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Marketing is the New Sales

When I was in business school, one distinction professors taught was the difference between marketing and sales. Marketing involved getting the customer to the point of considering to make a purchase and sales involved convincing a prospect that their product or service would meet their needs and closing the sale. “Don’t confuse the two”, admonished one professor. However, times have changed dramatically in the last several decades. The boundaries between sales and marketing have blurred. Today, some might even say that marketing is the new sales.

Marketing is More Important Than Ever Before

Marketing departments today, whether they are in-house or outsourced, don’t just support the sales department; they actually generate revenue. In a SaaS company, they ARE the sales department. Marketing serves as the initial point of contact with your brand.

Lead Generation

In the pre-digital marketing days, a sales department would make cold calls or set out a fishbowl at a B2B convention to get leads. Today, it’s the marketing department, more often than not, that generates those leads. This is often a well-developed campaign that offers a free download from the website or simply an online form to request an appointment.

Pre-Qualifying Leads

Not only can your marketing department get leads for your salespeople, but marketing can also qualify those leads, so the sales department can concentrate on leads that are most likely to result in a sale. Targeting and segmentation play a solid role in helping your salespeople identify the people who are ready to buy from the merely curious.

Marketing & Sales Continuity

The barriers between marketing and sales keep falling. Continuing to treat marketing and sales separately is where companies make their biggest mistake. Customers only see one brand – not marketing and sales. Lack of consistent messaging and seamless transfers and handoffs is how the process breaks down. Having a clear, cooperative plan for messaging, lead ownership, and accountability is extremely important today.

Fair Funding

Sales departments often have larger staffs and by nature of being the final closer of deals, gets a larger budget to support their efforts. In reality, marketing is sometimes not given enough of the budget and headcount to support sales. If marketing is responsible for producing qualified leads, it only makes sense to give them a greater share of the overall budget, both in people and in dollars. Bonuses and commissions often favor sales and marketing leaders. It’s time for companies to reassess the compensation plans from the bottom up in both of these departments.

Thrifty Marketing

Allocating resources to marketing, however, doesn’t necessarily mean hiring and training a large marketing staff. For small and medium-sized companies outsourcing the majority of your marketing functions is a great way to execute without huge spending. Growth and startup companies often focus on sales first and add marketing when organic leads start drying up.  Allocating funds to a marketing agency and fully outsourcing your marketing function can be cost-effective until your business grows large enough to support an internal marketing team. 

Good marketing is essential to your bottom line. However, you don’t have to do all of the work yourself. At Pollock Marketing Group, we understand the importance of having a marketing plan and team to execute it. That can be internal, a combination, or fully outsourced. We work with you to find the right combination.