This is part 1 of a 5 part guest post series on sales that we will be publishing every Thursday.

People say that the two hardest things in the world: one is to put your thoughts into someone else’s mind; while the other is to put someone else’s money into your pocket. I’m not sure about the former part but as a businessman, I know exactly how correct the latter one is.

In any business organization, online or offline, sales is the most important department that generates revenue. No matter how forward-thinking your management techniques are, how cutting-edge your technology is and how tight your financial goals are, you still rely on a sales team to bring you profits. However, selling has never been an easy pitch, and in a digital era where you and I stay, it can turn into a tough war. How can you and your sales team overpower your competitors and fight over valuable customers? There’re three weapons you have to hold firmly in hands before entering the coliseum. I’m going to introduce them in a series, but before we get started, I’d like to share a little more on ‘sales’ and its cousin ‘marketing’ in case some of you getting confused between those two.

Sales Vs. Marketing

While it’s usually difficult to tell exactly where the marketing steps end and the sales efforts begin during the process of a specific deal, it’s undoubted that the actual money hides in one of several sales contacts. In other words, sales is the effort that actually collects money (or the obligation to buy). Unlike sales which may create immediate increase in your company bank account, the marketing effort works in a quiter way. It creates favorable conditions for the sale to take place. In a nutshell, the marketer leads the horse to water; the sales team makes it drink.

Partnership Between the Sales and Marketing Teams

Impulse buying is a hot word these days, but as a matter of fact, few products in people’s  life are truly bought on impulse. Even a can of brand-name cola in the supermarket has a story behind its back – its wholesaler have to build a relationship with the supermarket manager over time in order to secure good shelf placement. And when it comes to e-commerce, where you don’t even have a chance to meet a manager face-to-face, things only go more complex.

To get the most out of your sales effort, your sales team needs support from the marketing team to manage a long term customer relationship with follow-up contacts, emails, account service, etc.. If the support is not there, the account may not last long and turnover will increase. Meanwhile if the sales staff is too directly involved in that effort, it may eventually become overwhelmed with account service and find it difficult to spare time to grow your business.

With all these about ‘sales & marketing’ said, we should now be ready to move to the three weapons that are supposed to  arm your sales team up. Keep reading to see what they really are.

About the Author:

Kevin Gao is the founder and CEO of Comm100 Live Chat, a leading provider of live chat software for business. As a software developer as well as a small business expert, he’s always ambitious to revolutionize the way of online customer service and communication. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn to find out more about him.

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