I spent the last week at a conference and had the opportunity to speak to lots of small business owners about what was working, and what wasn’t working in their business. A lot of entrepreneurs were saying that even though the overall trend was an increase over last year, they are still looking to increase their revenues even more.

I found it interesting to listen to what they thought was preventing them from achieving those goals. The two topics that come up most often in these discussions are marketing and sales acheter des likes. The thing is that I think there are a lot of entrepreneurs who don’t understand the difference between marketing and sales, and how one impacts the other.

Here is a simplistic way of explaining it. Marketing is what happens before a client contacts you. It’s what you do to increase awareness so that people know who you are and what you do. Sales starts once the client contacts you asking for information about working with you. It continues from the initial contact until you have their credit card number and their signature on the dotted line.

Once you have the sale closed, I would say marketing kicks back in again (though I know many people feel that the service you do after the sale is a continuation of the sales process – and I can see their point on that!). The reason I feel like it is marketing is that you are now setting the stage for repeat and referral business. In my opinion, that’s marketing.

So basically MARKETING is the process of getting your name out in front of more potential clients, of letting them know you exist and how you can help them. SALES is the process of closing those potential clients who raise their hand and say “hey, that sounds good! I’m interested in that!” You could certainly break things down even further, but for now let’s go with that idea, OK?

Tracy’s initiative as CMO of NIP Group has been to see full integration between the CRM and email marketing platforms to better align marketing and sales while building and executing long-term strategy as it relates to the brand, marketing positioning, lead generation and retention.

NIP Group is now leveraging their CRM and email marketing platform integration, enabling sales to assign personas, model attribution and map their customer journey through the sales funnel. Tracy also shared her perspective on marketing industry trends, platforms and tools as well as challenges she faces as CMO of a growing company.

I was lucky to come aboard as CMO and already have a solid marketing team on the premise. There were different areas of expertise, and the marketing team was soloed and segmented based on the business line and division. After coming aboard, I tried to turn the tables on this to drive our team towards a more shared services ideology, where team members were pulled in based on skill set.

While this is definitely more of a tactical and operational move, I have also had the privilege of working to integrate our CRM and email marketing platforms: Salesforce and Marketo.

Previously these were not fully integrated platforms, so I worked to build the API and integration between the two to make marketing at NPI much stronger.

During this time period, I also helped to build and grow an inside call team. Now we are really strong in email campaigns based on segmentation and target audience. With Salesforce and Marketo integration, our call team is incredibly adept.

Another huge success because of this integration is that our marketing team can now send the right message at the right time. Honing in on behavior and action and testing to set up the call team based on territory, our call-back time is near immediate. We can see the path to attribution, set up automated work flows, and lead nurturing campaigns all based on stages in the sales funnel. Through seeing what path they are taking, we are able to optimize our digital strategy.

I have learned that it takes time to build the content and what the communication is going to look like, but with the integration of our platforms, once built, it runs itself.

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