatives focus on short-term sales, while marketers play the long game. From the moment a salesperson contacts you, it’s their objective to make you buy. Once you buy, they’ve fulfilled their task (even though their job is not done).
A marketer acknowledges that building trust takes time. Brand recognition comes before brand awareness, and brand awareness comes before or during the purchase.
Where these two fields converge is in the post-sale stage. You see, about 20% of your most loyal customers make as much as 80% of your profit. These people are inexpensive to convert (again), and the process is fairly simple. If marketers do what they can to keep the relationship positive, salespeople will have an easier job of post-sale follow-up.
Eventually, the value of each return purchase will increase, which will make the sales team project successful. Moreover, a great purchasing experience is more likely to turn buyers into brand ambassadors. This is how the sales team can benefit the marketing, again testifying about co-dependency between marketing and sales services.
Difference in priority
Most importantly, there’s a difference in priority. Marketing is better at seeing the bigger picture. You see, it’s their job to create a loyal audience in the long run. Marketers understand that return customers are profitable and that these long-term relationships take time to build.
Moreover, they’re interested in building a sense of community, which might make their customers exclusive to their brand. Think of iPhone users. Here, the device becomes a part of your identity; you promote it to everyone else (without being sponsored by the brand), and switching to the other team becomes impossible.
On the other hand, the sales team is concerned with closing a sale. Customers’ long-term value is important, but their current sales goals are usually so close that they don’t have the luxury of considering the second or fifth purchase.
Also, the sales team’s role is to maximize the offer’s value, which is why upselling and cross-selling are common strategies.
Both are product-oriented
One field in which these two teams do converge is orientation. Both are product-oriented. Still, even this can come from different places.
For marketing, it’s all about telling a story. Marketing sales and services focus on making the customer-centric narrative. They create a story in which the customer is the protagonist that faces a problem. Here, their product is the solution to the problem.
Sales and marketing teams usually use the same arguments. However, the sales team focuses on strategies like solution-selling, inbound selling, SPIN, SNAP, or N.E.A.T., selling. Overall, while they use different strategies, both focus on the product.
In the end, while marketing is made to drive sales, its endpoint is customer awareness and audience attraction. From here, some audience members will immediately become customers, while others may convert to qualified leads. From here, the sales team takes over, and their endpoint is selling the product.
Marketing increases revenue, but it usually does so indirectly. This is why tracking other KPIs (rather than just revenue increase) is worth tracking. Audience increases, brand mentions, SEO rank, social media reach, and conversion cost are some KPIs worth considering.
In other words, you need both marketing and sales services to maximize your product’s value.