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Why More Service Businesses Need to Get Serious About Sales

Marketing is important. And it can even be fun.

After all, marketing helps you tell the unique story of your brand. Modern digital marketing is all about adding value. When your marketing is aligned with what you offer the world, you can feel good about every piece of content you publish.

The shift from interruptive “outbound marketing” (think cold calls) to relationship-focused “inbound marketing” has transformed the way brands engage with their audience. That has many organizations focusing on marketing in a whole new way.

As powerful as marketing is, though, it needs the right support.

In the old days, sales and marketing were often looked at as competing forces. The marketing budget would often come at the expense of sales and vice versa. These days, we know better. Your brand is positioned to flourish when sales and marketing teams work together.

That’s why, as a marketing agency, we advocate for a balance.

The Keys to Sustainable Growth: Inform, Recommend, Sell

Much has been made of the idea that today’s buyer journey is unpredictable. Customers are in control in a way that was never true before. They can do hours or days of research before ever reaching out to anyone in sales. Even though sales teams spend less time on the stage, their role is still vital.

Marketing will bring you new leads and deepen your existing relationships. For marketing to reach its full potential, someone has to be there to close agreements. That’s especially true for a service-based business where many customers want to be reassured in person your service is right for them.

Most service businesses don’t start with a robust or fully defined sales function. The founder acts as the face of the business and brings nearly all of its “sales” results through relationship management. On top of that, marketing can get the word out and bring more people through the door.

Sooner or later, though, growth plateaus and stagnates.

Without dedicated sales professionals, it becomes harder and harder to convert that growing number of leads into customers. You can end up investing a lot of time and effort fostering relationships that never become fruitful, or don’t mature at a quick enough pace to support your continued growth.

There’s a continuum of three essential functions both marketing and sales are involved in:

1. Inform

In today’s environment, the marketing team takes precedence when it comes to informing newcomers to your brand. Marketing collateral is where all the broad trends of your market meet the specific questions and concerns raised by your ideal customers. Marketing collateral follows newcomers on the buyer journey, meeting their needs along the way and qualifying them as leads.

2. Recommend

Once a prospect identifies his or her challenge, the next step is to understand what a potential solution looks like. Sales and marketing teams work together on the recommending phase. Most people continue their independent research, diving deeper into your content marketing library. But some may reach out, directing questions to your sales team and accelerating the conversion process.

3. Sell

Marketers are great at predicting the biggest movements in your market – but when it comes to those individual relationships, sales pros really shine. They have the opportunity to watch customer sentiment evolve practically in real-time. This allows them to meet fresh objections and answer new questions as they arise. All that work not only leads to conversions but helps improve marketing collateral.

Is Growth Stagnant? If Your Marketing Is in Place, Look at Sales Next

Every growing service business reaches a turning point where marketing can no longer maintain the momentum of growth without sales. Looking back at our hundreds of engagements over the years, we’ve noticed two scenarios business owners find themselves in.

1. No Sales Process in Place

A structured sales process is the foundation of discovering best practices that work for you. It may start with the hiring of a sales director who develops a team, or you might recruit a small team that builds its own processes. It’s always better to start sooner rather than later.

2. No Systems to Deepen Relationships

A growing business needs repeatable processes for:

  • Generating new business
  • Following up on existing business
  • Increasing referrals

With email marketing, social media, and other tools, the marketing function can do some of the work here. Still, it all works better when there are dedicated sales pros who can review and recognize the trends, optimizing relationships by spending time with the right people at the right moments.

Contact us to find out more about how marketing can amplify your sales.

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1 Average median salary in Florida for ‘Marketing Director’, based on research by Glassdoor. 2 Retirement calculated at 3% contribution, based on research by 3 Health premium average calculated by ranges provided from a 2016 Health Benefits survey. 4 Total employee average calculated at first year and includes the following considerations: $4k onboarding and training, $1k software and subscriptions, and $3.75k outsourcing help. Total agency average based on Florida-located, full-service agency.