Marketing and sales are two distinctly different yet tightly interwoven functions without which no business can survive. Through these functions, potential customers become aware and form an opinion of a product and/or service. From this understanding, they take action, desirable or not, regarding whether to seek an acquisition. If an acquisition is sought, then a sales transaction – an exchange of value – may occur.
The process of exchanging a product and/or service for something of value, usually money, is represented by the sales funnel. From the customer’s point of view, the sales funnel is represented as four sequential steps:
Awareness: The potential customer becomes aware of the existence of the product and/or service.
Interest: The potential customer shows interest in the product and/or service by investigating its attributes, features, and costs.
Decision: The potential customer evaluates the ability of the product and/or service to meet his or her needs and weighs its value against its costs; ultimately making a buy / no-buy decision.
Action: The potential customer engages the offerer to acquire the product and/or service; including negotiations and value transfer arrangements
The sales funnel gains its shape based on the number of potential customers at each step in the buying process. Because the number of potential customers declines during from step-to-step, the funnel tappers from a large potential customer base at the awareness step to a smaller number of actual purchasers.
The role of an organization’s Marketing and Sales functions is to promote broad awareness for it’s products and/or services and guide potential customers through the sales funnel sequence; converting as many as possible into buying customers.
Marketing plays a vital information and communication role during the first three steps of the sales funnel sequence. Through Marketing, potential customers become aware of a product and/or service, learn of its attributes and costs, and relate these with their needs to determine whether or not an acquisition is desirable. Consequently, effective Marketing is broken down into five constituent parts commonly referred to as the 5Ps of Marketing:
Product (and/or Service): Item and/or service, including all of its attribute, that will be provided at the offered cost.
Price: Item(s) of value, usually money, in exchange for which the product and/or service is offered.
Place: Location(s) at which the product and/or service is sold and provided.
Promotion: Methods employed to generate product and/or service availability awareness, generate interest, and drive sales.
People: Individuals who aid in the development and provision of the preceding 4Ps.
Sales actively assists potential customers enter and move through the sales funnel sequence. Sales people themselves or other engagement tools interact with potential customers to facilitate their rapid progression through the awareness, interest, decision, and action steps while simultaneously retaining as many potential customers within the process as possible. The Sales function is achieved through four sequential steps:
Prospecting: Identifying potential customers who may need the product and/or service.
Cultivating: Forming relationships with these potential customers and discovering their needs.
Positioning: Demonstrating the ability of the product and/or service to meet the potential customer’s needs.
Closing: Presenting a compelling proposal that earns a favorable customer purchase decision and results in a sale.
Focus of the Marketing and Sales Forum
The StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Forum focuses on the practices that transform potential customers into enthusiastic buyers. The materials within this forum provide how-to guidance to create product and/or service awareness and interest and facilitate a positive acquisition decision and action.
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Jeffrey Gitomer is the New York Times bestselling author of Little Red Book of Selling, the best-selling sales book of all time.
Nathan Ives is a renown Fortune 500 business advisor and author of Discovering Business Gold, used to identify over $200 million in operational cost savings.
Sharon Drew Morgen
Sharon Drew Morgen is the New York Times Business Best Selling Author of Dirty Little Secrets, 6 other books, and over 1,000 published articles.