Many brands have combined their marketing and sales roles into a single job description, but they aren't the same! Before you give your marketer the sales responsibilities (or vice versa) you HAVE to understand how they are different in order to be successful.
What is Marketing?
Think of Marketing as the vehicle that drives the prospects to your front door. This "front door" can be to your website, brick & mortar store, or any other platform you use to sell your products or services. The bottom line is that marketing gets people interested in what you do by grabbing their attention and providing the path of least resistance to your sales funnel.
Marketing consists of organic (non-paid) and paid advertising through avenues such as:
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn
Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing
Trade shows and expo centers
TV and radio commercials
Your marketing strategy should be focused on one thing, attracting new leads. Once your marketing has drawn in a lead, it's time to refocus and attract more... over and over again. It should be a semi-personalized experience that attracts strong leads, but not so personalized that it alienates prospects. Remember, the idea of marketing is to build enough interest in your brand that a person voluntarily becomes a lead.
What is Sales?
So your marketing did its job and now you have new leads in your sales funnel. The goal of your sales team should be to turn the leads into prospects and prospects into customers. This is a very simplified description of your sales process.
How prospects move through your funnel is completely dependant on how your business operates and the steps that are required to complete a transaction. Understanding how your business model impacts your sales process is an absolute MUST, and this is where a lot of brands drop the ball.
Your sales process is where you need to get up close and personal with your leads. What services are they looking for? What's their budget? What are their concerns/hesitations? Your sales team needs to be laser-focused on the nuances of each prospect in order to build enough trust for them to make a transaction.
Should I combine sales and marketing?
When it comes to combining marketing and sales, things start to get cloudy. There's no doubt that your marketing team has to understand the highlights of your sales process and your sales team has to utilize marketing practices. But they shouldn't be combined into a single process, and here's why...
Marketing is a one-to-many approach.
Sales is a one-to-few/one-to-one approach.
While they both work towards the common goal of growing your business, without looking at both processes as separate entities, it can be difficult to make the right strategic decisions. What might be good for your marketing strategy could derail your sales process, which is bad news for everyone!
Tips to Get Started
Identify where your marketing strategy ends and your sales process begins
Make sure both teams understand your brand identity
Separate marketing and sales meetings
Delegate marketing and sales responsibilities to different managers (if possible)