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Sales vs. Marketing: Who Really Drives Sales?

Sales vs. Marketing: Who Really Drives Sales?

Sticky brands exist in almost every industry. They’re the brands that customers trust and turn to first. So, if your brand isn’t sticky, why not?  Branding expert Jeremy Miller shows organizations of all sizes what it takes to attract consumers like bees to honey. With clients including BMO, Leon’s, and Boehringer Ingelheim, Jeremy’s blend of humour, stories, and actionable ideas inspire creative strategies to help organizations find their “sticky factor” to entice more business, sell faster, become immune to the competition, and earn higher profits. Jeremy explores the intersection between sales and marketing, below:

“Salespeople drive sales” is a myth. It’s simply not the case. Salespeople don’t generate demand for your products and services, they service it.

This may seem counterintuitive, but look at the primary tasks of a sales professional. Salespeople work the sales funnel, facilitate the buying process, negotiate and close.

Yes, you can delegate top of the funnel activities to your sales team, but they don’t have many tools to leverage. When salespeople don’t have any leads they cold call and network — both are pretty weak marketing options in a digital marketplace.

The top of the funnel, where we create demand, is marketing’s responsibility.

The 3T’s of Sales Performance

Exceptional sales talent is not enough to move the sales needle. Your company’s sales performance is predicated on three variables:

  • Territory
  • Timing
  • Talent

And their impact on your organization is in that order.

Territory: The market will dictate what it will buy. A weak sales rep in a great territory will outperform a superstar in a poor sales territory. The number one predictor of sales performance is territory.

Timing: The economy and market conditions influence sales potential. As the old saying goes, even turkeys can fly in a hurricane. Everyone does well in a hot market. On the other hand, a recession can hurt your sales performance.

Talent: Great salespeople do make a difference — when they’re selling the right product in the right market. There really is no substitute for great sales talent. Working with weak salespeople is like driving on bald tires. It doesn’t matter how hard you step on the gas, you just can’t get traction. Great salespeople make all the difference.

To Drive Sales Grow Territory

Territory, not talent, is the most important lever to push to improve sales performance.

There are lots strategies a brand can employ to increase territory demand. Here are three examples to give you some context and get the creative juices flowing:

  • Path of Search. Get your brand in front of more people, especially active buyers. Google AdWords and Facebook advertising are ideal in this pursuit, but there are plenty of other outlets to consider. Use the media, both free and paid, to make your brand appear to be everywhere within your desired market.
  • Stand on the Shoulders of Giants. Partner your way to greater brand awareness. Channel partnerships are ideal to increase visibility and credibility, because you are leveraging a larger, more recognized brand. These partnerships are also valuable, because they open up new distribution channels. Who can your company partner with to reach new markets, engage more customers, and build greater brand awareness?
  • Try Before You Buy. Freemium models are ideal for undercutting the competition while giving your sales team direct access to potential customers. Get a customer to sign-up for a free product or service so that your sales team can up-sell them into a bigger solution.

Growing territory potential is a combination of marketing campaigns and product development. It requires looking at your market from a variety of angles, and finding ways to reach and engage every possible customer.

Sales and marketing aren’t competing in the pursuit of driving sales. Both are responsible for it. If marketing drives demand then the sales team will do what it does best, sell.

Jeremy Miller/September, 2016