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Why Sales and Marketing Have to Work Together if You Want to Win

Sales rep shaking hands with a marketing rep: sales and marketing
Sales and marketing are two sides of the same coin. When they work well together, your business results skyrocket. [Studio Science]

Learn how to create a strong partnership between two critical business teams to drive results.

On your marks. Get set. Go! Your marketing and sales teams are off and running — one of them conducting customer research and running ads and the other finding and nurturing prospects.

Wait a minute. Doesn’t that mean both of them are bringing in leads? How do you know leads which to go with — or which are best fits for your product? If you want your marketing and sales teams to reach the finish line together, they need to collaborate — not work at cross purposes.

Here’s how your marketing team can pass the baton to sales for powerful results, from the bang! of the starter’s gun to the breaking of the tape.

What you’ll learn:

Engage and close prospects from everywhere

Pull up CRM data for prospects even when you’re engaging with them outside your CRM — whether on social or online. 

Sales and marketing: a side-by-side comparison

Marketing and sales — two separate departments with distinct roles and responsibilities. However, savvy businesses know that to generate demand and close deals, you need to break down the teams’ silos and get them working together.

Let’s compare marketing and sales to see what they are, how they operate, and how you can get both teams aligned.

What is marketing?

Marketing is the team that handles brand and product promotion, generating interest with new and existing audiences. Marketers use research to identify a target audience, create and communicate value, and drive customer action. They aim to build brand awareness and increase demand for your product or service. Ultimately, they are tasked with finding the right leads to hand off to sales.

Marketing goals and process

Marketing uses existing customer data and target buyer behavior research to create targeted campaigns that generate interest in your brand, product, or service.

To create demand, marketers follow the four Ps of marketing: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Also sometimes referred to as the “marketing mix,” this is the framework for successfully promoting a product.

  1. Product: What you offer and its unique ability to solve customer needs. Marketers help articulate this and share product, brand, or service details with the target audience.
  2. Price: The perceived worth of your product, balancing profitability with customer appeal. Armed with competitive and marketing research, marketers explain pricing structures in a way that will create perceived value.
  3. Place: Where and how customers access your product. Target demographic data tells marketing teams where they should invest their budget. Print? Digital? Video? Where can they best place those advertisements so they reach the best leads?
  4. Promotion: Getting the word out about your product’s value and generating excitement through various channels. This is where the rubber meets the road, and messaging plus channel comes through.

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What is sales?

Sales is responsible for selling to prospects and customers — often leads delivered to them by marketing — nurturing customer relationships, and closing deals. They also expand revenue generation through upselling and cross-selling.

Sales goals and process

After marketing has done their job attracting interest, sales takes the baton (that is, the leads generated from marketing campaigns). From here, they handle every stage of the sales process — a set of steps sales teams follow to complete a deal. A good sales process is:

  • Customer-centric: Aligns to customer buying habits and processes, leading to higher success and satisfaction
  • Clear and actionable: Ensures stakeholders understand every step in the process, minimizing confusion and delays
  • Replicable: Allows consistent performance and scaling across the sales teams, easy to follow, and easy to apply to different scenarios
  • Predictable: Enables informed resource allocation and risk mitigation by redefining expected outcomes for each stage
  • Goal-oriented: Provides direction and keeps motivation focused on results and goal achievement
  • Measurable: Tracks progress, identifies areas for improvement, and demonstrates value; sales teams ensure every action in the sales process is quantifiable
  • Flexible: Adapts to market changes and unforeseen circumstances such as customer needs, digital transformation, and sales operations improvement

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Sales and marketing scopes: What’s the difference?

Based on what you’ve learned so far, it might sound as if marketing and sales work best separately. A closer look at their scopes reveals how they work together.

As we said earlier, marketing’s job is to generate interest. They do this through advertising, social media campaigns, content marketing efforts, and more. The sales scope is similar but focuses on interactions with individual people or buying groups. For both B2B and B2C, the traditional sales funnel incorporates a top, middle, and bottom section. Via collaboration, the marketing and sales teams want to quickly move prospects from the top of the funnel to the bottom. Let’s take a closer look at what that means.

Top of the funnel: awareness and interest

This is typically marketing’s domain. Marketing’s goal is to build brand recognition with valuable content and engaging storytelling. This attracts a broad audience that might be a good fit for the brand.

To accomplish this, marketing casts a wide net that catches all targets within their ideal customer profile (ICP, aka buyer persona). This way, their pipeline is always loaded with prospects.

Brand building is a long-term strategy that primes the lead generation pump for the sales team. By providing valuable information and insights via thought leadership articles, interviews, and social storytelling, marketers help potential customers understand how your product or service can be the solution to their most pressing problems. This builds trust and credibility, encouraging lead outreach while also making the sales conversation more effective later.

Middle of the funnel: consideration and intent to buy

Here is where the hand-off between sales and marketing happens. Marketing did the work to attract and warm up leads for sales.

Now, sales works with qualified leads who have shown some interest by taking an action, like downloading an e-book or requesting a demo. They aren’t ready to purchase quite yet. The objective is to nurture the leads and position your product as the best solution.

Bottom of the funnel: evaluation and purchase

Everything at the bottom of the funnel is sales’ purview. When customers are ready to make a decision, sales reps close the deal through effective negotiation, problem-solving, finalizing contracts, and building strong customer relationships.

Next, let’s explore the various strategies each team uses to achieve their objectives.

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Sales and marketing roles

While sales teams focus on converting interest into immediate purchases, marketing plays the longer game. Marketing has a team of experts dedicated to the customer journey. Their efforts laid the groundwork for the sales team to make their final push toward conversion.

Marketing and sales teams come in all shapes and sizes. Here are some of their titles and responsibilities.

Chief marketing officer (CMO): Focuses on long-term vision, brand building, market trends, and revenue growth

Marketing director: In charge of tactical execution, managing team performance, optimizing campaigns, and meeting short-term targets

Product marketing specialist: Communicates the value proposition of specific products or services to targeted audiences

Market research analyst: Analyzes data about customer behavior, market trends, and competitor activity to inform decisions
VP of sales/growth: Oversees the entire sales department, developing operational strategies and setting sales targets

Sales manager: Leads a specific team of sales reps, often focused on a specific product or line of products

Account executive/sales rep: Closes new business deals with calls and demos and nurtures accounts for future relationships

Account manager (AM): Primary point of contact between a client and the company. They deliver value by searching for opportunities to upsell, cross-sell, and renew accounts.

Sales development rep/business development rep (SDR/BDR): Focuses on finding potential new customers. The primary responsibility of an SDR is to generate qualified leads using outbound strategies or by following up with inbound leads.

The two sides carry different titles and responsibilities, but they are all team members working toward the same revenue goals.

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How sales and marketing can work together for bigger wins

Customers use multiple channels and platforms, absorbing information in different formats and interacting with sales and marketing simultaneously. If both departments continue to work separately, it will always be at the cost of the customer and their experience. Here’s how to bring it together:

Look at the full funnel

Let’s say a potential customer spots your social ad while scrolling through Instagram and sees it on a billboard while driving home. They visit your website or physical storefront. Finally, they decide to contact your business and get in touch with a sales rep. If all those experiences are not seamless and consistent, you risk losing a qualified lead.

A full-funnel strategy helps you manage the complex, non-linear customer journey when:

  • Marketing teams generate qualified leads through targeted content and campaigns, making the sales team’s job easier.
  • Sales teams provide valuable feedback to marketing about customer needs and objections, helping to shape future content and messaging.
  • Data analysis reveals which channels are most effective for converting leads, making resource allocation and campaign optimization easier.

Full-funnel, holistic strategies work because they create a unified approach to customer engagement, turning potential customers into loyal brand advocates. According to a Nielsen report, businesses that invest in full-funnel strategies can see 45% higher ROI.

Team up to serve your customers

According to our research, 87% of buyers expect sales reps to act as trusted advisors. Businesses that want to meet and exceed those expectations need marketing and sales teams to work together. When reps share insights and guidance on which products deliver the best value with marketing, they can serve the target audience more relevant ads. And vice-versa: If marketing sees engagement in ads showcasing specific messaging, they can share this with sales to leverage during sales calls.

Create shared goals and objectives

Marketing and sales share business goals. It can be deceiving if you look at the teams in their silos. But in practice, marketing generates new leads, while the sales team works to close those leads. Both activities drive revenue together. So how do you ensure alignment? Here are things to keep in mind when you want to align your teams:

  1. If the leaders aren’t aligned, the team will never be aligned. You can accomplish this by developing shared definitions and criteria for leads, MQLs (marketing-qualified leads), SQLs (sales-qualified leads), opportunities, and customers. Use each other’s customer data, analytics, and field research to build customer personas visible to the entire team.
  2. Present both teams’ goals as shared goals. For example, the marketing goal of generating new leads becomes “generating new qualified leads that the sales team can close.”
  3. Bring marketing and sales teams together in as many ways as possible. It should include running monthly meetings and conducting shared training sessions. Be sure there’s ample opportunity to share insights.
  4. Lean on technology. Automation tools help sales teams keep up with customer behaviors and create data-based strategies, such as objective lead prioritization. Forget subjective opinions and gut feelings. The system assigns numerical values to potential customers based on quantifiable data. The data, including website visits, downloaded content, and past interactions, predicts the likelihood of a lead converting into a paying customer. This is just the beginning of what tech can do to help; we’ll tackle more below.

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Sales and marketing: methods and strategies

Sellers’ strategies are rooted in helping buyers solve their challenges and nurture authentic relationships. The goal of marketing strategies is to get more qualified leads into the pipeline. Let’s take a look at how they break down:

Digital marketing: Digital marketing uses digital channels (including banner ads, social media, and paid search) to reach targeted audiences with personalized, interactive experiences, building brand awareness.

Email marketing: Used for targeted communication and boosting conversions. The strategy builds direct relationships with leads through personalized messages, nurturing them through the buying journey.

Content marketing: Builds brand awareness. It creates valuable and informative content to attract and educate potential customers.

Video and print marketing: Creates an emotional connection. The strategy delivers impactful storytelling and brand messaging through visually engaging formats.
Consultative sales: Asking insightful questions to uncover customer needs and guide them toward your solution

Solution selling: Focusing on how your product or service solves specific customer problems and drives results

Inbound selling: Attracts leads through valuable content and nurtures them towards purchase (instead of using cold calling to find leads)

Outbound selling: The seller will initiate contact with a prospect they discovered through research, events, or sign-up forms

Once again, it appears as if these departments have separate agendas. Marketing wants to attract and keep customers’ attention. Sales teams want to lead customers to make a purchase. They simply need to pass the baton when leads are ready. However, to make and exceed revenue goals, both teams’ strategies must be based on the same information: What is the target audience, and what are they looking for?

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Sales and marketing tools and resources

Marketing and sales tools have advanced with the speed of technology. We can seamlessly integrate data and research to create better communication, enhance productivity, streamline processes, and grow revenue.

Here are some of the different marketing and sales tools available for business leaders and how their functions enable their marketing and sales teams’ performances.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) tools: Converts more leads into customers by testing and improving website elements, such as layout and messaging. It monitors KPIs and click-through rates so you can make more informed decisions on your web design.

Search engine optimization (SEO) tools: Boosts your online presence by making your website more visible in search engines

Data reporting software: Transforms marketing data into key insights, revealing audience behavior, campaign performance, and areas for improvement

Content-creation platforms: Simplifies the creation of engaging content, including blogs and videos, by streamlining workflows and offering easy design tools

Brand loyalty programs: Offers rewards and other incentives to keep customers engaged and coming back for more
Customer relationship management (CRM) software: Platform for handling all customer interactions throughout the sales cycle. The best CRMs include built-in AI and automation functions to streamline the sales process.

Sales forecasting tools: Provides an estimation of how much your company plans to sell within a certain amount of time

Sales productivity tools: Workflow tools that monitor and track sales tasks through the sales cycle, such as scheduling and other administrative tasks; this often includes automation that removes admin tasks from reps’ workload

Digital sales tools: Allows your customers to purchase your product or service online

Sales enablement platforms: Ensures sales reps have all the data, content, insights, and training they need to close deals

Prospecting tools: Automates repetitive tasks, such as qualifying and researching prospects, so you can jump right into outreach

A closer look at tools sales and marketing use together

There are certain tools both marketing and sales use to get the job done. Here are a few of the top ones to consider:


Your CRM is one of the most powerful resources in your business toolbox. The right CRM can integrate all the marketing and sales tools discussed above into one easily managed platform. Marketing uses CRM data to build messaging campaigns for ads, for example, and pulls new leads into the CRM. Then, sales dives in with outreach and sales calls, moving those leads to close.

Email management software

With email marketing platforms, marketing can send targeted campaigns to contacts culled from online research or via third-party contact list purchases. Once a lead has shown interest, sales can prioritize them with tags, continue outreach, and track email engagement via opens and clicks. Generative AI can be a big help here; you can automate personalized emails and schedule follow-ups in one click.

Partner relationship management

Partner relationship management software (PRM) helps marketing and sales connect with partners — distributors, resellers, affiliates, and more — in one location. The centralized hub encourages seamless interactions where partners can find branded assets, training materials, and more.

Partners stay updated on the latest, relevant content to help you grow revenue. Of course, a tool is only as good as the craftsman using it.

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Build alignment between sales and marketing

Both teams are critical to your businesses and depend on each other to drive growth and revenue. Companies with marketing and sales teams that work together gain a serious edge, offering a consistent and positive experience that builds trust and loyalty, creating more satisfied customers and higher revenue.

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Daniel Disney
Daniel Disney Founder and Owner, The Daily Sales

Daniel is of the world’s leading experts on LinkedIn as a platform for sales, Sales Navigator, and social selling. Daniel has generated millions of pounds (GBP) in sales from social media, built an audience of over 800,000 followers, and published two best-selling books, ‘The Ultimate LinkedIn Sales Guide’ and ‘The Million-Pound LinkedIn Message.’

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