If you are running a business, you’re no stranger to some absolutely instrumental pieces to success: active sales and effective marketing. Every business requires these two important pieces to always be in play at all times.
However, it is very common for business owners to either confuse sales and marketing for each other, or assume they are basically the same thing. This is not the case. Sales and marketing are two different pieces to your business’ puzzle, and if you are treating them as the same, then you are likely losing out on opportunities to convert potential customers.
A bit of clarity can make a massive difference in how your business strategy operates. And if you’re looking to hire someone outside of your organization to take the reins on your marketing or sales initiatives, it’s within your best interest to know exactly who you need to seek out, and what you need to be asking them to do. Let’s dive in a little deeper to find that clarity:
What is the difference between sales and marketing?
“Selling” or making sales consists of building relationships. In real life this can look like anything from meeting with clients, to telephone calls to networking. When it comes to your online presence, building relationships looks like driving visitors, leads and customers to your website and other professional pages, where they would be likely to convert into buying your product or service.
Marketing is the process businesses use to reach and persuade prospects. This can be achieved through research, advertising, public relations, social media and maybe (still) direct mail. You’ll often see the terms used incorrectly, such as when a business advertises for a marketing professional but is really looking for someone to make telephone calls, meet with prospects and close sales – aka. a sales person.
Marketing is about building brand awareness with your target audience, and making them aware of who you are, what you do, and what you have of value to offer them. Sales is reaching out to those prospects in a more intentional and personal way, and about closing the deal to turn them into a loyal buyer.
I often hear people use the word marketing when they really mean sales. It’s important to know that promoting your business is just one element in your marketing.
There are 4 major elements, known as the 4 P’s :
These are all part of your Marketing Mix, and they all need to be considered to have a successful marketing initiative in play. While your sales and marketing consist of different actions, they must operate very closely together and have transparency in sharing both data and results.
An open dialogue between your sales and marketing team is paramount in understanding the needs of your target audience, and interpreting which tactics are working vs. which are not in your overall marketing strategy.
What is the role of a Marketing Strategist?
Marketing strategists analyze data to figure out the best way to promote a product or gain customers. This data might include population group statistics, economic trends, and advertising methods.
They spend their day as a marketing strategist researching the products they are assigned to promote and the targeted group for their promotion. A marketing strategist’s duties consist of a variety of activities. One day they could walk the streets to observe how a target group behaves, work with a team the next day to design promotional materials, and the next day organize the project so that it will conform to the budget.
In addition to this research and design, they might also be responsible for establishing and managing a marketing and advertising budget for a particular client or item. Depending on the company or the advertising agency, a marketing strategist may be the director of a marketing department or an employee answerable to a director.
What is the role of a sales expert?
They know how to talk to your potential client – online and in real life. Someone who is seasoned in sales knows how to formulate the right questions to help the customer articulate what their underlying problem truly is. To fully understand the challenges of a potential client and offer a solution is how the sales expert will help them. A sales expert also knows how to manage the expectations from both sides of the table and how/when to talk about money.
Selling today is a whole different ball game than it was 5 short years ago. The days of the constant sales pitch has lost its appeal. Real engagement and trust is what’s expected. I know – we keep hearing these words. But know that they are more than a trend—prospects are really looking for authenticity before they feel comfortable enough to buy. You’ve got to care about your customer and consider their needs, rather than focusing on what you can sell them. It’s about getting back to basics, having conversations with your clients and really listening to what they are telling you. That’s a key to all of this which people often forget when trying to make sales happen for their business— most of your job as a sale’s person is not to talk, but to listen.
“The best way to get your client talking is to ask them open-ended questions”.
Have a pen and paper with you. Ask permission for whether you can take notes. A conversation is fun to have- a purpose will make it more effective. The client wants you to solve a problem they’re having, so be privy to what those problems are and have the solutions prepared in advance to make a real impact.
What’s the value of having both?
Once your marketing materials and strategies are complete you’re all done. Right?
Not even close.
“If you build it, they will not come”, Nicole Gallant
What’s next? When can I expect the phone to ring, the orders to come in, the bookings to happen?
I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but rarely will these pieces happen on their own. If you just tackle the marketing side of things, and never get to the sales side, you’re only completing what could be an effective strategy half-way. Skimping on the other very important half of this process will often mean that you don’t see the conversions you’re hoping for. Lack of action leads to lack of results.
So how can you build on your marketing initiatives and fulfill that other half of the process to get real, tangible results? It happens when you include a sales process from a sales expert. And not just any sales expert, but one who knows what needs to be done to share your marketing investment to the world, versus hiding it away through a lack of sales planning.
The real value is hiring a professional who can connect the marketing to a sales process and have the whole process run smoothly, efficiently and effectively. When you hire an expert who is proficient in both marketing and sales, you are hiring an individual who sees the whole picture, and can translate the results and data from their marketing research directly to their sales initiatives with potential clients. An expert who can fulfill both your marketing and sales processes can save you the time and money it would take to coordinate those two teams and keep them on the same page.
Have questions about what a combined marketing and sales expert role would look like, and how this role could fit seamlessly into your business?
Contact me at email@example.com or give me a call at 902-209-9626 so that we can have a conversation about your marketing and sales needs.