UNDERSTANDING AND STRENGTHENING THE SALES & MARKETING RELATIONSHIP
A company seeking to maximize its customer front-end experience, essential to building strong customer loyalty, must make the relationship between Marketing and Sales seamless and unbreakable.
Many organizations struggle to achieve this. Others believe that Marketing and Sales are one and the same and thereby do not distinguish between the two. While some companies go as far as to eliminate or practically ignore the role of Marketing and only maintain an active sales force.
Often tightly synchronized, Marketing and Sales are two distinct entities. Marketing has three critical functions to carry out for the organization. They are to, devise a market strategy that encompasses well-matched target customer segments; bringing the Voice of the Customer (VOC) into the company’s decision-making process; and optimizing the company’s marketing mix – Product, Price, Place and Promotion.
The Sales role is to close deals with as many target customers as possible to increase company revenue. Sales must also continuously strengthen the relationship with new and existing customers to solidify brand loyalty. This enables customers to better resist competitive appeal and price seduction. The chart below summarizes the primary differences between Marketing and Sales.
When Marketing is at full throttle, it serves to significantly shorten the sales cycle by laying the groundwork for the sales force. Initial steps that must be carried out to uncover and close any sale, include prospecting, qualifying, preparing the first meeting, conducting customer needs assessment and creating the proposal. Marketing should play a vital role in each area. The net effect of Marketing’s involvement, is to reduce the number of sales calls required to persuade the customer to purchase. This saves the company both time and money.
Specific Marketing functions that influence the selling process are lead generation, development of the value proposition, brand awareness, VOC input and other market research, competitive analysis and promotions. In the weeks to come, I will expound on each of these and the value they bring to the selling process. Until then, happy hunting!