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We often hear the term “sales and marketing” used together in business. While the terms are not synonymous, they do share the same goal for the organization. 

Marketing can be defined as everything that comes before (and sometimes after) a sale. This includes how the organization positions its messaging, online presence, and even company colors. These fundamentals are where marketing starts. Branden O’Neil, CEO of Atlas Rose Marketing Leadership, calls these “brand standards.”

Modern organizations use multiple channels to reach customers where they are, such as tradeshows, social media, traditional advertising, and dozens of other ways.

Your marketing efforts should “warm-up” a prospect before they speak to a salesperson or make a purchase online. Once a lead is identified, it should clear a predetermined criteria before being passed to the sales department. We call this a marketing qualified lead (MQL).

Technology has evolved, so it’s easier to tell where your marketing success is coming from. Salespeople can be notified via a customer relationship management (CRM) system when a lead comes in. They’ll be able to see if they have interacted with any outbound emails, downloaded any information, and even see what website pages they have visited. It’s the advantage every salesperson is looking for.  

O’Neil says, “As Chief Marketing Officers, we are keenly aware that a sale isn’t made until money is exchanged. We see our function as the one that seeks out new people to do business with. Through technology, we’ll nurture that lead and give opportunities for them to tell us what their interests are and how we might best serve their needs. After a sale is made, marketing jumps back in to help deliver a seamless and pleasurable customer experience. 

This is why it’s critical that the sales and marketing departments have a tight relationship. 

Usually, labor cost is among the top expenses of any company. How you use your salespeople’s time is important; that’s why marketing is the key to a healthy company and effective salesforce. 

Duane Reiff, VP with Sales Xceleration contributes, “If we can help it, I don’t want our salespeople calling stone-cold leads. It’s just not an effective use of time because the chance of closing is too low. However, I would never hire someone that wasn’t willing to do it. If the marketing department is working well, our salespeople will only spend time with people that have previously demonstrated interest (warm leads.) 

I want the sales department to interact with only the hottest of leads that have the highest percentage of closing—anything else should be the role of marketing.

He’s quick to add, “Marketing has its limits. Every incoming lead is slightly different. In the end, we’re all people that deserve some special attention. Skilled salespeople are trained listeners that can give people what they want when they want it. The human function can make exceptions, escalate calls, and bend to put a deal together.  

Marketing does make the sales function more effective. It can make a good sales team great. 

“The happiest salespeople are ones that are well supported by marketing.” 

Duane Reiff, Sales Xceleration

Reiff and O’Neil agree. Yes, sales and marketing are often said in the same breath. However, understanding how both serve each other is the not-so-secret formula for success. 

The best sales-marketing relationship

The best-performing companies have sales and marketing leaders that work together and don’t use each other as a convenient excuse when the company is underperforming. Without seamless communication, each department would be left guessing the right tactics and strategy. Each should have an equal seat at the executive table.  Don’t let these questions linger in your organization:

  • Are sales and marketing targeting the same prospect segment at the same time?
  • Is the prospect confused when they speak with a salesperson?
  • Are there changes in the features, advantages, and benefits of the product or service?
  • Is marketing working? Are sales conversions being tracked?
  • Are all the leads being followed up? 
  • What special incentives is the sales department offering that marketing may leverage?

One great example of how marketing and sales can work together is in the case of Tru Cordis, a company that provides criminal background checks. They also happen to be an Atlas Rose client. 

O’Neil and his marketing team devised a strategy called Account-Based Marketing. It’s used when we already know who the potential customers are. In this case, sales delivered a list of high-value companies Tru Cordis needed to do business with. From there, O’Neil and his team got to work creating custom landing pages specifically written and designed to reach each individual company prospect.  “We know that the more relevant the message is to a customer, the more likely they will be moved to action.” Says O’Neil. The strategy called for pushing traffic and interest to these pages. It was complete with an authentic video message from the CEO talking about how the companies were seemingly matched already through their shared values.  

Without the initial (and ongoing) collaboration, this strategy never would have worked. The company would have spent thousands of dollars marketing to companies that were not an ideal match for sales strengths. 

The strategy is beautiful, elegant, organized, and most of all, effective. “This is what working smarter, not harder looks like,” says O’Neil.

O’Neil and Reiff have advice for CEO’s and business owners: Get your departments working together, and don’t tolerate finger-pointing when it comes to the entire revenue generation process. When success does happen, be quick to recognize how multiple departments (and individuals) contributed. After all, we’re all on the same team. 

About Sales Xceleration

Sales Xceleration provides business owners with an experienced Sales Consultant to drive revenue when it is needed most. Sales Xceleration Advisors build sales engines to generate record-breaking growth for your business by:

  • Creating Your Sales Plan
  • Finding Your Best Customers and Sales Team Members
  • Growing Your Sales

For additional information, please visit