Marketing Strategy vs. Sales Strategy

In a well-functioning business, marketing and sales work together like a well-oiled machine.

While they have distinctly different functions, sales and marketing are both integral to the main goal:

To gain customers and earn sales revenue

Marketing strategy and sales strategy have similar goals, but they are different functions in a business. Simply put, marketing strategy is to drive awareness about the customer value proposition and the job of sales strategy is to create a buying relationship with the customer. 

Sales strategy and marketing strategy are often used interchangeably, but technically these terms refer to two distinct elements of a business. In simple terms, marketing builds awareness of your brand – it informs, attracts, and leads prospects to your company and its offerings. Sales, on the other hand, turns prospects into profits.

Fundamentally, sales and marketing business functions share a common goal: to attract prospects and convert them into customers. The difference lies in how close you are to converting a potential customer to an actual customer.

Let’s now review some sales and marketing strategies and bring them together.

What Is A Sales And Marketing Strategy?

A marketing strategy provides a blueprint for reaching prospective customers and converting them into paying customers

A clear, well-detailed marketing strategy will help your organization concentrate its resources as best as possible so as to reach the target audience and increase sales.

A sales strategy is a blueprint for reinforcing the value of the customer value proposition and then communicating benefits in order to formally establish the brand-customer relationship, a.k.a. ‘Make the sale’. This is often done, as part of the strategy, with some urgency to become a customer sooner than later assuming it is communicated to the right potential customer, as defined as message-market fit.

The sales and marketing strategy is a comprehensive strategic planning tool that:

  • Revolves around your brand’s customer value proposition
  • Communicates what your company stands for
  • Describes your business and its products and services
  • Identifies the marketing plan and tactics you’ll use
  • Identifies the potential customer journey
  • Communicates the customer sales process
  • Identifies the onboarding process of how to engage and retain a new customer 

The ultimate goal of a sales and marketing strategy is to communicate a sustainable competitive advantage over brands with similar products or services, and make it easy for a customer to purchase. 

A sales and marketing strategy is designed by:

1. Determining the ideal customer and the target market

Who's your ideal customer? Not all market segments will be profitable for your business. Some markets have high barriers to entry and others a disinterested consumer base. In-depth marketing research helps define your ideal buyer profile so you can chase productive leads.

2. Developing the marketing mix and empowering the sales people to rapidly connect with potential customers 

How does your organization propose to position its products? Your marketing mix describes the process of bringing your product or service to market. You’ll have to make various decisions at this stage, including:

  • What distribution channels are available, and which are the most appropriate to reach your ideal buyer?
  • How should the price structure be designed to fit your company’s goals and the consumer’s needs?
  • Where is your customer doing their buying?
  • What’s your advertising budget  

3. Document the potential customer journey and make it easy for them to purchase

This is the part of the process where the sales strategy comes to life. Typically, products and services at larger price points have a longer sales cycle. This means that the customer takes time to make a buying decision. This also means that the company takes time in ensuring the customer is a good fit. This is very common in the franchising industry, for example. In this case, it is very common that the company chooses carefully who they let into their network as the terms of the relationship are often very long.

Making the most profit for the company is crucial to the success of any business, and that's where sales strategies come in. 

Your marketing strategy will attract qualified buyers so your sales team can guide new clients through the purchase process.

The sales strategy focuses on the sales process, including interacting with customers and providing them with relevant information throughout the sales funnel. Developing a sales strategy generally involves:

  • Establishing a sales action plan
  • Determining revenue goals and expectations
  • Identifying the distribution process

Think of your marketing strategy as the foundation of your sales strategy. You get to establish your brand identity and showcase what you have to offer through marketing while your sales strategy enhances the appeal of your products to turn leads into customers.

What Is The Difference Between Marketing And Sales?

Ideally, good marketing filters out bad prospects allowing your sales team to interact with leads that are vetted and more likely to lead to sales.

In good marketing, the prospect has self-qualified themself. In this case, the sales team will have better conversion rates, that is, they won’t have to go through as many bad leads in order to find a customer. This is known as the lead to sales conversion rate and it's the heart of any business.

In other words, marketing finds and engages prospective customers so you can promote your products and build interest in the brand, while the goal of any sales strategy is fairly simple: to make sales. 

When done well, the sales strategy combines forces with the marketing strategy and also focuses on transforming one-time customers into repeat buyers and referral sources. 

Both sales and marketing are vital parts of the customer journey. Even though they represent two different functions of your business, it's essential to streamline and integrate the two processes. You don't want your marketing team making promises your sales team can't live up to.

Also, sales can inform marketing in some ways. The sales team works directly with customers every day. They know what your customers need and any aggravations they might have with your products. Integrating sales and marketing means your marketing team will have a better picture of customer needs. This way, they can develop more effective strategies to reach customers.

Here’s a pro tip for marketers wanting to increase sales and develop successful  marketing campaigns:

Find the top sales people in your company and interview them. Find out everything you can about how they make sales, what customers say most often, what are the pain points, what they like about the products, what do they dislike and all the details. FOr best results, record the conversation and listen to often. Take notes and use this content to write your marketing campaigns. Do this and you will soon be one of the best marketers in your industry. 

When your sales and marketing functions don’t work well together, it’s your bottom line that suffers. Any confusion or miscommunication means your customers will head to your competitor instead.

It’s your job as a sales and marketing pro to ensure the sales strategy and the marketing strategy are working in union.

Make Sales and Marketing Create Massive Success by Working Together

The most crucial ingredient of a competitive sales and marketing strategy is an unwavering focus on the customer above all. It’s crucial to build your relationship based on solving your customers’ needs, allowing for more authentic personalized outreach. Otherwise, you risk failing to engage with customers at critical points in their buyer journey.

Defining your sales and marketing plans is an ongoing process that requires constant communication between your sales and marketing teams.

You will never meet a great salesperson that didn’t absolutely love the marketing team for helping them make sales.

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