Have you ever wondered why there are so many departments in large companies (Legal, Finance, Marketing, Sales, Business Development, and Operations)? It’s because each of them plays a distinct role in the company’s success while trying to accomplish the same organizational goals. Each department is responsible for specific tasks and has unique expertise in their respective disciplines.
If you think you don’t need to consider certain aspects of your business separately because you are a small business or don’t have different people to fill each role, then you risk losing focus on critical operations of your business.
Looking at every aspect of your business on its own merit will allow you to quickly pivot to address deficiencies and capitalize on the things that are working well.
Some departments have precise functions (HR, Finance, etc.), but the lines between Sales, Marketing, and Business Development are often blurred. However, if you take the time to think about them separately, you will better understand how they contribute to your business success and help you identify the areas you are crushing and the ones you need to improve. In simple terms, Marketing creates brand awareness and generates leads; Business Development turns leads into prospects, as well as identifies new sources from which to generate leads; and Sales closes the deal.
Let’s look at each of them a little closer.
The Marketing department is responsible for creating customer awareness of the business’ products and services and their overall mission. The Marketing department establishes the strategy for outreach and coordinates the production of the promotional materials. Its primary goal is to create brand awareness and affinity to develop its position in the market place.
This message may is through various media, including TV and print advertisements, direct mail, social media, videos, and live events.
If you are in the Sales department, your #1 responsibility is to sell! Upsell, future sell, cross-sell, just sell. Ultimately, the goal of your daily interaction with customers is to get the customer to sign on the dotted line.
Most people would believe that Sales is the most critical department in any given company and I must agree. Not for reasons, you’re thinking (because this department closes the sale and generates revenue); it’s the most important department because these individuals interact with the customer when they dread the most. All customers know it’s coming; however, you still have a certain level of tension when you ask for the sale. Having top-notch sales professionals who seamlessly close the deal will dramatically increase your conversion rate and contribute to repeat business and, ultimately, your bottom line.
The Business Development department is where Sales and Marketing meet. Business Development identifies opportunities across segments of the organization and establishes relationships with strategic partners and customers to expand the company’s reach and gain customer trust. In many organizations, the Business Development department picks up where these respective departments leave off.
For example, Marketing makes a prospective customer aware of your products and services. Business Development may step in and court this customer with a personal phone call or an invite to an event. They then hand them off to Sales, where the deal is closed. Once the prospect becomes a customer, Business Development may reach out again to prep the upsell or manage retention.
As you can see, the lines between the duties of these respective departments can get blurred.
As organizations push to become leaner, you may have one person responsible for all of these functions. However, there are distinct differences between these roles. Even if you are responsible for all of these functions, you should be clear about what hat you’re wearing at any given time. Knowing your current objective (role) will help you better execute the task because you are clear on the desired outcome.
Remember, all of these departments are equally important to the business cycle, and a balanced focus will position your business for long term success.