The relationship between marketing and sales ain’t what it used to be.
So what’s the difference between the two?
- Marketing attracts leads and gathers knowledge about your prospects.
- Sales is what convinces those leads to buy, or ‘convert’. It traditionally took over once a business knew a prospect existed.
But here’s where things start getting a little confusing. Thanks to the growth of online platforms and the level of information they offer, the role of sales has changed drastically. Take buying a car. 20+ years ago, you might have walked into a dealership with a vague idea of what you were after. You stepped onto a showroom floor and asked, “what can you tell me about the cars you have available“.
Today, before you even think about going to a dealership, you’ve compared multiple vehicles and know exactly what model and year you’re after, and the price range you can expect to pay for it. You’ve figured out the aftermarket accessories you want and know a handful of places offering them at competitive rates. You’ve read independent reviews about the good and bad features of the car. Now you’re walking into a dealership asking “can I test drive the black 2021 Mach 1 Mustang and find out if I qualify for the financing promotion on your website?“
Where once the salesperson was educating prospects, now that’s done via marketing. For example, one way we start fleshing out a website structure is using a ‘they ask; you answer‘ methodology. What are your target’s biggest questions, and how can your website content answer them.
Sales may not be such a cut and dry approach in e-commerce where customer contact can be entirely automated, but the sales role will always be an important one for more complex and expensive products.
Information is vital. Salespeople (or anyone with a customer-facing role in the business) are afforded critical pieces of intel that marketers aren’t. Marketers think high-level for large audiences, sales get to know prospects and customers on the individual level. They know the frequently asked questions. It’s this information that marketers need to fuel their process. Greater collaboration between the two results in a shorter conversion process, as well as more conversions.