When comparing marketing with sales and considering how they relate to each other, I always think that medium-sized companies where I had my first job. Marketing department people were serious and analytical, always busy with statistics and campaigns and meetings. Sales people were breathless, always on the move, always on the phone or going to meet clients, always on the cusp of some enormous deal, some magic sale that would catapult sales lead the company’s annual target. As younger and it seemed to me that the marketing people and sales people were from two different planets. I know now that they were simply two parts of the same continuum.
Marketing can be described as a set of activities carried out in order to generate leads, but selling is the act of turning prospects hot lead into a buyer and later repeat customers. Marketing and sales functions of any organization are glued together with the means. If there are no leads, two will fall foul of another. I saw this in the company that I was describing earlier. But the ways in both directions. The marketing department has to deliver them and the sales department will respond to them most useful. But ways must first form and that’s why marketing tends to overwhelm the sales function when the two are discussed.
The various forms that marketing takes are well known because they are so visible. They range from cold acquisition of a brand or corporate advertising, through to the targeted types of marketing, such as direct response advertising and referrals, which particularly benefits of the product due to the customer. If this is done correctly, then the potential will actually approach the sales people for assistance. Sales people love the ways. It is actually the sales people take over the communication function to lead ceases to be a guide and will be potential customers, then customers and finally to repeat customers.
Actually I’ve painted a pretty picture ideals of lead connection between the marketing function and sales function. It’s just not that simple because not all means are equal. Very tiny percentage leads are customers who are willing to buy. Most of them are just interested in a possible purchase in the future, and some are just mildly interested, just browsing. That is why it is important to have some sort of lead management system so that potential customers can be turned into buyers and buyers can become repeat customers.
All follow the communication should be friendly and informative, definitely not a hard sell. The company representative should be regarded as a helpful expert rather than rabid sales person. Fortunately, many of the follow-up actions can be automated to take the form of email, direct mail, voice broadcast and fax broadcast. Obviously result would be invited each time to call directly if they have questions or willing to buy. Follow effort is generally a function of the marketing and sales departments combined.