Sales and Marketing – Differences Defined

September 15, 2008 at 4:31 pm 4 comments

Your question: Selling and marketing are used similarly–they’re interexchangable terms in many people’s minds.  Can you explain the difference?

Our answer: In a perfect world, sales and marketing are aligned so well, that it truly is hard to understand where marketing ends and where sales begins. At its most basic, Marketing develops sales leads, by a combination of some of the following disciplines:

  • Creating a reputable brand. Creating the right product perception.
  • Nurturing leads that are not quite ready to buy.
  • Understanding the life-cycle of a prospect, so that sales can close the lead once they are ready to buy.
  • Maximizing channels such as advertising, public relations, branding, social marketing and direct response techniques.

Then, sales is responsible for closing the sale–getting that contract signed. The sales process relies on one-on-one relationships. Sales relies on meetings, cold calls, and networking. Sales engages with the prospect or customer on a personal level rather than at a distance.

Personal selling is the process of putting a human being in contact with customers and allowing the relationship that develops to result in a sale for the business. A good salesperson is an excellent listener and always attempts to meet client needs, and match their company’s capabilities to those needs.

When sales and marketing work together, you’ll see the best results. Too often, we see a huge gap between marketing and sales, and oftentimes it’s only a communications issue. Marketing believes that sales are lazy because they’re not working the leads that Marketing worked so hard to acquire. Conversely, sales thinks that marketing’s leads are junk–that they’re not qualified and not nearly ready to buy.

It truly is key to get sales and marketing on the same page. Hold meetings so that each group understands what the others’ goals are. Marketing really needs to listen to sales because they’re closest to the customer. Sales needs to understand what the corporate objectives and overall strategies are so that they can drive to the same strategies. When you can get your sales and marketing teams to work together, you’ll win by having a better pipeline and more closed sales.

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