I often talk about how I am not in sales, but rather I am a marketer. But the fact is that in today’s day and age, the end result of a marketers work is meant to be a sale. After all, if no one is buying your products or services, you are not profiting, and that reflects heavily on both your marketing and sales departments – not to mention the success of your business.
Nothing speaks to this more than your website, which is notoriously a marketing tool. It is vital that your website carry the theme, brand, message and story of your business. The core marketing that you focus on has to be clearly visible and predominant on any site, but at some point, the website turns into a sales tool. In the B2C world, the sales process generally kicks off around the time when the customer clicks the ‘add to cart button’. From this point forward, the focus is on getting them to complete the sale, rather than marketing to them about the product.
There are many reasons why someone clicks the ‘add to cart’ button, ranging from curiosity to finding out the cost of shipping, and of course actually buying. The act of clicking is not in itself a sale. They may just be price matching other products or services. From this point forward, any communication or action with the customer is more in line with a typical sales process than it is marketing. It is interesting to note that the marketing team owns the website and customer communication. If that abandoned cart email goes out, generally it was the marketing team that set up that process.
We can break a typical marketing process down into those two pieces – marketing or awareness, and sales.
A product or service that no one knows about is useless. This is why we have our marketing teams. It is their job bring attention to what we have to offer. They parse the data, craft the story, develop campaigns, and get the word out. When their job is done right, people buy into the story being told and that creates interest for a sale.
This stage of the process is about awareness and driving traffic which could come in the form of digital clicks and views, the phone ringing, or actual foot traffic into the store or office.
The sales process can start in many different places. Some prospects do more research than others which means that this stage has to be somewhat dynamic. This is where our sales team comes in. It is their job to identify the prospect, their interest, eagerness and potential. A successful salesperson has to carry on the message and story of the marketing team to close any gaps with the prospect.
This stage of the process is about getting true buy in on what was said in the marketing stage to ultimately land the sale.
With a typical B2B sales cycle, it is easier to know when one stage ends and the other begins. However, not every marketing process that is developed will have a clear division between marketing and sales – especially when it comes to digital sales. It is because of this fine line that a typical marketer has to wear their sales hat. With any marketing process, companies need to take time to identify where the marketing ends and the sale begins. It is also vitally important that your sales team is included in the decision making process to ensure that there is consistency and that the solution follows the right sales process.