People often ask me what is the difference between marketing and sales. Some say that the sales department does all of the heavy lifting and that marketing is arbitrary. Others believe that salespeople just execute the documents. The truth is, both marketing and sales are critical to meeting the company’s sales objectives and only by those functions working together do companies prosper.
Marketing – Pulls the customer towards the company, product or service and changes its tactics based on the environment, effectiveness and circumstances to reach the targeted customers.
Effective marketer seeks to understand the client’s or customer’s needs and wants through analysis. Afterwards, they craft their products and services to meet those needs and wants. Marketing then uses advertising, packaging, branding, social media, public relations and pricing to communicate to potential customers and clients thereby pulling them towards their company or brand.
Marketers are always changing their tactics to stay current and look for new ways to be relevant to the customer. Websites did not exist twenty years ago and now the telephone book has all but disappeared. Social media is the latest example of a new tactic that didn’t exist before. Marketing is a long-term process that is used to design and promote a brand that the sales team will ultimately use to increase sales. The marketing team must communicate its findings and strategy to the sales group to ensure alignment, understanding and execution of the strategy by the sales department.
Sales – Pushes to fulfill the demand created by marketing and seeks to consummate the transaction using influencing skills to accomplish its objectives.
Salespeople listen to their customers, reinforce the benefits and nullify the concerns of their products and services directly with the customers. It is this skill that has been the staple of sales since the beginning of commerce. The sales department’s methods are static.
The business of sales takes place in one on one interactions between the salesperson and the customer. It is during this interaction the salesperson closes the sale. It is the responsibility of the sales force to pass on any ground intelligence they may have gleaned based on these interactions to marketing.
Sales is the summation of numerous interactions and transactions to move the inventory and services that the company provides. These exchanges are repetitive and short term by nature especially when compared to marketing. It is certainly not this simplistic, but the impetus to move on to the next sale, deal or transaction is at the heart of every salesperson.
Finally, it is not marketing vs sales. It is marketing and sales working together to accomplish the company’s topline goals. When marketing and sales are aligned, and communicate with one another, the company’s conversion rate and topline numbers are maximized.
Marketers must continually focus on pulling new customers to the company, brand, product or service while changing tactics as necessary to ensure success. Salespeople must understand the strategic direction set forth by marketing, continuously hone their sales skills and push to close on all of the possible transactions created by marketing. The ultimate goal of marketing is sales and yet we would have no sales without marketing.
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