Understanding the Relationship Between Marketing and Sales

Many outside of the selling process look at marketing and sales as the same thing: the same service, the same department, the same work. They aren't the same, however. Though interrelated, marketing and sales are two different disciplines and areas of the business process.

The simplified version: the marketing team pre-qualifies, so the sales team can follow real leads. Together, they streamline the buying and selling process.

Marketing and Sales: Communication is Essential

Marketing and sales go hand-in-hand, especially for business-to-business companies. For the business funnel to work smoothly, communication between the two departments is essential.

Your marketing team has a job to do, which is to generate leads for your company. They do this through multiple activities, which include critical market research. They gather information and learn about your customer base.

Marketing creates ads - whether in print, broadcast or digital – designed to target the customers' business needs. They create the marketing materials your sales team will use. They generate the leads your sales team will follow.

Your sales team has a job as well, which is to follow those leads and turn them into sales. In B2B, this means meeting with the potential customer, more often than not. Because of this, it's imperative that your sales team has a deep understanding of your customers' issues. They need to know the value of the solutions your company offers.

Communication between the two teams is key, and transparent communication at that:

  1. Marketing needs to provide sales with consumer insight.
  2. Sales needs to provide marketing with information about why a lead was put to the side.
  3. Marketing needs to help sales understand the "why" behind tactical campaigns.
  4. Sales needs to help marketing understand why a tactic won't work with consumers.

Marketing and sales people have different outlooks. Traditionally, marketers look at the long-term view of an expanding market and increased brand awareness. Sales teams focus on individual deals and short-term results.

Working Together

The sales team needs marketing to find and qualify the leads. Without sales, the marketing team is nothing more than a company's voice box. A successful company is one that has marketing and sales teams working together, with the understanding that both are essential for company growth.