How to Mix Your Sales and Marketing Efforts – And Why You Should

A traditional sales campaign typically involves a sales force following up on new leads from website inquiries, calls for more information, purchased lead lists, and referrals. Your sales force (or perhaps that is you) makes calls on potential new customers, completes the “dog and pony show” and then continues to follow up in order to convert that lead into a sale. Usually, this effort is easily measurable. You either see results or you don’t. The process is black and white.

In marketing, measurable goals can appear a bit grayer. But they don’t have to be. Each and every time you implement a new marketing strategy, you must affirm that it is indeed measurable. Otherwise, how else will you know if your time and money was well spent? Ultimately, the key here is to actually blend your sales and marketing efforts together for maximum return on investment. When you tie these two together, measuring the end result actually becomes that much easier.

Measuring marketing efforts can be a scary thought. Just as sales people have quotas, the marketing crew needs a measure of accountability, because every dollar that you spend on creating awareness (and ultimately sales) for your business should deliver a return on that investment. Sometimes marketers get tagged as an expenditure because they’re known for spending, spending, spending. In truth, your marketers are responsible for generating the leads that are handed over to the closers.

There are ways to change this misconception. The first step is to create sales and marketing programs and initiatives that complement each other. Let’s take a look at a few ways of doing this and how you can make this work for you:

1. Brand recognition – Marketers are continually developing a brand or identity for a business, and while this may not result in direct sales, these ongoing efforts are critical in producing sales over the long haul. Consistent, strong branding messages create an image that is top of mind for your customers, so when it does come time for them to buy, they think of you and not your competitor. If you were to ignore your brand and not create a solid identity, your sales would suffer in the long run.

2. Measuring brand activity – While it’s important to create and maintain solid brand identity, in today’s economic climate, that simply isn’t enough. You must create a way to effectively measure the impact of your brand. With the emergence of online marketing and advertising, we can now actually measure this type of branding more easily. You can now add call tracking or click tracking to your online advertising campaigns and gauge to what degree your efforts are making an impact and which ones are falling flat. Don’t just assume that your brand is being recognized. Use it in ways that can measured and calculated with an ROI.

3. Marketing is the lead generation arm of sales – As mentioned earlier, the sales force typically follows up on leads, regardless of how they are generated. But how are they generated? Some may be purchased while others may result from referrals. Still, a good portion of them typically come from your advertising, PR, direct mail, and website activity that falls into a business’ marketing mix. One way to measure these efforts is to create tracking codes, distinct links, or personalized URLs (PURLs) for each marketing piece in order to quantify how many leads a particular campaign may generate. Add language to a direct mail piece like, “Mention this postcard to receive a free widget.” Or create a promotional code that is when a customer requests more information from your inquiry form on your website. These tactics will allow you to actually determine where your leads are coming from.

Marketing and sales are not separate and distinct functions. They must work in synch to be effective and powerful. You may have to get a bit more creative in how you measure ROI, but it is possible to gauge your marketing efforts just as easily as it is to be accountable for your sales tactics. If you continue to look at sales and marketing as a package instead of individual entities, your overall efforts will be easier to measure as well.