Like peanut butter and jelly, sales and marketing is another dynamic duo–just a little less flavorful and a little more businessy. When these two business functions act as one it’s a powerful determinant of your business’ success, aside from your business plan. According to Aberdeen Research reports, companies with aligned sales and marketing strategies generated an average of 20% growth in annual revenue from their marketing efforts with 32% year-over-year growth compared to their less aligned competitors.
Sales and marketing are inherently different (just like peanut butter and jelly)- they consult different sources for information, seek different guidance when implementing objectives and initiatives, and oftentimes use different strategies to achieve the same goal. However, when it comes to driving revenue and fueling overall growth, the entire company relies on these two teams. Not to mention, without a stellar marketing strategy, there are no sales and without sales, there is no business. It’s like having a car with no engine–one simply cannot operate without the other. So why is it important to have a joint strategy? Take a deeper look as we explore how sales and marketing work together to help you achieve your primary business goals and grow your brand to new heights.
Developing Your Sales and Marketing Strategies
Over the past few years, the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry has experienced more growth and change than ever before. The dynamic digital landscape has entirely reshaped how brands compete with one another. From focusing on online retailers to establishing strategies that hone in on direct-to-consumer relationships, companies are figuring out what works best for them. And with consumer demographics changing and preferences shifting more and more each day, the best way to stay ahead of your competitors is by further developing your sales and marketing strategy.
The primary goal of marketing is to generate and nurture valuable leads and relationships with consumers. It focuses on sending out large scale campaigns via email, social media, partnerships, and digital advertising aimed towards moving consumers further down the purchasing funnel. As the foundation for your business, your marketing strategy should be well-thought-out and growth-oriented. In fact, 61% of marketers say that improving their organic presence and developing better inbound marketing strategies are among their top priorities. Here are some marketing strategies you might choose to implement if you haven’t already:
- Social media: Time and time again, we have stressed the importance of having a presence on social media to boost and maintain relationships with consumers. Statista surveys have shown that among global industry professionals, increased exposure, improved traffic, lead generation, and growing loyalty are the most commonly cited advantages of using social media. If that doesn’t make you want to sign up for Instagram now, I don’t know what will.
- Blogs: Blogs are a great way to develop a prospective audience, drive traffic to your website, and convert traffic into leads. Try writing blogs that discuss current events and news relating to your industry, product updates, or general topics about your company.
- Email: Did you know that 99% of consumers check their email each day? Simply put, email marketing should always be a staple in your marketing strategy. It is the most effective way to nurture your leads, turn them into paying customers and directly connect with them on a regular basis.
- Public Relations (PR): If investing in traditional marketing is too expensive, try hiring a public relations agency to do all of the work for you. Where you may have once invested in marketing strategies that did not work, public relations agencies can formulate effective targeted campaigns and strategies that actually work. And more than just marketing, PR agencies can also help you build connections with top media outlets and maintain a positive brand image, even in times of turmoil.
Once you have developed a marketing strategy that works for your brand, you should begin thinking about your sales strategy. Here, your focus is to develop relationships with consumers that will ultimately drive sales. You might already have a few sales strategies that have led you to leads along the way such as cold calling, networking, trade shows, or automated emails, but the difference between a qualified lead and a cold lead is the marketing strategy that you develop in between to close the deal. Here are a few sales strategies you should think about trying once you’ve implemented your marketing strategy:
- Storytelling is a powerful sales strategy and tool. A good story can evoke interest, give meaning to your product or brand, set you apart from competitors, and ultimately give consumers a reason to invest their money as they find themselves connecting with your product over that of another brand.
- Understand your target market. Whether you are selling a service or a product, it is extremely important to understand what it takes to attract and maintain your target customers and decide exactly how much you want to earn from them.
- Differentiate yourself from competitors. Surely, this is one sales strategy that helps companies across industries excel. Focus on being different, offering customizable experiences, and raising your standards to give customers the exact value that they’re looking for.
- You could probably guess that the last and most important point is to align your sales and marketing strategies with one another. Marketing teams create the messaging and lead generation for the sales team who then uses that same messaging to convert leads into sales. However, the lack of synchronization on either side can tarnish your efforts and cause gaps in your overall strategy. Align these two with one another to persuade consumers to choose your product.
Setting Up a Cohesive Strategy
As discussed above, marketing and sales are nowhere near being separate business functions. But ultimately, how each business decides to operate their sales and marketing teams will be different and goals will differentiate brand to brand. However, there are a few key points that every business can start with when building their cohesive sales and marketing strategy. Also, note that several of these points can be leveraged and integrated into both the marketing strategy and business strategy.
- Determine your unique selling points (USPs): What makes your product unique? What makes your company unique? How do you stand out from the competition? Determine a clear selling point that can be leveraged in both marketing and sales communications.
- Defining your target audience: Who is going to be the most interested in your products? Set up customer profiles that will help your marketing and sales teams target the right audience of consumers.
- Know your yearly goals: It’s critical that you set goals daily, monthly, and yearly. By setting goals both teams will be aligned on what the business expects and what they are working towards. Both the marketing and sales strategy should align with the business’s yearly goals.
- Set advertising and promotion opportunities: After determining your yearly goals, decide if there is opportunity for sales and promotions. Can you afford promotions? Does this align with your business model? How much can you allocate towards advertising spend? If so, what would these advertisements and promotions look like and how would they be executed? These are all important questions to consider when setting promotion opportunities so the marketing team can execute.
- Integrate promotional, advertising, and sales into the sales process: Once marketing has a set plan for their marketing strategy for the year, sales can go forth and conquer qualified leads as these types of leads will result in the strongest conversions to returning paying customers.
Once these points are determined and understood by each team, you can work on building collaboration between the two teams by building agreements, open communication, and points of contact for questions.
Having a cohesive sales and marketing strategy is critical when defining and executing long-term business goals and targets. Beyond what your sales and marketing strategies may be able to do individually, coordinating the two is a critical and effective way to grow your brand beyond quantifiable means. You’ll be able to garner a unique understanding of the sales process, define and enhance your sales and marketing strategies, identify new business opportunities, and increase annual revenue. As in any case, it is important to create SMART goals for your new sales and marketing strategies to include specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely targets that will help you evaluate your performance and adjust strategies where it may be necessary to achieve your desired success.
Knowing what you do now, think about your sales and marketing strategies–are the two aligned, or do they simply coexist?