What is the Difference between Sales and Marketing and why it matters to the Success of your Business.

» Posted by on Jun 18, 2012 in Marketing | 0 comments

What is the Difference between Sales and Marketing and why it matters to the Success of your Business.

 Back when I was younger and more foolish than I am today, my friends in sales used to tell this old joke: “ What happens when a salesperson moves over to marketing? Their (self-proclaimed) IQ increases by 20 points!”

 Now that I am older, and do a lot more marketing, I realize that there is a role for both sales and marketing in any successful organization. And while they are related, and inter-dependent, they are different.

 I realize that you are not supposed to use sports analogies, for fear that you will alienate 50% of your audience but allow me this one: In football terms, a good sales person can move you up the field and score a touchdown. A good marketing team can get you a game on a different field, better suited to your team, where you win 70% of the games that you play.

 A good salesperson can help you to meet your current goals. A good marketer can move the goal posts. Good marketing can expand your business into areas that you are not currently in or maybe never even thought of.

 While most companies believe that they have integrated sales and marketing, in practice, they have not.

 Sales and marketing jobs are different. A salesperson is trained and compensated to sell the current product or service at a defined price point. Their activities are based around identifying, educating, and uncovering potential clients for your current product or service. Some people are familiar with the term sales funnel. A salesperson works within the sales funnel. Marketing should help to identify markets, and maybe even companies or individuals in those markets who have the ability and the inclination to purchase your product or service. Sales then takes those people who are qualified and educates, persuades, or cajoles those individuals or the companies that they represent to purchase your product or service. Sales people just are not paid to try to open up new markets because they are trying to focus short or at least medium term on bringing in revenue. A good marketing person can find you a new funnel.

 A marketing professional is paid (or should be) to support current sales by activities that create and increase brand awareness and mind share, uncovering those factors that differentiate you from your competition, AND in identifying and sizing NEW market opportunities. If they are really good, they try to understand how clients use the products and what they get out of it on an emotional level (my old sales buddies are laughing now.)

 I am going to save my soapbox speech on the difference between prospects, suspects, and customers for another day. For the fun of it, ask a couple of business people to define those terms for you and see what you get. I bet you would be surprised. Then ask for the difference between marketing and sales and see what you come up with.

 Both are important. But the next meeting that you are in, ask the salesperson and marketing professional what they do and see what answers you get. If the job descriptions sound the same, it might be time to redefine the role of your marketing team beyond ad copy.

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