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Our surroundings buzz with the words sales and marketing. From the vehicle we drive to the mattress we sleep on, everything was first marketed and then sold to us.
Sales and marketing make up a lot of our world, but how much do we understand them? Is sales just a transaction between two people? Is marketing just advertisements that we see?
This guide goes deep into understanding what sales and marketing really are, how they differ, why they matter, and why every business must focus on its sales and marketing strategies.
Any activity that involves selling a product or service to a consumer or to a business is referred to as sales. Whereas the act of promoting or getting people interested in your product or service is called marketing.
The above definitions do not convey the full extent of these two processes, meaning, there is much more to sales and marketing than what is stated in these definitions.
Also, have you ever wondered why people say “sales and marketing” rather than “marketing and sales”?
The two processes have so many functional overlaps that it makes little difference how you put them. However, the reason sales is put ahead of marketing maybe because sales existed before marketing.
Sales began hundreds of years ago with the barter system, while the concept of marketing is relatively new. It first emerged in the 1950s. So, it makes sense to say sales and marketing rather than marketing and sales.
Again, it’s a matter of choice.
Having a product alone won’t drive sales for a business. To attract the target audience, the product first needs to be marketed at a broader scale, followed by sales efforts.
For every type of business, having a clearly defined and robust sales and marketing process is key to generating revenue. Without them, it would be extremely challenging to attract new customers and to keep existing ones.
A sales and marketing plan is not just about running ads online or in newspapers or handing over a list of leads to your sales team and asking them to make calls. It’s more than that.
By implementing a strong marketing and sales plan, you’ll be able to track where your business is heading in terms of growth. Most importantly, it gives you a sense of control.
While developing a sales and marketing plan, it is best to stay up to date with what the market actually is rather than simply assuming what the current state of the market is. People naturally assume they know something well, but that is not always true. When we make such assumptions, we only put ourselves at risk.
As a first step in developing your sales and marketing plan, you must first examine your target market objectively. It’s not a good idea to assume that the product or service you offer is what the market wants.
Research shows that businesses that regularly research their target market are more profitable than those that don’t, since they know what their target audience wants and serve them accordingly.
When you have completed your market research, identify what your business objectives are. Is your business seeking expansion, or do you wish to make your product offering more diverse? Or are you considering targeting a niche segment only to achieve monetary growth?
Many questions are subjective to each business, but the purpose is to understand the end goal well and then devote time, energy, and resources where they are needed to achieve the desired results.
It makes no difference how great your plan is if you do not have an efficient marketing team or lack the marketing and sales tools necessary to execute it. Make sure you have everything ready, a knowledgeable team that understands your product or service, and the right sales and marketing tools to simplify and streamline the process.
As far as tools go, thankfully there are so many free tools available today that make it easier for you to reach out to a broader audience and stay in touch with them on multiple platforms.
How will you connect with your target audience? Which type of sales technique will be most effective? What is going to be your main message?
Having done your research, understood your goals, and made sure that everything you need is in place, your next step should be to determine precisely how you are going to implement your plan.
Identify the channels of communication you will use and the targets you aim at achieving through those channels.
Once everything is determined, make sure the plan is carried out. Here are a few things you should keep in mind while executing your plan:
Planning is not a one-time task, it continues to develop as you move from one step to another. Also, there is a possibility that you might have to discard the plan you worked so hard on. The reasons for it could range from a change in the team internally to the plan not bringing the results you imagined.
Hence, it is critical to focus great attention on both planning and executing.
Not every business sets up standardized sales and marketing processes, despite their immense importance. There could be several reasons behind that, ranging from insufficient resources to a casual approach that makes them believe a formal sales and marketing process is not necessary.
Many companies today offer sales and marketing assistance to your company if you lack qualified professionals.
These companies help you develop a sales and marketing strategy for your company. A consultancy reviews your existing processes and recommends how you can scale growth with a particular strategy.
As an example, if you intend to launch a new product or service but lack the marketing experience, you can hire a marketing consultancy that can offer suggestions for entering the new market.
Research is crucial to a successful business. However, if you do not have the time to do the research yourself, there are companies that will do it for you and provide you with the market statistics you need and how all of it will affect your business.
Telesales companies or telemarketing companies act as call centers for your business, providing you with telephone-based marketing services. They call your leads on your behalf and pitch your product or service to them, obtain necessary information and confirm orders for your business.
As more than half of the world’s population is online today, digital marketing has become increasingly important. Digital marketing agencies help you to enhance your online presence and advise you on how you can use certain social media channels to engage with your prospects and customers.
To stay in business, you need to consistently generate leads. Both sales and marketing help you generate leads but there is a difference between the quality of leads generated. As sales is a more personalized process, it proves to be beneficial in generating high-quality leads.
Marketing is a one-to-many approach whereas sales is a one-to-one approach. Converting a marketing qualified lead might involve more follow-ups, whereas a sales qualified lead shows immediate interest in your product or service, hence is quicker to convert.
Increasing revenue requires increasing sales and to increase sales, well, increasing lead generation is essential. The following are some ways in which sales executives can generate more leads:
There are many other ways in which sales teams can increase their sales lead generation. What is most important is that they follow the right sales techniques rather than haphazardly handle their communication.
Building a sales team is not about assembling a group of people and asking them to sell something. To build your dream team, you need to carefully consider everything from hiring to firing.
Consistent and profitable sales are a result of many strategic decisions – the people you hire for your team, the training you give them, the sales approach you choose, the tools you implement, and much more shapes your sales performance.
Since your sales team plays a critical role in leading your business to success, here are seven ways to set up the best sales team:
What skills must your ideal sales executive possess? Do you want an experienced salesperson or someone who is new to sales but is willing to learn?
Questions like these are something that you must answer before you make someone a part of your team. Take into account your current business situation, your product or service, and the type of skills required to sell your product or service.
Hire the people who are the right fit for your business as you don’t want to be investing your time and resources only on them.
It is important that your team understands your business and industry well. Keep them updated on the latest sales practices by providing them with proper and regular training.
Inform them about the sales practices that are appropriate to your business type and the channels they should use to connect with the target audience.
Goals or targets are not random numbers that need to be achieved. A lot of thought needs to be put into setting targets. Neither should you give your sales team targets that are impossible to achieve nor should they be given targets that are so low that eventually, they feel no sense of accomplishment.
The modern-day sales environment differs greatly from what it was in the past. With the advent of technology, the sales process has undergone dramatic changes and today the process has moved beyond people sitting at their desks dialing number after number or on the field with a big backpack.
What has made the sales process simpler is the use of sales management tools. These tools streamline the sales process and help your team focus on tasks that require their attention the most.
Measuring your sales team’s performance is important not only for them but for the entire company as well. Measuring sales executives’ performance lets you know where improvements are needed. The more transparent the reporting, the better. You will have a clearer picture of the sales executives’ performance.
An unsupportive environment can seriously hurt the morale of sales executives. Hence, demotivation starts to creep in. Avoid letting that happen. Encourage open dialogue, have one-to-one meetings with each sales executive, also have group interactions. Make your work environment welcoming, not hostile.
Managing your sales team is more than assigning tasks and keeping track of their performance and keeping your team motivated is more than putting up motivational quotes or speeches.
Here are the 7 best tips to manage and motivate your sales team:
To motivate and manage your sales team, you must first know them. Get to know each sales executive, ask them about themselves, and learn about their strengths and weaknesses. It is impossible to know what will motivate and keep your team working effectively unless you know them well.
Executives can become really frustrated when they don’t know what is expected of them. A frustrated sales executive is unlikely to perform well. This is one of the reasons why clear communication is so important.
Let your sales team know how their performance is evaluated, why certain goals are set, how the company is doing, and everything else they need to know. Be sure they are not just part of the company on paper, but actually involved in the development of your company.
Trust does not imply that you take your eyes off your sales executives’ performance but taking an overly micro managerial approach to your sales team is not a good idea. Interfering in every aspect of what they do will only make them more frustrated and will reflect poorly on you as well.
Rather than focusing on what should be accomplished, emphasize how it should be achieved as working on the means will help you achieve the ends. How are you going to achieve results if your sales activities are not properly aligned?
The appreciation of your sales team is important, but attaching monetary rewards fuels them on an entirely different level. Money is one of the most powerful motivators, and incentivizing your sales team will encourage them to go the extra mile to reach their targets.
Money and rewards are fine, but sometimes a simple “thank you” can go a long way. There are many things that salespeople deal with each day, from angry customers to repeated rejections, and if you choose to thank them for their efforts, that will only make their day better.
Often, it is said that the first impression is the last, so what would you like your first impression on your sales lead to be?
Your sales pitch decides whether the conversation with the lead will move forward or not.
Most importantly, the key to a good sales pitch is keeping it conversational, not formal. Don’t make it a monologue, ask relevant questions, listen and understand what your prospect says and then answer because the last thing anyone wants to deal with today is a pushy salesperson.
The above-mentioned points were more cold-calling centric, now let’s take your website or social media accounts, what you put there is also your sales pitch. Ensure what you put there is relevant and not just a dry bunch of information.
Show them what it means to be associated with you and what is the experience that you offer. Make your messaging compelling, not pressing.
Remember, your sales pitch isn’t about you, it is about whom you’re trying to sell to.
Repetitive sales activities can make it difficult for your sales team to give their undivided attention to the sales activities that require more of their time.
The advent of technology has revolutionized sales greatly. Gone are the days when a sales executive had to peer over multiple pages or excel sheets and dial each number manually. The growing adoption of sales management software has made it easier for the sales teams to overcome the challenges brought by a manually lead sales process.
From capturing and maintaining all your customer information in one place to helping you make more informed decisions to generate more sales, using sales management software adds immense value to your sales process.
When you handle sales leads manually, you are more likely to commit an error. The risk of losing them increases if they are spread out between multiple Excel sheets or even on random pages of a notebook.
Using the right sales management software will help businesses enhance their lead management and maximize their sales lead conversion. Furthermore, it will enable teams to access necessary customer data easily and help them to improve their interactions with customers.
A business’ revenue is directly impacted by the efficiency and productivity of its sales team. A business has difficulty growing its revenue if its sales executives spend more time doing administrative tasks than actually selling.
In addition to streamlining the sales process, sales management tools will allow sales executives to invest more time in sales activities that require the most attention. The right tool will automate tedious tasks like manually dialing each number, keeping track of follow-ups, etc.
Sales executives often find it extremely frustrating to connect and later stay in touch with customers by manually storing each contact. Also, it becomes harder to remember what was discussed last.
Even though some may think saving a couple of minutes will make no difference. However, that isn’t the main concern here. Here, what matters most is how underutilization of time affects your sales executives’ productivity.
If you fail to communicate regularly with your customers, your relationship with them will be negatively impacted. The customer has a lot of options today, so if you are out of sight, you are out of mind. Fortunately, sales management tools prevent this from happening.
A variety of features, such as multichannel communication, reminders, task management, predefined messages, and scripts, improve customer communication.
You can make better decisions when you know where your sales process stands and how your sales executives are performing. An unclear sales lead and sales team status damages the growth of your business.
A sales management software helps you keep track of your sales leads and team performance on a real-time basis, so you know where things are going well and where actions are needed.
Running a business smoothly involves your sales team performing efficiently, your leads converting continuously, and you knowing how each of them is doing. But if your process has too many gaps, your business will suffer.
Businesses need to understand the importance of sales management, it’s not a process that can be compromised. If there’s a way to improve it, then it’s definitely worth implementing. There are a number of free sales and marketing tools available today that significantly improve the sales process.
Having the right sales management tools is crucial to staying in business today.
In recent years, the difference between sales and marketing has blurred significantly, making the two nearly the same.
Despite the blurred difference between sales and marketing, the distinction is nonetheless there. Marketing is about getting people to take notice of your product or service, whereas sales is about closing deals.
Here’s an infographic that explains the difference between sales and marketing:
Sales and marketing have evolved tremendously over the years. Sales have moved beyond sales executives making endless calls from their desks and marketing has moved beyond glossy pamphlets that come with the newspapers.
Following are some of today’s common types of sales and marketing:
Inside sales is sales done remotely rather than in person. Although it has been around since people began using mobile phones, it has become increasingly popular since the pandemic.
As businesses become more adept at using communication channels and sales management tools, inside sales become increasingly popular among them. This method is highly preferred because it allows for a great deal more prospecting as compared to field sales.
In field sales, sales representatives go out and meet with prospects face-to-face. Field sales reps are often on the move, meeting potential customers and pitching to them.
Due to the fact that they must travel to various places in order to meet prospects or customers, a field sales executive cannot meet a large number of people in one day.
An inbound sales lead is one that is somewhat or completely interested in your product or services. Inbound sales are about qualifying that sales lead into a paying customer.
To put it simply, a potential client approaches you directly to ask about the product or service you provide without you having to approach them, that is what inbound sales is.
E-commerce or online sales is widely used by companies that only sell online. In contrast to the others, it does not require interaction with a salesperson or anyone from the company.
In order to leverage this model effectively, it is important to observe which products are being sold and what kind of interface is being offered to consumers on the company’s website. You need to make sure your company’s page, website, or application is as informative as possible.
The sales team pays special attention to high-value clients in this type of sales. Usually, in other types of sales, there is just one sales executive communicating with a client, but in account-based sales, several sales executives are assigned the same account.
Such sales are often big and bring in a considerable amount of revenue if the account makes a purchase. However, account-based sales are best suited for businesses with large enterprise accounts.
Today’s marketing involves much more than placing ads in newspapers, magazines, and on billboards and radio. The promotion of brands has evolved tremendously over the years and now we have so many channels at our disposal that choosing which one to use is the hardest part, not the lack of channels.
Outbound marketing involves reaching out to consumers to raise awareness of your products or services – regardless of whether or not they have an interest in your offerings.
This concept could be explained as businesses casting a wide net in hope of gaining as many customers as possible. This type of marketing benefits your business if you are seeking to reach out on a larger scale.
Inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing in that it doesn’t involve pushing your brand in front of your target audience. Your goal here is to attract people to you.
In this type of marketing, you must regularly deliver engaging content for your target audience to take notice of your brand. Once attracted, they will come to you directly.
Digital marketing is defined as marketing done through online or digital channels such as social media, email, websites, etc.
Over 60% of the world’s population uses the internet regularly. Digital marketing offers the possibility of reaching larger numbers of people. Interaction and engagement online are higher than they are with traditional methods.
The use of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc. has become increasingly popular among people, and these platforms are also the easiest way to reach your target audience.
A great marketing strategy such as social media marketing can produce excellent results, but you will have to keep your engagement relevant and consistent.
Make sure you provide as much relevant content as possible so that your target audience feels compelled to buy your product and keep your efforts consistent. Posting once every two to three months will not cause people to remember you.
According to popular opinion, this is the most powerful type of marketing. Compared to the claims a brand makes for itself, a family member or friend’s opinion is regarded more highly. However, this is not something that can be forced on people.
The marketing approach benefits businesses that make great efforts to nurture their existing clientele. Customers who are happy with your product or service will definitely recommend it to anyone they know who might benefit from it.
Increasing your brand awareness, promoting your product or service or simply, communicating with your leads, prospects, and customers through email are called email marketing.
If you are sending out cold emails, they are certain things you should keep in mind:
The following statistics show which days and which times are best to send emails to your prospects and customers:
Marketing activities aim to generate leads that will become new customers and grow the business. To achieve this, however, it is crucial that marketing and sales are deeply integrated.
When sales and marketing work together, better results are achieved than when they work separately. By aligning your marketing and sales teams properly, your conversions can be increased by 38% and your revenue can be increased by 32%.
Today, marketing has as much to do with sales as sales have to do with marketing. A strong alignment between them can boost your sales manifold. From increasing brand awareness and attracting more leads to closing sales faster and growing profits, aligning marketing with sales is imperative.
Let’s begin by defining what marketing channels are. A marketing channel is any platform or place where businesses can market/advertise their product or service to their target audience.
Marketing channels can broadly be divided into online and traditional channels.
More than 60% of the world is online today, hence, promoting your product or service online will bring better results as compared to traditional channels.
Your website serves as a portal for visitors to learn more about your company and services. A user-friendly website with all the information presented enhances brand identity and builds awareness.
Unlike some years ago when one common message was blasted to a list, today’s emails can be more personalized.
Businesses can use paid ads to target specific demographics.
Adding chat boxes to your website will make it more interactive. A major plus is that customers can find answers to specific questions as well as get directed to other resources for more information.
Although traditional marketing isn’t as effective as it used to be, it’s still prevalent today. There are still wall paintings, pamphlets, television ads, newspaper ads, radio ads, etc., but our attention is now more focused on our mobile devices than on the huge billboards we see while we’re out.
A sound understanding of marketing channels can help businesses create the right messaging and focus their budgets on the right channels.
Almost everything has its good and bad attributes. The same applies to marketing and sales processes. Your business’ success depends on the success of your sales and marketing efforts. If something goes wrong somewhere, it can stunt your business growth.
Here are some of the benefits and disadvantages of these two processes:
These advantages are conditional on how well-planned your sales and marketing initiatives are and, most importantly, how successfully you carry them out.
If your sales and marketing strategies are not aligned with your business goals or are aligned but not executed properly, you will be at a great disadvantage.
In a digital age where the customers are becoming increasingly aware and research-oriented, the traditional role of sales and marketing has also changed.
While a robust sales and marketing team can work wonders for your business, an outdated one can feel like you are hemorrhaging resources.
Affordability and availability of resources are the foremost factors businesses should consider before creating two additional departments. With expertise in sales and marketing, comes a great cost. Both departments will require certain resources to function optimally.
If not done properly, the ROI will be much less, which will directly affect the business revenue.
If businesses do have enough funds for a marketing and sales team, they should be set in place before creating the product. It is a mistake most businesses make while launching a product.
The sales and marketing team do not come into the picture after product creation but during it. With extensive research and customer feedback, businesses create a product most suited for customers’ needs.
The marketing and sales team cannot function in absence of up-to-date data. It is the initial and most crucial step to an effective sales and marketing strategy. Businesses should not think twice before investing in good-quality data collection resources. If used rightly, data can be their best friend.
The traditional set-up of sales and marketing results in limited interaction between the two departments, when in fact the two are meant to work hand-in-hand. Businesses must put systems in place that make sure that the two departments remain in contact during all stages of business.
For example, direct customer interaction provides the sales team valuable insights that can be used by the marketing team to create even persuasive strategies. Similarly, the sales team could benefit from knowing the key marketing points used by the brand for better sales.
Both the departments could also share information collected by the customer so that the customer does not have to provide the same details at various stages.
While hiring sales and marketing employees, businesses should look into their knowledge of online systems. As the world moves increasingly to digital platforms, a brand must create its online presence.
Not only should the marketing team focus on social media platforms, but the sales team also needs to ensure that purchasing the product online is a seamless, trustworthy, and hassle-free process.
Another option a business should consider before setting up a sales and marketing team is whether they should train in-house employees, or outsource the services from experts. The answers may vary from business to business depending on the brand image that needs to be created.
Whether you call these two processes sales and marketing or marketing and sales, what remains the same is the immense importance these two processes hold for a business. In their definitions, these processes may seem simple, but when you start exploring them, many layers are revealed.
In this guide, we have tried to cover as much as possible about sales and marketing. What remains is for you to find and implement the right strategies for your business.
Marketing is all about letting the customer know why they need your product or service, and how it’s better than the rest. The basics of marketing include generating awareness for your product, convincing the customer why it’s best in the market, and finally delivering easy and actionable steps to buy the product.
The golden rule of marketing is: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Marketers should think from the customer’s point of view and promote their products accordingly.
The four types of selling are:
A salesperson must have a certain set of qualities that helps them in successful revenue generation. They must carefully balance being assertive during their sales pitch by neither being too aggressive nor too passive.
It is crucial for a salesperson to be an effective problem solver, and create custom solutions for customer’s needs. Lastly, a salesperson should empathize and ensure that the customer’s needs are taken care of.
Sales refer to the activities conducted by a business to sell its product to a customer or another business.
It is an elaborate process beginning from lead generation, providing solutions to prospective customers, etc., to finally closing the deal. The sales team of an organization is directly responsible for its revenue and a satisfactory customer experience.
B2B sales refers to ‘business-to-business’ sales. The sales team sells the product or services to help facilitate another business. Since the product or service is an integral part of another business, they tend to be costlier.
B2C sales refers to ‘business-to-customer’ sales. The sales team sells the product or services to individual customers for personal use. Since such products or services tend to be for individual consumption, they are less expensive and complex.
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