The purpose of marketing and sales are often thought to fulfill two separate functions in the realm of business. Though there are some distinctions between the two components, the objective is congruent: profit. However, the influence of marketing is often overshadowed by sales, mostly because sales are “tangible” results that occur at a greater frequency. This inevitably fuels an idea that undermines the value of marketing.
What, Who, and How
Do not be misled. At its core, marketing is sales. Marketing is the foundation that facilitates the process of sales. Sales focus on execution. Marketing focuses on strategy. If there is no strategy, execution cannot happen because there is nothing to be executed. It is for this reason that a sales team should routinely collaborate with a marketing team. The marketing team constructs the strategy for the sales team to execute. A sales team can directly benefit from the marketing team by adhering to three areas of focus. These focuses are what marketing departments use to inspire how they will construct an appropriate strategy; they are: what, who, and how.
It is important to know what is being sold. At a first glance, it might seem obvious, i.e. the product or service is what is being sold. However, this is where the marketing perspective is necessary. The marketing department uses its expertise to shift the perspective from what is being sold to what the possibilities are for what is being sold. A cell phone is not just a phone in a marketing professional’s eyes; it’s a portable connection device that enables its users to link and communicate with each other conveniently and seamlessly. This detailed description of a cell phone places the focus on its capabilities, thereby expanding the definition of what it is. The marketing team brainstorms how products and services can be extended beyond their simplifications. When these expansions are created the population to whom sales are directed to also expands. This correlates to a marketing team’s next focus: who.
After establishing what is being marketed, the marketing department must decide who they will market to, or rather, which market to market to. This is defined as demographics. Who would want to use the product or service being marketed? Why is this population the best market for the product or service? The marketing team then answers these questions through research and testing. By the end of that process, the marketing team will know what the best market is for the product or service. The sales team can directly benefit from this information by being able to target the best potential patrons, thus optimizing their selling ability. This is why it is important not to limit the definition of what is being marketed as that inevitably shrinks the populace of who sales can target. Though another way to expand this population is by considering the last area of focus; how.
The marketing team will focus on how a product or service can benefit a certain demographic. Placing emphasis on how a demographic can benefit from products or services, essentially enables the products and services to sell themselves. This information substantially helps the sales team by providing persuasive points of interest that can be relayed to potential patrons. This information also effectively alleviates much of the work behind having to create a sales pitch, in that, the marketing team has already determined why a demographic would want to buy a product or service by establishing how the product or service will benefit the target demographic. Since the question of how answers the question of why, the sales team has a solid foundation for how to address these areas of concern for patrons.
All three areas of focus culminate in the production of a strong marketing strategy, which ultimately translates to a strong sales strategy. Take advantage of what marketing teams have to offer. A marketing team’s success is best seen through the sales team success and the best way to ensure that both teams are successful is by having them work together.