At larger companies, there is a sales team and a marketing team. Back in the long-ago times when people worked in offices, those teams may work on different sides of the building, unable to even peep over the top of their cubicle to put a face to the email address that reaches out every couple of weeks. Those days are over.
Your marketing team is your sales team. Branding and marketing efforts should be synonymous with sales, and there’s evidence to suggest that the artificial divide between these two departments haven’t just blurred, but disappeared. The reason for the shift in technology, but it’s also about expectations.
For decades, salesmen strolled into offices with a carpetbag full of products and pitched. No matter the industry, the process was essentially a dance, a show, and, crucially, something like a negotiation. The salesman, almost by definition, saw their customer as an antagonist, an interlocutor who needed to be convinced, cajoled, or influenced into a purchase. The salesperson had to embody the company he or she represented and be the brand, live and in the flesh. Every element of trust, quality, or utility came from that person and whatever reputation walked into the room with them.
Even before COVID-19 made face-to-face meetings difficult and dangerous, that style has been dying off. In a digital world, every possible sale can be accessed remotely; both B2B and B2C customers can compare an endless amount of options in just a few clicks. Information and accessibility have made the sales representative almost superfluous. That’s also why cold calls and cold emails have become almost archaic; they’re a thinly veiled version of the marketing emails we might actually want to open, but somehow less honest.
And it’s trust that marketing has finally learned from sales. To trust a brand is to know their product, to understand their philosophy, and connect with their message. We used to need a person, an actual face to trust. Now, the pervasive and very human tone of social media allows businesses to build the same level of trust and connection all of the time, even when the customer isn’t even shopping.
Marketing also takes that trust and builds a two-way relationship. For some of our clients, one of the highest forms of compliment is to see their products or service recognized on social media. It turns a transaction into a conversation and provides instant feedback, acknowledgment, and a valuable endorsement that builds even more trust and prestige in other potential customers. It’s a very visible, tangible form of the old school “word of mouth”, something that lives forever in the digital space.
Sales and marketing have always been linked, but marketing has always been the basis of sales. The hardest, harshest, most devastating retort to a sales pitch is that the customer or client hasn’t heard of you. Why? Because it means you have no established trust, no reputation to lean on. Marketing is your brand, your reputation, and your trust, so that not only will customers recognize your logo, they’ll know all about the heart and soul of your business before they even open the door.