What is it about sales and marketing teams that creates misunderstandings and conflict? At the core of what each does is understanding the customers the company serves. However, their outlook is a bit different, which can lead to friction.
Talk to a sales leader, and they’ll tell you they could live without marketing. Talk to the marketing director and they’ll tell you sales makes their lives difficult and they wish they’d just get on board. The misunderstandings likely come from the different focus of each department.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the salaries of marketing directors and sales managers are almost neck and neck. Sales Managers have a median pay rate of $132,290 per year, and Marketing Managers make $133,380 per year. There’s little reason for jealousy between the two professions, so just what is going on that causes so many heated conversations?
At first glance, you’d think they have similar goals, but the misunderstandings likely occur because of the different focus of each department. Marketing looks at audience segments and general statistics, while sales focuses on each individual client and their needs. Although they both want the same end result–company growth–the path to get there can be quite different for each.
Understanding one another better might help them get along. When sales and marketing departments work together, the entire company benefits as well as the brand’s clients. Here are some of the top misconceptions and what you can do to circumvent them.
Marketing often sees sales as a numbers game. The more leads, the more chances to sell to someone. However, there are limited hours in the day and a limited budget as to how many salespeople the company can hire. Numbers don’t always equal more sales.
The truth is that a lead is only viable if they fall within the buyer persona description and need the product or service the company offers. Marketing can help sales by sending highly qualified leads and sales can help marketing by closing the deal and improving conversion rates.
Marketing might assume they understand the target audience. In truth, they should talk to sales about the needs of the average customer. Analytics only paints so much of the picture. For a full portrait, you must find out what customers say when they talk to the sales staff.
There are more than 2.9 billion email users globally, or about one-third of the people in the world. Although emails can be an effective form of marketing, sales happen outside the email itself. However, assuming an email is the only thing needed to convert browsers into buyers is a misconception.
Customers often have questions even after reading an email and the sales department can best answer those queries and close the sale.
Some misconceptions are rooted in what others see, but sales is about so much more than taking out clients and buying them dinner and drinks. Sure, that can be part of the relationship building required to schmooze clients. However, sales does much more and utilizes their budget for training and skill development.
Judging how another department head utilizes their funds is a waste of time and energy. Focus on how to better utilize your own budget. Work with the head of sales to do combined training sessions and keep the lines of communication open.
While there are some natural abilities that make one person better at sales than another, expecting new hires to know the ins and outs of the business from day one is a bit unrealistic.
When companies hit growth spurts, they may hire new trainees. Marketing can easily grow frustrated if they send leads to the sales department and new employees fail to close the deal.
However, allowing a bit more time for training can make a huge difference in conversion rates. Talk to the more experienced employees on the team about how to best help the newbies solidify deals.
In today’s highly digital world, it’s easy to assume a customer goes to the website, makes their way through the sales funnel and buys from the company. However, sales often require a bit more effort than that.
When it comes to lead generation, about 61% of marketing professionals cite it as their top priority. However, what happens after you find those leads means the difference between success and failure.
Marketing wants to see results fast. They send the leads, the leads buy products, rinse and repeat. However, sales often have to build to that point and not every lead that comes their way results in a customer.
Thanks to scenes in Hollywood movies and a handful of sly salespeople, marketing teams may have the misconception that sales staff are unscrupulous. However, sales staff are just like anyone else in the company. A few might be willing to bend the truth, but most will be good people just trying to make a living.
When dealing with others, assume the best of them. Communication is key to clearing up misunderstandings. People sometimes make mistakes or you can misconstrue their intentions.
Take time to get to know the people on the other half of the sales funnel. You’ll work on promotions together, you pushing a product and them selling it. Do combined training sessions, have team building events and communicate with one another whenever possible.
You both work for the same company. No one wants their job to disappear, so ensuring the brand finds success is important to both marketing and sales. Start with that common cause and build from there. The more you get to know one another, the less misconceptions there will be.
Eleanor Hecks is the editor of Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.
Anytime you can inspire your customers, build them up or catch their interest, it can lead to sales. If you’ve been promoting your business for any length of time, you may feel a bit burned out with your marketing efforts. It takes a lot of traffic and advertising to gain just one new client. However, you can take a step away from the advertising and let it run on autopilot while you work to draw in people who truly appreciate your creative genius.
Inspiration is an elusive beast. What inspires one person might not necessarily inspire another. Fortunately, there are a few things that seem to be almost universally appealing. Try these ideas and see if they take you to new levels in your sales numbers.
One thing that can inspire potential customers is seeing how you’ve gone above and beyond for your customers. People listen to what others have to say when choosing whether to do business with a company. It starts with your customer service philosophy at the core. If you have a customer-first policy, you and your customer service people are naturally going to go above and beyond to make customers happy. Once the customer is thrilled, you can ask for a review or testimonial to include on your site.
No company can foresee every issue that might crop up, but JetBlue is on it when customers post comments on social media. See the screenshot above of a passenger posting that his flight is 20 minutes late taking off. JetBlue immediately assures him that they’ll be going soon. Though you can’t see the time of the response in the screenshot, it was almost immediate. This example shows other passengers the company cares enough to respond. While there might be issues at times, they are trying to make things right.
Who would you rather buy something from — a person whom you like and have a connection with or someone standoffish? It is important for businesses to build a rapport with leads. You can do this in several ways. It starts with getting the person’s name and finding out what problem you can help them solve. From there, you can further build rapport by showing empathy for their situation, offering the information they need to make an informed decision and being honest about which option is best for them, even if that means buying the product elsewhere.
Who doesn’t love a bit of insider advice to make your buying decision flawless? Take time to hire team members who understand buyers often like to be educated about a product before they make a purchase. This can take the form of buyer guides, a salesperson who is highly knowledgeable about all options or insider advice that shows the buyer the best course of action.
Look at how Cliffside Industries accomplishes this goal. They show a kitchen with ideas for both contemporary and modern designs. This is an insider look at how to design a kitchen, no matter your personal style or what suits your home best. The guide goes into great detail about the history of both contemporary and modern designs, what is different about the two, a look at other designers and what they’ve done, and ends with some solid advice for those wanting to design a kitchen.
Take the customer data you’ve collected use it to make more targeted sales efforts. If you know Jane Smith in Dayton, Ohio, has purchased multiple blue shirts from your site, you can show her every blue shirt you have to offer the next time she visits. Another option is to show her what pairs well with blue, such as that gray scarf you have on sale today.
Segmented email campaigns are a smart way to drive more sales, too. A segmented campaign with a relevant message results in 100 percent more clicks than a non-segmented email.
Content is called “king” for many reasons, but one is that it can engage your site visitors and inspire them to buy the product discussed in the article. Showing the user exactly how other buyers can and are using your product allows the site visitor to consider how they might also use that product in their daily life. Content should have a purpose, and at the end of the content, you should offer a CTA to convert the reader into a customer.
Ulta is a good site to study for ideas for inspiring customers with content. They have a beauty guides area with various articles on topics related to beauty. So, if you read an article that is a step-by-step glow guide, Ulta gives advice and recommends specific products. In one article, they might have a phrase such as “try these cleaners,” then list the products and what type of skin it works for. This approach is quite effective at inspiring sales.
Start a social media campaign. Ask your most loyal customers to upload photos of themselves using your product and to tag that photo with a hashtag you choose. You can then highlight these posts on your social media account. This is like a testimonial within a photograph. It not only creates social media buzz for your brand, but it gives you instant testimonials to draw upon to lead to more sales for your brand.
Try to think outside the box and figure out how to reach potential customers in new and interesting ways. People are bombarded with marketing messages day in and day out. If you can stand out from the advertising deluge, you stand a good change of inspiring consumers to consider your product or service. Try to look at your sales strategy as a reflection of your customers. If you were buying from yourself, what would speak to you, and how would you want to be treated?
Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.