Sales and Marketing, along with Customer Service, are the main customer-facing branches of a business. While the field of operation for Customer Service is typically well defined, Sales and Marketing are sometimes blurred and overlapping in an undefined gray area. In other circumstances, Sales and Marketing are completely independent and the two teams might not communicate at all.
Both of these scenarios may become problematic for the business. Marketing and Sales materials should always be distinct and separate, because they serve different purposes: while the focus of Sales is obviously to close deals, the goal of Marketing is to generate interest, and possibly love for the product.
The mindset of a potential customer approaching marketing material is very different from the expectations of a prospect in the relation with a sales representative. Curiosity should not be mistaken for automatic interest or willingness to buy: prospects often need time to ponder their choices and compare opportunities, so marketing material should be available to answer their immediate questions, affirm the trustworthiness of the company, and show openness to dialogue.
At this point the stage is set for the entrance of Sales. Sales should always be informed of the campaigns launched by the marketing team, in order to be able to respond to customer requests. At the same time, Marketing can make excellent use of the feedback coming from both Sales and Customer Service, which represent the first line of contact with prospects and customers.
While marketing teams typically make use of analytics to monitor the results of campaigns, the qualitative feedback received by the other departments can provide extremely valuable insight on sentiment: a long average for session time on a website could mean users love it, or conversely that users are having a hard time in terms of usability. Personal feedback gathered by Sales and Customer Service can often shed a light on data that could be interpreted in multiple ways.
Cooperation is good for businesses because transparency is a value that is greatly appreciated by prospects, since it helps build trust: customers can tell if different departments of the same company are not in touch with each other, and it reflects poorly on the brand. It is hard to expect good customer service if the company sends mixed messages, so marketing and sales material should always be consistent.
Recent technologies can greatly improve the degree of internal communication inside companies, with considerably low impact and cost: the benefits of this teamwork between customer-facing departments are long-standing and worth the effort.