Contrary to popular belief, the Sales and Marketing departments of a business are not the same things. Many companies have them work in conjunction because they complement each other, but there are many differences between these two sectors, and they do not always see eye to eye.
Before the internet, marketing was used for advertising the goods and services of a business in the hopes of attracting potential customers. Outbound marketing meant there were highway billboards and newspaper and TV ads. Once the customer’s interest was sufficiently peaked, he/she would either speak over the phone or show up at a business to talk with a salesperson, who would then answer all of their questions. The salesperson worked within a bargaining window that allowed them to be flexible when it came to negotiating prices.
Sales teams used to be the driving force behind a company’s revenue stream. They were highly valued as such. If there were any layoffs or budgetary cuts, marketing would take a hit first, not sales. However, in this new world, marketing has a much bigger hand in a company’s ability to generate revenue, which may create a power struggle between sales and marketing when it comes to the pecking order.
Inbound marketing now exists in addition to outbound marketing, and it has completely changed the way businesses operate. Instead of information only going one way, from the company to the public, there are now ways to distribute information to other potential customers via social media. This also means a lot of people are educating themselves long before they even speak to a salesperson. The look of a website and usability of a user interface is now essential to consumers, with many of them giving average websites only seconds to load before choosing to move on to the competition. Many online companies, like Amazon, don’t even employ a sales force; everything depends on the information provided by the website.
One way to keep everyone on the same page is to make sure customers aren’t told conflicting pitches or offers. Have a script that everyone follows and make sure they stick to it. Hold regular meetings so people can freely express frustrations or new ideas without fear of being ignored. By making all parts of your team feel valued, they will become your greatest asset.