If you’re a sales-driven company, you may tend to view sales as the moneymaker and marketing as the money spender.
There’s some truth to that, but to be fair, the real role of marketing is to get the most appropriate customers and prospects to decide that your business is the best place to buy the products and services you provide. The tools available to accomplish these marketing tasks include print and broadcast advertising, the Internet, direct mail, telemarketing, public relations and sponsorships, among others.
Marketing and sales have a common goal of increasing revenues, even though they play separate and distinct functions. The following table compares the roles of sales and marketing:
The Sales Role
- Overcomes objections
- Closes the sale
- An event
- Very high cost per contact
- Reaches a limited audience
- Short-term results
- More customer resistance
- Encourages allegiance to the salesperson
The Marketing Role
- Heads off objections
- Paves the way, but doesn’t close
- A process
- Lower cost per contact
- Can reach a large audience
- Long-term results
- Less customer resistance
- Encourages allegiance to the company
Successful companies develop a complete strategic Marketing Plan that coordinates and drives the efforts of both sales and marketing. Your Marketing Plan is the roadmap for how your organization will achieve its goals by satisfying customer wants and needs, now and in the next few years. It will answer the WHO, WHAT, and HOW of your sales and marketing programs.
Your Marketing Plan should include a thorough analysis of WHO will be the focus of your marketing efforts for each product and service your dealership offers. This means developing a detailed profile of your most valuable customers–those who generate the greatest total profits for your business. You can then target your marketing and sales activities toward the most appropriate and interested customers and prospects.
The Plan will then identify WHAT messages will be conveyed to these target audiences. The messages should focus on benefits that are important to each specific target group. Some will focus on the benefits of a tangible product or service (special offers or pricing, new products, added services); others are intended to build the customer relationship or enhance the image of your business (thank you notes, writing and speaking, and post-transaction follow-up). The use of marketing tools to boost your company’s image and reputation is an important element of your Marketing Plan. Studies have found that between 70% and 90% of buying decisions are influenced by the reputation of the business.
In the tactical section of the Marketing Plan, HOW these messages will reach the target audience is defined. This includes various marketing tools such as advertising, trade shows and direct mail, as well as personal selling activities
Once the Marketing Plan has been developed, communicate it throughout the organization. This will enable sales and marketing to coordinate their efforts and consistently reinforce themes that are most important to your targeted customers.