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.
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.