That old, moss-covered wall between sales and marketing in the brick-and-mortar world has been showing its age for a long time now. It’s great to see that the wrecking balls are on-site, and they’re clearing the way for the type of collaboration that has long defined online marketing and sales. Major brands have plenty of brainpower on both sides of the equation, and it makes little sense to keep them sequestered from one another.

Social Media Lessons for Sales-Marketing Crossover

Let’s start with one of my favorite topics, social media. Twitter is an ideal channel for consumers to connect with brands, but it’s also very “up to the minute,” even compared to other social platforms. If you want to capitalize on the mood of the moment, then vetting each tweet, 140 characters at a time through multiple departments is out of the question. Anyone who runs a major Twitter account needs to blend marketing, sales, and customer service, all at once.

And plenty of brands do a great job of it! At the risk of stepping a couple feet away from my comfort zone, let’s talk about a pair of women’s shoes. Nordstrom’s Twitter feed is a barrage of fashion advice, advertising, content and timely deals. Every tweet – like this one for a pair of winking shoes – has a clever little marketing comment, often complemented by emoji and always with a few hashtags. The clever comments and vivid images are very share-friendly, while the link at the end ensures that everyone who sees the tweet will know exactly how to purchase the featured product.

Customer service most definitely plays into things as well because every public interaction online is like a little advertisement. Is it marketing or sales when a timely, thorough, personalized response to a consumer’s question on Facebook leads directly to that person making a purchase? The truth is that it doesn’t matter as long as the person answering the question knows what they’re doing.

Taking It to the Brick-and-Mortar World

The big takeaway is that developing multiple skills is no longer a luxury. It’s a necessity. It’s also something that most people who work in sales and marketing already do, whether they realize it or not. Promoting products and services in effective, relevant ways will ultimately help you make more sales. Building personal relationships based on listening, feedback and trust will ultimately make your audience more receptive to your marketing in the future.

When you step back and take a broader view, the roles (and walls) between sales and marketing are blurring. And that’s a good thing! In the end, building those solid relationships with your customers is really what it’s all about, and strengthening the bonds of your in-house relationships makes it easier to accomplish that all-important goal.

The interplay between sales and marketing spurs innovation in the digital world, so applying those lessons to your brick-and-mortar teams is simply smart business. With the distinction between sales and marketing fading fast, now is the time to adapt.

Originally posted at The Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce

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