Myth Busting Strategy: Sales Management

“Corporate Strategic Strategy for the Strategic Roadmap!” There are so many ways to use the same word, aren’t there? Sometimes when the business community uses a word too much, it loses its meaning. In previous posts, we’ve taken the time to discuss other common strategy-related terms, such as Innovation and Operational, and now we will conclude our Strategy Myth Busting series with what may be the most confusing of all: Sales and Marketing Strategies. (BTW: No, they are not the same, but, yes, in well-run organizations they should be closely aligned!)

How These Strategies Work

First of all, many of us use the terms sales strategy and marketing strategy interchangeably. Even seasoned marketers will let this slide because it’s often not worth the energy to make corrections, but we have found that it only serves to increase confusion. To clarify things, here is our breakdown of each strategy:

Marketing Strategy

Companies that are marketing driven take a very strategic approach to everything they do (as described in the first two blogs in this series). All decisions are made with target customer needs, company capabilities, and competitive data as their guides. It sets the rails for what products are best, what price should be set, how delivery is executed, and, finally, how to promote your product. This advisory role to the CEO forces decisions to be made with data AND the company vision in mind. Communicating that vision and decision then requires telling others about it. This is where some of us get hung up: on Promotion. The word, in and of itself, has many components. Content, executables, events, you name it! They all belong in promotion.

Sales Strategy

The Sales Team is highly motivated to attain their sales goals. If they have a great relationship with their Marketing Team, they have a head start. By leveraging the marketing data and insights, they can focus on making their sales number—in a targeted way. How can they do that? By knowing their customers. Who is the decision maker? How does your offer solve their problems? Don’t get caught up in details. Overcome objections. Close the deal! Often times, Sales has a specific need to devise a strategy around a particular audience or market. Aligning your team with a definitive strategy produces a focused, driven effort that ends in results.

Confusion Ensues

It’s easy to see where the two terms could get hung up in their own shorts! Marketing takes time and data. The Sales Team is motivated and incentivized to “make it happen” NOW. If the Sales Team is particularly industrious, they will need to make assumptions and decisions to stay on target for their goal. Using the marketing materials and communicating effectively to the prospective customers is a win/win for both departments.

The Bottom Line

Marketing and Sales Management need to work in alignment. When they are firing on all cylinders, there is no stopping them! But small warning: if Marketing and Sales are out of alignment, they will spin their wheels and waste a great deal of time and effort.

Are your teams aligned? How can you be sure? Sunbeam knows what questions to ask and how to get your teams working together. It’s amazing to see that “click” that turns Efforts into Action!