The Critical Difference between Marketing and Sales Support

The Critical Difference between Marketing and Sales Support

Lumping sales support into your marketing department hamstrings your sales team’s effectiveness.

Though they need to work in tandem in most cases—unless your company sits on one of the far ends of the sales–marketing spectrum—sales and marketing are different disciplines.

How Sales and Marketing Work Together

Marketing broadcasts your company’s key messages to your defined target audiences—something one-on-one conversations cannot achieve with equal breadth, volume, and velocity.

Sales takes the broadcast messaging and lead-generation efforts of marketing teams and turns them into individualized, prospect-specific conversations that close deals.

Without marketing driving awareness and interest, nurturing the marketing funnel and drawing prospects into the sales funnel, sales would have a much harder job to achieve the same level of results.

And without sales finessing relationships with prospects and defining exactly what combination of products, services, and both will address their needs, marketers’ hard work would be for naught.

The Third Discipline: Sales Support

There’s a third discipline in this mix that some companies lump into the marketing department (or even entirely confuse with marketing): sales support.

Sales support addresses the items needed when prospects engage with salespeople. Sales support produces the materials sales teams need to facilitate one-on-one conversations and move them toward closed deals. Examples include proposals, prospect-tailored sales sheets and packets, and customized presentations for each sales meeting.

Important? Yes. Critical, even. Yet asking marketing people to develop sales-support materials is rarely a good use of marketing skills and talents.

And the same goes for asking salespeople to put these materials together. Their talents are better used talking to prospects and engaging with marketing-generated leads to qualify them, nurture them, and guide them toward close.

Where Sales Support Should Sit in the Corporate Organizational Chart

Smart companies put sales support in the sales department, where the professionals in charge of supporting sales activities can work in a directly assistive role with sales teams.

This close association helps the sales-support team create tailored materials that combine marketing’s messages and overarching guidance on the target audience with each salesperson’s conversation with each unique prospect. After all, a good sales proposal or sales-presented packet of materials is tailored to the recipient.

Knowing the Difference Improves Organizational Results

In the tiniest of companies, there’s little choice but to find someone who can do as well as he or she can with each of these disciplines. Yet, to be done well, each of these functions needs a separate skill set and core strength. And as everyone knows, the right tool is the only way to do the best possible job.

Need help thinking through how to organize and align your marketing, sales, and sales support teams? Contact FrogDog for an assessment.

Posted: Apr 08, 2019
Updated: Aug 17, 2020
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