At a Glance
- Marketing and sales are critical components of a successful business, with distinct functions and approaches to driving sales
- Combining marketing and sales into one unit can lead to challenges such as inefficient lead generation and a lack of accountability
- Flat sales may be a symptom of underlying problems within marketing and sales that need to be addressed
Marketing and sales are two important components of a successful business. However, they are often mistaken for the same thing. While they share the common goal of increasing sales, their approaches and functions are different.
In this article, we look at the common conflicts between marketing and sales departments. We explore actionable strategies that can foster harmony and collaboration between these essential pillars of business success.
The fox guarding the hen house
Marketing sets ambitious targets, while sales strives to achieve them. This clash of perspectives and roles fosters a healthy process that drives the business forward.
However, when these two functions are combined into one, it can lead to a potential downfall. When marketing and sales are not independent, it becomes easier to set weak targets and make excuses for underperformance without facing scrutiny. This situation is akin to, “the fox guarding the hen house.”
The dynamic tension between marketing and sales is not necessarily a negative thing, but it should be reflected in the structure of the company. Failure to properly separate the roles of these two critical departments can lead to the following challenges:
- Inefficient lead generation and conversion due to a lack of coordination during the process of passing leads, resulting in lower conversion rates. When these departments do not work together, potential customers can slip through the cracks, leading to missed opportunities and reduced revenue.
- A lack of accountability and measurement makes it difficult to attribute success or failure. When marketing and sales functions are not clearly separated, it can be challenging to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and identify teams that are accountable for their targets.
Marketing and Sales, Explained
Marketing and sales have different functions within an organisation. Marketing takes a holistic approach, delving into the what, when, where, why, and how to create awareness and entice demand for a product or service.
Conversely, the sales team plays a critical role in implementing marketing strategies to convert leads into customers.
Despite their separate roles, these functions often collaborate on tasks such as developing sales and channel management strategies. Shared responsibilities make it critical for marketing and sales teams to work together cohesively, enabling them to leverage each other’s strengths and overcome weaknesses.
According to a study commissioned by LinkedIn that delved into sales and marketing, 87% of sales and marketing leaders said that collaboration between the two teams has enabled critical business growth. In the same study, up to 85% of respondents said that sales and marketing alignment is the largest opportunity for improving business performance today.
Focus Areas of a Marketing Team
Contract strategy is defined as your route to market. It includes how you sell your product and how you strategise your sales approach.
Getting this aspect right is paramount to winning customers, as failing to align your sales methods with customer preferences may hinder customers from buying your products or services.
Here are four areas your marketing team should focus on when determining the right strategy to convert prospects:
- Access: Are you using the right marketing channels to reach your target audience?
- Presence: Do you have sufficient market reach to engage as many relevant prospects as possible?
- Interaction: Are you connecting with your potential customers? For example, is your messaging tailored to your target audience?
- Delivery: How do your products or services reach your target customers? Do you have sufficient capacity to deliver your services when required?
Sales, the Eyes and Ears on the Ground
The sales structure should promote end-to-end accountability, avoiding siloed functions that lead to fragmented responsibilities, resulting in customers’ dissatisfaction.
As the eyes and ears on the ground, the sales team can analyse:
- Account (customer) based approach that focuses on building relationships with specific accounts. It is ideal for business-to-business settings.
- Product-based approach, which puts the product at the heart of the sales process, making it suitable for bespoke or unique products.
- Channel-based approach for companies targeting prospects using multiple channels. It is ideal for business-to-business settings.
- Territory-based approach is a common setup for sales teams to sell all products and services to assigned territories.
- Hybrid-based approach combines some or all of the above.
Think value, take action
If you find that your business is facing revenue growth challenges such as underperforming marketing efforts and sales teams, it is important to take a moment to assess the reasons behind these issues. Identifying where things went wrong is vital to making improvements.
If your marketing efforts are not delivering the intended results and your sales team is underperforming, it is time to stop and analyse the issues that are hindering their effectiveness. Stagnant revenue may be a symptom of underlying problems that need to be addressed.
Albert Einstein: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
At Renoir, we have extensive experience in executing sales-focused projects with our clients. We understand the importance of increasing sales and margins, and we have successfully tackled diverse challenges, ranging from fast-moving consumer goods to large capital projects. Our expertise lies in deploying the best methodologies to achieve exponential revenue growth, including overcoming obstacles in the sales and marketing domain.
Keen to make revenue growth a priority for your business?