Villing & Company

Sales and Marketing: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Whenever business planning and strategy conversations take center stage, a debate heats up between sales and marketing: which one leads the charge to meet next year’s growth goal? Traditional selling is often represented as the “tried and true” process while marketing, specifically content marketing in the digital era, is still “new fangled” in the minds of some business leaders. With the introduction of new online and digital marketing tools, the friction between these two has only intensified. Now add the element of artificial intelligence (AI) and you have a true dilemma. Why not call a draw and find the best way to deploy each one simultaneously? Let’s explore that idea further.

Sales and Marketing: Can't We All Just Get Along?

Traditional Sales

The tried and true method of business growth has always been to follow a very traditional sales strategy. This approach used a combination of cold calls, sales appointments and direct mail, and was very effective at finding and producing new customers. These methods are facing stiff headwinds, however, with the opportunities that this new digital age has brought to the marketplace.

This direct sales approach continues to have certain advantages, such as direct contact with prospective customers and immediate feedback. The downside is that it has become more intrusive and less personal in today’s more individualized landscape. Also, unlike digital interactions, it happens on the salesperson’s schedule, not the prospect’s. 

Content Marketing

Digital and content marketing has introduced a very unique shift in how businesses communicate and connect with their customers. Instead of presenting their products and services directly and in-person, this new approach indirectly interacts with the prospective customer and is designed to engage the audience over a longer period of time. Some of the tools used include social media, videos, blog posts and the company’s website. This is clearly a ‘softer’ approach than direct sales. Trust and authority are built by repeated connections through the various digital channels being used. All of this results in a strong company brand being developed and tends to generate more engaged and loyal customers.

Conversion Strategies

With traditional sales tactics, the approach is very direct and aimed at making an immediate sale. While this method works well for a one-time sale, most brands are looking to retain customers and develop a strong connection between the brand and the customer. Content marketing seeks a more subtle approach through sustained interactions with the brand via social media, blogs, and other valuable content. 

Content marketing is focused more on stimulating the customer to move towards the product or service, instead of selling it to them. It has often been said that ‘customers don’t want to be sold, but they love to buy.’ That really sums up the difference between these two methods. 

The Long Game

A meaningful relationship, whether in business or socially, requires repeated interactions. Creating customer loyalty calls for much more than an immediate sale. Effective content marketing can be a very powerful way to establish and grow a company brand. This results in customers that keep coming back. When it is combined with traditional sales tactics, the two can create significant growth opportunities.

Many companies that have found a balance between these two methods typically start out with content marketing in order to introduce the brand and then switch to traditional tactics once the impression has been made. Digital marketing can identify a new customer and generate interest. Then a more traditional sales approach can reach out directly and bring the customer on board.

A Final Word

As with any business strategy, there is no one-size fits all approach. Whether you solely rely on content marketing or traditional selling, or a blend of the two, the strategy needs to meet you where you are. Ideally, the real synergy exists by adopting the best of both approaches. Finding the next new customer is important, and converting and keeping them is even more important. That is a winning strategy.

Villing & Company

Villing & Co
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130 S Main St, Suite 315
South Bend IN 46601

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