The line between sales and marketing gets blurred way too often. In a perfect world, these two but separate functions should align and complement each other, rather than overlap. The perfect alignment is found in balance. Integrating the two functions enables you to nurture and engage your current clients while reaching prospects at all levels of the sales pipeline.

Sales and marketing are running two different races while each is a composite of the overall score. The difference lies in the pace.

Sales is your sprint or 40-yard dash. Runners crouch down, pause and then explode out of the starting line. In seemingly one fluid motion from the crouched start, the runner immediately hits a second then third gear. The sprint is running as fast as you can to realize tangible results now. Sales should be focused on getting their prospects across the finish line as fast as possible. An increase of .01 or .02 seconds for a sprinter is often considered success. If sales can improve each race, even by a fraction, the improvement reflects in an increase of pipeline velocity or the pace at which prospects are turned into new sales.

Marketing is your marathon. The key to running a great marathon is in the preparation, patience, and perseverance (the 3 P’s). The race is grueling and coming out of the start line too fast will inevitably result in a collapse later in the race. A marketer is focused on building greatness for the long-term through consistent activities in communication, delivery and offerings that add value to customers, clients, partners… at scale!

In today’s digital world, the difference gets confusing. Marketing is too often viewed as transactional and sales teams get too focused on brand building.

Victory lies in the beauty of integrating both functions. Sales and marketing both enable you to reach your prospects throughout all stages of the pipeline funnel. Effective communication and collaboration together create a comprehensive strategy for achieving both short-term sales and long-term vision.

Small businesses may lack the staff for separate sales and marketing departments, relying instead on just a handful of individuals to share the responsibilities of each. While the resulting strategic plan may make it easier to create a comprehensive marketing and sales plan, it also may mean more energy gets directed to one side of the equation.

Equally investing the time and resources into sales and marketing allows businesses to create powerful brand messaging, relatable marketing materials, and sustainable and repeatable sales tactics. When skilled at both, businesses will have a process that reliably turns prospects into customers, create brand advocates, and extend the lifetime value of your customers.