What’s the Difference Between Sales and Marketing Strategies?

What’s the Difference Between Sales and Marketing Strategies?

What’s the Difference Between Sales and Marketing Strategies?

The goal of every business is to sell something to someone. Whether it’s a product, service, or information, the business has something that it provides to its customers, for a price. For that reason, it seems like the point of sales strategies and marketing strategies are the same—to sell that thing. But in reality, the purposes, goals, and methods of sales and marketing strategies differ, by necessity.   What is the difference between sales and marketing strategies, and why does that matter to your company? 

What is the purpose of marketing strategies?

Marketing is what you do to reach potential future customers. It can be outbound marketing, which entails pushing your product/service/message to your audience through things like advertising, or inbound marketing, which includes bringing people in through content strategy and search engine ranking. At any rate, marketing’s purpose is to get your information in front of possible clients. To accomplish those things, marketing teams strive to:

  • Reach target audiences through various forms of marketing, including social media, PPC, content, and more, tailored to those audiences’ unique needs.
  • Provide visitors and prospects with information about your company’s products and services that is tailored to their stage of the buyer’s journey, their goals and challenges, and their specific pain points.
  • Provide the sales team with marketing qualified leads (MQLs).
  • Analyze and evaluate marketing efforts for effectiveness and return on investment (ROI).
  • Provide reports and analytics on the ROI of marketing efforts to relevant stakeholders.

What are the goals of marketing strategies?

As you can see, the goal of the marketing strategy isn’t to make sales. Particularly in the B2B world, there aren’t many cases of a person seeing an ad and deciding then and there to buy. Instead, it’s to reach potential customers and raise their awareness of your products, services, and company, and the benefits of all of those to them.

Marketing practices are designed to support sales, but not make them, necessarily. This is because not every visitor to your website or company in your target market is a good fit for your company/product/service. This could be true for a variety of reasons, such as they’re not far enough along the buyer’s journey to make a decision, their budget, or their pain points.  Leads that aren’t a good fit, for whatever reason, aren’t leads—they’re a waste of your sales team’s time. Click To Tweet

They’re not going to answer calls or email, and they’re going to (pun very much intended) lead you on. Good marketing filters out those bad prospects and provides the sales team with leads that are vetted, a.k.a, MQLs.

What is the purpose of sales strategies?

It seems like the goal of any sales strategy is pretty straightforward: make sales. While that is a goal, sales strategies are so much more complicated than that. Sales teams are tasked with managing relationships with prospective customers and guiding them to a purchase decision. In order to do that, sales teams must:

  • Connect with leads and prospects through various sales practices, including quote requests, pitches, demos, etc.
  • Provide prospects and leads with information relevant to their pain points and needs that helps them make a decision about purchasing your company’s products or services.
  • Determine whether marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are ready or eligible to become sales qualified leads (SQLs).
  • Guide new clients through the purchase process.
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Why do sales and marketing strategies need to align?

Because if they don’t, you’re wasting time, money, and resources. You’re going to have a low ROI on both your sales and marketing efforts, and you’re going to be missing out on potential leads, sales, and revenue.

Your company needs alignment of its sales and marketing strategies to be truly effective. In fact, according to Hubspot, misalignment between marketing and sales can cost companies 10 percent of revenue per year, or more If you consider the goals of marketing and sales strategies, even though they’re different, they’re in support of a bigger, common goal: increasing revenue. Click To Tweet   Aligning sales and marketing strategies can result in 36 percent higher customer retention, 38 percent higher sales win rates, and up to 208 percent more revenue from marketing efforts.

How do sales and marketing strategies work together?

How exactly your sales and marketing teams begin working together and collaborating on strategy is going to be unique to your situation. 

Sales and marketing alignment looks different for a company with already established in-house sales and marketing teams than for a company with no marketing team at all (or no marketing team, yet—we can help with that!) or for a company with sales and marketing teams spread out across various locations.

To align your sales and marketing efforts, communication between your sales and marketing teams is crucial. This ensures that sales has input on the kinds of marketing content that will be useful, that common goals are created, and that everyone is speaking the same language and understanding each other’s terminology. 

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Marketing and Sales Alignment Strategies That Cut Time and Boost Growth

Marketing and Sales Alignment Strategies That Cut Time and Boost Growth

Marketing and Sales Alignment Strategies That Cut Time and Boost Growth

You know that old saying, “work smarter, not harder”? It’s safe to say that’s an idea we can all get behind. No one wants to spend hours of their day working on a project that won’t produce results.

Unfortunately, in the case of many businesses who do not have aligned sales and marketing teams, the concept of working harder on projects that might not ever see the light of day is an everyday reality.

In fact, misalignment between sales and marketing teams has been shown to cost B2B companies 10% or more of their revenue every year.

This SlideShare from The TAS Group states, “lost sales productivity and wasted marketing budget costs companies at least $1 trillion a year.”

Both of those stats offer up compelling arguments for making a change to sales and marketing alignment. Beyond just saving your sales and marketing teams wasted effort and budget though, sales and marketing alignment can actually offer some benefits to your company, delivering pretty impressive returns when implemented properly:

Aligning your sales and marketing teams is one perfect example of working smarter, not harder.  When your sales and marketing teams are aligned, everyone does less work to obtain a higher quantity of better, more targeted clients. Then, you can allocate all of that additional time and energy into inbound marketing and sales strategies that you know will help your company generate revenue and grow.

So, how do you get there?

Sure, sales and marketing alignment sounds nice, but can you actually make it happen, and how much work will it take?

Honestly, it depends on your company.

If you already have both sales and marketing teams onsite, you can get started by just getting everyone in the same room every week or so. If you’re a larger company with sales and marketing teams that work remotely or on different campuses, it might take a bit more effort. And if your company doesn’t really have a marketing team, you could have a still longer road ahead of you. (Or, you can hire a marketing team to help you out. More info on that here.)

No matter where you are, aligning your sales and marketing teams will take work. But with a potential return of 208% more revenue, it should feel like the work is worth it. Click To Tweet

If you’re interested in aligning your marketing and sales teams to boost revenue and cut out wasted time, we support you. In fact, we’re going to give you six sales and marketing alignment strategies to help you do it. Check ’em out:

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Communicate

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: communication will always be the key to successful marketing and sales alignment. The first and best way to get your sales and marketing teams on the first page is to get them in the same room, chatting about their wins and challenges.

Too often, it feels like sales and marketing are pitted against each other. Sales isn’t happy about the quality of leads marketing is sending over, and marketing feels frustrated that sales didn’t follow up with all of the leads they’re sending over.

Getting your two teams in the same room is the first step to getting them to work together. Once you know what everyone is frustrated about, and also what they’re cool with, you can start making a little bit of headway towards alignment.

Consider Cross-Departmental Training or Shadowing

One great marketing and sales alignment strategy is to put each team in the others’ shoes for a day or even a week. When they have the opportunity to see how the other team works, what their day looks like, and what challenges they face regularly, they’ll be able to function together more efficiently.

We get that this is an easy way to disrupt your regular business flow, so start slow. Take one team member at a time, and have them shadow someone from the other team for an afternoon. Make sure the team members you choose are both excited about the potential benefits that alignment can provide, and you’ll find that both parties will learn something from the experience.

When the afternoon is up, your salesperson can report back to their team what they learned, and the marketing person can their team what struggles the sales team is having that they could help with.  

Encourage Sales Input on Content Development

According to Forbes, 60% of B2B content never gets used. Whether the sales team doesn’t feel like it fits their individual client’s pain points, or they don’t even know it exists, sales input is an invaluable resource when it comes to content development.

Your sales team has an intimate, one-on-one relationship with each buyer. They speak to them personally and they understand their specific, unique challenges and goals for the future. This alone should make them your marketing team’s number one resource for content development.  

If you’re not sure how to implement more sales input on marketing content development without seriously slowing down your publishing schedule, start by having the sales team take a look at your content calendar. (You do have a content calendar, right?)

They can tell you which content they’ll really be able to use, and offer a few key points to include for each upcoming post that will help you speak specifically to your target buyer’s challenges and goals.  

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Work Together To Establish A Common Language

Marketing and sales haven’t historically worked together all that much, especially in more traditional industries like manufacturing. Traditionally, marketing works to create brand awareness, get the word out there, and make sure everyone knows what your company has to offer. In that older business model, sales either take the leads that come in or (more likely) they go around looking for (read: cold calling) those perfect leads themselves.

This disjointed approach to sales and marketing as separate entities has fostered two different languages for both teams. They have different definitions of leads, they don’t have the same understanding of what makes a good lead, and they have fundamentally different goals.

Sales and marketing alignment strategies start by working to establish a common language that makes sense to both teams. Click To TweetWith that set in place, your marketing team can work to bring in the leads your sales team actually wants, and your sales team can focus their efforts on selling, rather than cold-calling.

To establish a common language that works for both teams, sales and marketing have to come up with the same definitions for these three things:

  • What A Lead Is
  • How You Score Leads
  • A Quality Service Level Agreement

 

What A Lead Is

It’s important that your sales and marketing teams both understand what makes a lead a good lead. And as you probably know, there are two types of leads: Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). It’s possible that you’ve even defined these in the past.

But have your sales and marketing teams defined them together?

Both marketing and sales should offer input on the definitions of MQLs and SQLs, so that both teams understand what qualifications are necessary for both lead types. One clear definition, for both teams, will help with the lead handoff process, and it will help both teams understand which leads and prospects need what specific service or lead nurturing content.

With a solid foundation in place, everyone can move forward more confidently towards a tight alignment between sales and marketing that cuts out wasted time and boosts revenue.

 

How You Score Leads

Traditionally, the sales team has developed a process for determining which leads might be more valuable to your company than others. This process is called lead scoring.

If your goal is to get sales and marketing teams aligned for better business growth, it’s important to have your marketing team in on the lead scoring calculation. They need to know what makes a lead most attractive to sales, and why.

With that information, marketing can determine which leads could use more nurturing through the marketing process, and they can better streamline their efforts to influence target buyers in the markets that offer the highest return. By bringing the marketing team into the lead scoring conversation, you help them understand what to look for in a quality lead that shows they are likely to close.

 

Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

One of the biggest killers of marketing sales alignment is unbalanced reporting and goals. Too often, the sales team feels like they’re under the microscope to close sales, and the marketing team feels that the sales team isn’t acting on all of the leads they’re passing along. A service level agreement, (SLA) is the solution to this reporting imbalance.

A Service Level Agreement is a sort of contract that helps clear up some of this misdirected pressure, while still holding both teams accountable to goals that further your company’s overall revenue and growth goals. For example, with a quality SLA, your marketing team may be responsible for delivering a certain number of quality leads each month. Then, your sales team may be responsible for converting a certain percentage of those quality leads each month.

This agreement makes it clear what each team is accountable for, while still framing it in the light of one overall company goal — to produce more revenue and long-lasting clients for the company by converting highly qualified leads.

Every company’s SLA will look a little different. What’s important is that you get the sales and marketing teams together to agree on an SLA that’s fair and contributes to your company’s growth goals. When both teams understand what they’re accountable for, and that accountability feels fair to both sides, you’ll get a lot more out of everyone.

Leverage Sales Enablement Tools

It’s easy to forget that the sales team can benefit from inbound methodology tools as much as your marketing team can. Many of your favorite marketing platforms and CRMs are designed to help your sales team as much as they are your marketing team.

Encourage your sales team to use tools like email sequences and CRMs that implement lead scoring systems for you. The information they put in the CRM, and the data they generate helps them make better selling decisions, and it offers valuable information for the marketing team to move forward and optimize with as well.

When your sales team is comfortable with enablement tools, it’s also easier for your them to reach out to marketing and ask for content that will help them close deals.

Case studies, whitepapers, and ebooks about your product or service are all assets that are traditionally created by marketing. When sales is empowered to ask specifically for the content they know will help them close deals, marketing can focus their efforts on just the content that sales knows will be powerful and impactful to your buyer personas.

And again, that’s an effort that cuts down on wasted time, while still promoting the targeted lead nurturing tasks that will help your company grow.

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Keep a Common Goal in Mind

Finally, one of the hands-down best sales and marketing alignment strategies is to set a common goal. Even though sales and marketing do different things and have different processes, they’re both on the same team. When they’re both working towards the same goal, it’s so much easier to see that they’re on the same team. Make that overarching goal clear to both teams, and you’ll see the results that marketing and sales alignment can deliver.

The more closely your sales and marketing teams are aligned, the more efficient your company will be in identifying qualified leads and closing deals. And when you close deals efficiently, you work smarter, and you grow.

If you’re looking for more sales and marketing alignment strategies, tools, or tricks, we’d love to help. As a digital marketing agency, we often align with B2B sales teams to promote overall company growth, and we also train companies with existing sales and marketing teams how to align for better results. To learn more about what we do, get in touch.

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How Hubspot Helps Align your Sales and Marketing Teams

How Hubspot Helps Align your Sales and Marketing Teams

How Hubspot Helps Align your Sales and Marketing Teams

Effective sales and marketing alignment is proven to increase revenue by 208%.

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That’s quite a nice little revenue jump.

The benefits of having the two teams work together are very clear: your marketing team draws in the clients your sales team actually wants to deal with, and your sales team can help your marketing team optimize their efforts to draw in those qualified leads.

Sales and marketing alignment makes for a seamless, effective sales cycle that is shorter, and has a higher success rate. Click To Tweet

How Can I Implement Sales and Marketing Alignment?

While it’s clear that sales and marketing alignment is a must, there’s not much information about practical application.

Sure, you need to facilitate greater communication between both teams, but short of having so many meetings that no one has time to do actual work, it’s tough to figure out how you get everyone on the same page. That’s where HubSpot comes in!

The HubSpot Breakdown

HubSpot is an inbound marketing company that developed a customer relationship management software (CRM) by the same name, HubSpot. HubSpot was the first to make the inbound methodology popular, and they continue to stay at the forefront of the inbound marketing industry by putting out quality content and resources, and by continually finessing their sales and marketing CRMs.

As an inbound marketing growth agency, we at Evenbound are proud HubSpot agency partners. We recently made the HubSpot Gold Agency Partner status, which basically means we’re good at using their software to win our clients more business.

A question we hear often from our own potential clients is, “What is HubSpot, and how can it help us align our sales and marketing teams?”

Many of our clients are industrial manufacturing and construction companies who have either been working without at CRM, or are frustrated with their current CRM (not to throw shade, but it’s usually Salesforce).

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How HubSpot Helps Align Sales and Marketing Teams

For companies who need a CRM, and are hoping to work towards closer sales and marketing alignment, we do recommend HubSpot. While we know CRMs aren’t perfect for everyone, HubSpot is our favorite option for qualified clients who need something that can genuinely get their sales and marketing teams on the same page.

If you’ve been weighing your CRM options, here’s a rundown of how HubSpot works, and specifically, how it can help align your sales and marketing teams.

 

Intuitive, Practical Communication Capabilities

One of the biggest killers of sales and marketing alignment is a failure to communicate.

The best way to fix it?

Intuitive, practical communication.

It doesn’t make sense to set up a meeting every time something new happens with a lead or prospect, but you do need to have open lines of communication between both teams, so no leads fall through the cracks.

HubSpot helps by offering two CRMs, one that’s designed specifically for marketing teams, and one that’s specifically for sales teams. What’s best is that these CRMs work totally in tandem, and on the same platform.

That means that every interaction your company has with a new prospect is always logged, categorized, and automatically synced across both teams.

Your marketing team can easily look at a lead to see if sales has had the chance to reach out yet, and your sales team can jump into a conversation with a warm lead at the exact moment they’re ready to progress to the decision-making stage.

This helps eliminate interruptions in your day-to-day office work and makes it easy to recap progress at your weekly or bi-weekly sales and marketing team meetings.

 

Defined MQLs and SQLs

HubSpot also makes it easy to define each lead, and pass them along to the sales team, or back to the marketing team when necessary.

You define what criteria qualifies a marketing-qualified lead (MQL) or a sales-qualified lead (SQL), whether it’s downloading a content offer, booking an appointment, or responding to an automated workflow. From there, it’s easy to move the lead up and down the buyer’s journey based on the criteria you’ve set to qualify them.

You can also set criteria for site visitors, prospects, or subscribers. Say someone has just visited your blog and signed up for your newsletter. If they keep reading your newsletters and blogs, but don’t convert on CTAs or content offers, you might categorize them as a “subscriber.”

You can use that classification to send them information they might care about later on, and your marketing team can continue nurturing them until they take enough actions to pass them along to your sales team.

 

Automatic Notifications

The HubSpot CRM also offers automatic notifications. If there are specific actions — like downloading a particular content offer or submitting a form on your contact page — that signal to both teams a lead may be ready to convert, you can set HubSpot to send automatic notifications to the responsible parties.

This way, when a lead is on your website, visiting your pages and downloading your content, the relevant team member can strike while the iron is hot — offering up more relevant content, or suggesting they set a meeting — just as that lead is thinking about your company.

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A little creepy? Maybe. But, it’s a great way to offer the personalized, specific service today’s consumers expect from companies of any kind.

 

Analytics and Reporting

Another sales and marketing alignment benefit the HubSpot CRM offers is its exceptional analytics and metrics reporting capabilities. No matter what metrics you’re tracking, the CRM makes it easy to see and share those reports with anyone in your team.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again:

The key to sales and marketing alignment is communication. Click To Tweet

Your sales team needs to know what the marketing team is doing to draw in qualified leads, and your marketing needs to know which of their efforts are contributing to a closed sale. HubSpot makes finding and sharing these metrics easy with open reporting that’s easily shared.

At your weekly sales/marketing meeting, your sales team can show the marketing team which leads have finally closed, and how they arrived to the sales team, whether from an organic, paid, or email marketing effort. Conversely, your marketing team can use the data compiled by HubSpot to show the sales team what content new leads are responding best to, and what potential sales angles they can use to close that lead more quickly.

The Ultimate Benefit of the HubSpot CRM Is Transparency.

Effective sales and marketing alignment can increase revenue by 208%. https://bit.ly/2QmDeAI Click To Tweet The best way to get those teams on the same page is a transparent, user-friendly CRM that allows both teams to interact, and see what the other team is working on. HubSpot’s software seamlessly integrates your sales and marketing teams software into one simple platform that offers transparency and encourages communication.

If you’re interested in increasing your revenue by 208% in the new year, the HubSpot platform could help. If you’re looking for concrete, specific ways to align your sales and marketing teams and grow your business, we can help. Get in touch today.

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