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customer experience, Marketing

Sales versus marketing, or sales AND marketing?

Written by Jason Groom
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Originally published
July 12 2016,
updated
September 14 2019
I’ve just been reading a piece by Ben Davis on Econsultancy, “The Sales & Marketing departments: Why and how they should merge”. Really interesting. And a fascinating illustration of how the two disciplines have changed, and how they seem to be moving closer together.

Ben’s article, which is key insights from a more detailed Digital Transformation Best Practice Guide points to 5 indicators and the rationale behind this convergence;

  1. With the cost of the marketing and sales functions estimated to make up 15-35% of an organisation's total costs the effectiveness of both is under scrutiny.
  2. The consumer expects one joined-up sales journey and not to be passed from one department to another.
  3. Qualifying leads is not as simple as it was as customer needs have become more nuanced
  4. A “single view of the customer” is needed to qualify leads – that requires access to, and sharing of, key data
  5. Marketing at scale (automation) requires further integration - best achieved by bringing the teams closer together.

Makes sense? From a business perspective, absolutely. But for those of us with both feet planted firmly in one camp, how easy a marriage is this likely to be? We put our heads together and have come up with a list of what we think, in a B2B world anyway, characterises the differences between the two;

  • They operate in different time frames – sales is often driven by a month/period/year end, whilst marketing
    works longer term than that and with an eye always to the future
  • Sales is 1:1 whilst marketing is usually 1:many
  • Marketing’s aim is to develop the product/service to match the prospects’ needs, sales has to match
    the product/service to the prospect’s need
  • Marketing is the process of creating demand for a product in the market whereas sales is the process
    of fulfilling these demands
  • Sales is relationship driven. Marketing is data driven
  • Whilst both are measurable, sales success is often far easier to quantify
  • Marketers and salespeople have differing character traits and strengths

Thank goodness we’ve come a long way from the “always be closing” sales mantras of the 1990s - this clip will show you just how terrifying that particular brand of selling was!)

So perhaps it is time that “Customer Experience” teams replaced those sales and marketing silos we’re all so accustomed to. Maybe, we don’t stop there and that customer services should be the third arm of this holy triumvirate. Our jury is out. What do you think?

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