Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Or should we say, which came first, sales or marketing? It seems that sales and marketing have a yin and yang relationship in which one cannot exist without the other. Without effective marketing, there are no prospects to whom to sell your product or service. And without salespeople to convert those prospects into customers, your marketing efforts are wasted.

While both sides have viable needs, Promotional Consultant Today is focusing this issue on the role of sales and what your marketing team needs to provide in order for sales to reach their goals.

Marissa Smith, owner and founder of the agency The Whole Brain Group, defines these three key elements that your marketing team must provide to sales as follows:

1. More Qualified Prospects. What are the characteristics of your ideal customer? What makes one prospect more qualified than another? Your marketing team should work with sales to create and document buyer personals—your ideal customers and their characteristics, pains, questions and motivations. Make sure your branding and messaging are designed to attract the right people to your business, and that you’re giving them the information they need at each stage of the buying cycle.

2. More Educated Prospects. What information do you find yourself repeating to prospects? What questions do your prospects ask at each stage of the buying process? Start by mapping out the stages of your customer’s buying/ decision-making process and make a list of the questions the buyer has at each stage. Then create content that answers their questions and helps them move to the next stage of the process. Content can range anywhere from information on a website to a cost calculator to a webinar.

3. Differentiation From Your Competition. Why are you losing customers to the competition? What are your market differentiators? Your marketing team should look at what your competitors are doing, both by tracking their market activities and by talking to customers. Then they should create go-to-market messages that help you stand apart. Smith suggests creating something like a sales tip sheet that talks about the “Top 10 Reasons Our Widgets Will Blow Your Mind.”

Think of marketing as the role of gaining the pulse and creating the message, and sales as delivering the messaging and building the need.

Source: Marisa Smith is owner and founder of The Whole Brain Group, an inbound marketing agency that incorporates the Entrepreneurial Operating System® into their culture.