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What is the Difference Between Sales and Marketing?

In traditional business, marketing is what brings your prospect to your door, gets them to call, send an email or in some cases actually buy. Sales is everything that happens after the prospect has contacted you.

Traditional business is still with us though it has clearly been evolving very rapidly in recent years. Although the general definitions of sales and marketing still apply, business evolution has expanded and radically changed both concepts.

And that evolution appears to be accelerating.

The most obvious difference is the blurring of the lines between sales and marketing. Most low consideration sales involve an emotion, impulse or unmet need. The prospect or customer either buys ‘on the spot’ or they do not buy at all, just like the grocery store. Almost everything we buy falls into this category.

These impulse or emotional sales include items such as hot dogs, toothpaste and gasoline. In these sales the marketing and sales are all bound up into one ‘presentation’. The good news is the sales process and cycle is short and sweet; the bad news is everybody in the world is competing for that same sale.

Higher consideration sales, such as cars, houses, properties, colleges, etc., still fit the more traditional divisions of sales and marketing. That is why many companies split their sales and marketing departments; their respective functions often can be separated.

Most companies set up their marketing departments to drive qualified prospects to their sales department. It is the sales department’s job to assess needs, do presentations, prepare bids and contracts and of course, close the sale.

Although sales and marketing are both involved in buying a CD online or buying a timeshare condo in Akumal, the two processes are very different. Yet even these higher consideration sales are beginning to evolve. Many companies have their marketing departments identify and qualify their prospects before sending the ‘lead’ to the sales department.

The marketing department may be involved in a number of actual sales ‘touch points’ before the sales department gets the lead. The rule is form follows function and function follows results. Of course with anything humans attempt the devil is always in the details. It may seem like sales and marketing would be the same across companies in the same vertical and even horizontal industries. Not so anymore.

How a company structures their sales and marketing processes often determines their degree of success in the marketplace. Technology has now ‘forced’ smaller and medium sized companies to compete directly on strategy.

If everything else is equal between competitors, the one with the best strategy wins. Those companies that don’t wish to compete on strategy simply don’t compete.

The easiest way to determine where marketing ends and sales begins in your company is to draw a flow chart of your sales cycle. Plot out each step as your prospects find out about you, contact you, go though your sales presentation, ask questions and obtain enough information to make an informed decision. And of course buy.

If your sales process is complex and involves repeat sales, don’t forget to include the follow-up on ongoing sales potential.

The important point to remember is it is not as important to create a distinction between sales and marketing as it is to develop marketing and sales strategies that work. Consequently your marketing and sales departments may be the same or they may be on opposite sides of the planet, depending on your sales cycle.

So the real answer to what is the difference between sales and marketing is …it depends. It’s relative because the answer will always be dependent on the application or sales cycle and process. How your company structures your sales and marketing functions will most likely determine whether your company succeeds and fails.

But like most things in life, the devil is always in the details…

The Difference Between Small Business Sales And Marketing

Small business sales and marketing are two of the most important components of a business’ survival within in the market. Marketing basically involves the process of designing a product based on the specific needs of the market and the customers within it and promoting products through advertising and other effective methods. Moreover, this field includes setting up a good price value for products. In simple terms, marketing is a platform, which is used to generate sales for a business.

From what I’ve discussed above alone, you can already tell that small business sales and marketing are two different things. Let’s tackle sales. This is a process that involves strategies on how to effectively sell products and fetch contracts. Sales and marketing and marketing together is considered as a component of selling. Either of these things can’t live without the other by its side. These two components can also be referred to as activities. The overall success of a business greatly depends on these two things. Let’s dig deeper into the details of these two types of activities.

Marketing serves as the backbone of a firm’s future and as the launching platform for its sales. While the marketing field covers the process of designing products and advertising the sales process plays its role in the execution of different efforts that involve direct interactions with clients either through personal meeting or cold calls or through networking. Even though these two components are ideally considered as equals in the industry a rivalry has recently been stirring up between them wherein one claims to be dominant over the other. The people in the marketing industry say that they have the upper hand because they’re the ones who are designing the products; laying down the strategies; and developing the tools needed for sales. The sales people on the other hand say that they are the ones who actually bring money into a company because they’re the ones who sell the products.

A lot of experts are saying that marketing plays a pivotal role among these two components. They claim this because an effective marketing campaign generates sales real easy. Because of these, people often that it is actually the sales people who are the dominant players of the game. The main role of the marketing department is to produce different opportunities, which will be of great use to the sales department. Marketing produces sales and sales produces a company the type of success that it desires. In other words, marketing serves as a support system for the sales department by backing it up and allowing it to deliver the end product to people. Instead of competing to win against each other, the members of these two departments should work hand in hand with each other for the betterment and success of the company. By putting the forces of these two things to work side by side each other, the potentials for success of a company can be increased to great heights.

The Marriage Between the Sales and Marketing Divisions

The Symbiotic Relationship Between Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing need each other; they are married. Though, in this case, a divorce wouldn’t mean a 50/50 split, it would probably mean a business. However, I have always found it ironic that marketing and sales are two totally separate divisions; this is most prominent in some mid-size and larger companies. One would have to ask themselves, why? This is an important question which often needs answering.

There are many tell-tale signs when marketing and sales does not have the sweeping romance which they should. The first sign that things are not great is when marketing is spending a lot of time focusing on print marketing. Unless you are a drug company trying to convince somebody to take your drug, print marketing is useless. Even worse, the marketing professional or professionals who are actively hiring the print marketing professionals are, dare I say, useless and expensive. In a company, having someone useless and expensive is a one-two knockout punch (and not to the other team). Getting back to drug companies, hiring someone who is very good at print marketing may not be useless, but the ethics of it hovers in the air.

One example I like to provide regarding the necessary relationship these two divisions should have is that sales people are the frontline soldiers while the marketing team is comparable to the tanks, ammunition and supplies. Without the supplies, the troops cannot fight and without the troops, the supplies don’t do much good. So, why do they not have weekly meetings or why are the two divisions not sitting next to each other? I would presume it’s bad theories on marketing and management’s behalf.

What most marketing divisions do not understand is that their sole job is to feed the sales professionals leads. These days, incoming leads are almost the only type of leads which have a closing rate of over 50%. There are some exceptions such as when your company hires a real superstar who comes equipped with a lot of business connections and can truly close a high rate of business. Marketing divisions need to keep track of the number of incoming leads to the sales force. However, the sales team also needs to be cognizant of these numbers as well.

If these lead generation numbers were to drop, and the economy was continuing to get better, both parties have a problem and need to determine where the loose ends are. Also, the head of sales should step in and approve all marketing material (both online and print) which goes out to the public. You could run into a problem if the marketing material is saying y and the sales team is pitching x. Additionally, if pitching x is working for the sales team, the marketing division should not fight the sales division and ought to adjust according. Simply stated, if the two divisions do not have a symbiotic relationship with one another, your company is opening its guard up to getting beaten by the competition. We all know that staying on top is a lot better than playing catch-up.

The best advice I could give is to merge the two divisions and have a “sales and marketing” division.