Difference Between Sales and Marketing

Difference Between Sales and Marketing Sep 14, 2018 - Marcel Odena

Where is the limit between the responsibilities of the marketing department and the sales department? From my point of view the main function of the sales department is to sell, generate contracts (deals) that in return generate income and if it can be recurrent for the company better (ARR – Annual Recurring Revenue). The main marketing functions from my point of view can be grouped into these two:

  1. Generate qualified leads so that the sales department can start the sales process.
  2. Make good marketing : this implies a lot of things, having a good website that explains well what the company offers, making clear the value it brings. Generate awareness to make the company known to its target audience. Position the company in the “short list” of the user, super important, very prior to being able to sell anything is to be placed in the ranking of suppliers that the user has in mind. And then educate and escort the user during the entire trip he has to do from the discovery phase (awareness) to the consideration and purchase phase.

Sales Accepted Leads (SAL), the agreed metric between marketing and sales

The marketing department could generate 1000 leads and none of them could be worth to the sales department. To avoid this, before generating leads you have to be clear about the “buyer persona”, you have to define the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). And you have to formalize what features a lead must have to be considered “good” by the sales department. Let’s suppose you remember that a Sales Accepted Lead has to meet this profile:

  • The lead has to have some responsibility within the area of finance.
  • The lead has to work for a relatively large company, with more than 50 workers and up to 10,000 employees..
  • The company has to belong to certain industries.

Once the desired lead profile has been agreed upon and formalized, marketing goes to work to obtain leads with this profile. As the leads are entering the lead management system an evaluation or qualification is made to see if it meets the requirements to be considered a SAL or not. The rules for evaluating if a lead is SAL are objective, so the verdict should be clear and meridian. In the worst case there could be a very small percentage of all leads, 5% for example, if there were doubts as to whether it is SAL or not. With the rest, there should be no doubts. If not, the definition of SAL is not sufficiently clear (or we do not gather enough data from the user to be able to evaluate if it meets the requirements).

Percentage of Leads to Sales Accepted Leads (% LeadToSAL)

Once we have defined what is a SAL you can automatically calculate how many SAL we have got over the total of leads achieved. And therefore we can calculate a very interesting metric, the percentage of leads that qualify SAL. 100% would mean that we do an ultra-precise marketing and all the leads we achieve meet the desired profile. A very low percentage of lead to SAL (% LeadToSAL) of 5% would mean that we are not doing our marketing well, that we are not targeting the right audience and/or we don’t do the content strategy correctly, etc. A 5% percentage of LeadToSAL would mean that only 5 out of 100 leads meet the desired requirements, in other words, sales could only use 5 leads to start the sales process.

A SAL is like a baton in a relay race.

For me a SAL (Sales Accepted Lead) is like the baton who gives one runner to the next in a relay race: once runner 1 delivers the baton to runner 2, there it finishes his mission. Your mission is to run as fast as possible and deliver the baton to the next runner. In this case it is obvious that runner 1 has no responsibility for the fact that runner 2 does his job well, which is also running as fast as he can.

Taking this simile, imagine the marketing department generating SAL type leads (running a lot) and when you have them, you deliver them to the sales department, they pass the baton. Once delivered the leads SAL. sales has a mission: get sales.

Is responsible marketing of sales selling?

Assuming that marketing has done its job well (has created a good website, a good content plan, etc.), in my view marketing is not responsible for the sales department to get sales. It is not responsible for the success of the sales process on the SALs that marketing has given to them, much less on the leads that it obtains on its own. Selling has a lot of art and a lot of science, and the professionals who are dedicated to it are able to sell. It is not the responsibility of the marketing department that sales professionals do their job correctly.

Should marketing positively influence closing sales?

Yes, totally. From my point of view marketing not only has to provide Sales Accepted Leads, but also do what I said at the beginning of the article (in point 2), make good marketing, generate good content to educate the user, to get the user’s engagement , make webinars with references of the industry, generate ebooks, quality videos, etc.

Marketing Influenced Sales Pipeline

And how can the influence of marketing be measured in generating pipeline (business)?

  1. If the sale comes from a lead achieved by Marketing, the influence and merit of marketing is clear.
  2. If the sale comes from a lead (prospect) not achieved by Marketing, but influenced, there is a metric that is Marketing Influenced Sales Pipeline, which is the turnover that has been generated from sales but marketing has managed to influence. How do you know? The contracts (deals) are closed talking with one person or several from the company. If these people (leads) interact with the digital assets of the company, they sign up for webinars, download ebooks, click on advertising banners, they read the articles of the blog, open the emails of the newsletter, etc. we are clearly influencing those leads. We can say that the sale has been closed obviously by the merit of sales professionals and thanks to marketing strategies.

Account Based Marketing

This strategy is aimed at coordinating marketing and sales efforts: defining accounts that you want to achieve and making a combined strategy. Marketing getting leads from those companies and influencing those leads, and sales getting sales from those leads and the contacts that the department can get himself in those companies.

In other words, what is described in the previous sections for me continues to apply, and the division of responsibilities continues to be clear.

Each department, with its mission

Marketing, generate Sales Accepted Leads and influence leads. Sales, generate sales.

It is good that the departments are coordinated, that they speak, that they add up and more, but without forgetting the functions that each department has and the responsibilities.

Companies that want to grow quickly need to generate a lot of business in a short time, and this implies that each department focuses on its functions and responsibilities. For the good of all.

And you, what is your opinion?

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Marcel Odena

Marcel Odena

CEO at Magnetica Advertising | LinkedIn Ads Expert

Since 2013 I've been working in the Pay Per Click Advertising Industry. I manage Google and LinkedIn Ads accounts for several B2B companies. I work to deliver results to my clients as well to contribute to do better B2B marketing. I like to learn and share my knowledge at the same time.