It’s not easy to identify the difference between sales vs. marketing messaging. They share similar end goals – moving prospects through the sales funnel. And they share a similar delivery – digital communication. The general similarities blur the lines between the two forms of outreach, but identifying the distinctions is critical to crafting an effective message. 

Let’s take a look at sales messaging and marketing messaging in more depth. We’ll dive into each form of communication, while homing in on the elements that will help you craft the perfect message, no matter the audience. 

The audiences 

The first major difference between sales and marketing messaging falls within the audience. Sales communications are driven by personal interactions and existing relationships – your audience should already know about your company, and ideally, they should know you too. 

On the other hand, marketing communications seek to create the opportunity for a personal interaction, while developing a relationship that doesn’t yet exist. Your audience for a marketing communication still needs to learn about your product or service and they still need to build trust in your organization. 

Your messaging needs to be tailored according to who receives your message. Hot leads are ready for a personalized sales outreach – they’re goal is to continue a relationship with your company and add value to their use case. Cold leads still need a marketing massage – they aren’t sure how you can help them or if they can trust you to do so. 

Picking the right tone 

Tailoring our message starts with tailoring our tone. When we’re crafting marketing messaging, we’re typically communicating to a huge audience. We segment our message as far as possible, but ultimately, we want to send a mass message to a mass audience. 

You might use a personalization variable in the marketing message, but that doesn’t change the fact that our audience is not expecting a 1-1 communication in a marketing format. Don’t be fooled into getting too personal in your marketing message. Instead, stick with your brand voice and the tone that appears throughout your website and other marketing materials. 

Pivoting to a sales focus, your tone should reflect your individuality as a salesperson. A salesperson is not a faceless organization and the relationships they develop with clients & prospects have their own unique dynamics. 

To fully take advantage of the relationship between a salesperson and their prospects, their communication tone should reflect their existing interactions. For instance, if you feel comfortable using abbreviations, gifs or emojis within your communications (and you feel it is appropriate), this can help enhance the efficacy of your message by engaging with the prospect on a deeper personal level. 

Your underlying purpose 

We touched on the similarities between marketing and sales messaging earlier by identifying how both work to move prospects down the sales funnel. Well, this was a bit of a misdirection. 

Sales and marketing messages might both work within the sales funnel, but they work in fundamentally different places – the top vs. the bottom. Let’s explore these different places at a high level: 

  • Top-funnel: The area of the marketing/sales funnel involved with capturing new leads and educating existing leads to prepare them for sales conversations. 
  • Bottom-funnel: The area of the marketing/sales funnel involved with generating sales opportunities and directly closing revenue. 

We can see the needed differences in delivery right away. At the top of the funnel, messaging needs to focus on educating a prospect and capturing uninformed leads. This is the marketing piece of the messaging puzzle. 

At the bottom of the funnel, messaging focuses on direct use-cases and demonstrating actionable value for a specific individual(s). This is the sales piece of the puzzle. 

Wrapping it up

Sales and marketing messaging share a space in our world of digital communications, but they drive quite different actions from our prospects. We’ve talked through three reasons in our article: 

  1. Audience differences (Hot leads vs. Cold leads) 
  2. Tone differences (General vs. Personal) 
  3. Purpose of communication (educate vs. close) 

While we might be able to accomplish these goals without segmenting our messaging, we see markedly more success when our sales messaging takes on a personal tone designed to facilitate a direct sale. Whereas our marketing messaging is most effective when we focus on education through thought leadership (content marketing, anyone?). 

And remember, your marketing messaging is designed to help your salespeople work more efficiently! Marketing educates the audience before sales intake, so that salespeople can talk shop from the start.