Are Sales and marketing the same?
And why does it matter?
I always find it interesting how salespeople and marketers differ on this, especially in larger corporate businesses where sales and marketing teams are separated but need to communicate closely.
'Marketing do advertising and create fluffy nice looking brochures' you might hear the salesperson say 'while we go out and get the business in and close the deals'. The Marketer might retort that their efforts to show social proof of a great brand with great products have already done the hard work while the sales guy just needs to turn up, have a chat and walk away with the order... and the credit. These thoughts might be harsh, but the good news is they are both wrong.
The majority might argue that marketing and sales are separate but in reality, the two functions are (or in practice should be) very closely aligned. The job of the marketer amongst other things is to look after the customer but in a slightly different way to the salesperson. While a sales person can be more personal they can only reach out to so many people with phone calls or face to face visits.
Similarly, a good marketer should know how to drive customers online to sales pages (or landing pages) and should know how to create those pages in a way that converts visitors into paying customers. The marketer's job is to work with sales to generate opportunities and help close sales where the salesperson doesn't have the bandwidth.
Sales and marketing should work together in many different aspects to drive a business forward. Here are some examples:
- Participating at exhibitions needs marketing to support efforts in using email marketing, social media and other ways to drive visitors to the event where salespeople can build relationships and generate more qualified leads
- Sales teams can provide valuable customer and market feedback to help marketers create more effective solutions that in turn generate more sales and more easily
- Online advertising and landing pages should be designed to generate leads that salespeople can call, visit or email to qualify further and convert into sales
So, are sales and marketing the same?
In theory, they are different but both roles share the common objectives to generate profitable sales, possibly through slightly different activities but always with the customer in mind.
In smaller businesses, one person may look after and manage the whole sales and marketing process (as well as run the business) so the lines are blurred between the two functions. Whether you believe that sales and marketing are the same or not, it's important that the two functions are as closely integrated as possible for a business to succeed. You could argue that marketing IS selling and selling IS marketing. After all, in his book 'To Sell Is Human', Daniel Pink argues that everybody is a sales person and every day of our lives we are constantly selling something, whether it's convincing friends to go out for a drink, telling the kids how important homework is or asking the boss for a pay rise.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree?
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The opinions in these blog posts are those of marketing expert and book author Darren Hignett.