Is there a difference between marketing and sales? If so, what is it? Let us look at this a bit deeper. As we are aware, marketing identifies the needs and wants of prospective customers and tries to satisfy those needs/wants through creation of various products/services and sales helps in reaching out to those prospects and convert them to customers. In simple terms “Marketing creates the strategy and Sales implements the strategy”. Various tools are utilised by marketing/sales to perform their respective roles.
Strategy is defined as a “well thought out plan.” Marketing delivers value to an organization through creation of demand with customers that will ultimately allow the company to make a profit. Moreover, the company must operate in a competitive environment and therefore must have a way to differentiate its offering to influence the buying decision. The strategy identifies what differentiation will be used and defines the positioning of the product or service. Once this strategy is in place, sales needs to take over, to implement the strategy in accordance to the pre-defined plans.
Both marketing and sales are necessities to the success of a business. One cannot do without the other. By strategically combining both efforts we will experience a successful amount of business growth. However, there should be equilibrium between the two efforts. “Remember the key to success in marketing and in sales is balance”.
Some people say that marketing is also known as sales. Is this true? Let us analyse this. I feel that it is nothing but sharing information and helping people make decisions. Have we ever noticed how hard it is for people to make decisions? So why not make it easier for them? Offer them a solution. If we are only trying to book an appointment to demonstrate a water purifier, we are trying to sell the product to the prospect but if we offer the solution to possible health hazards due to water contamination, we are providing information and helping the prospect make a decision. Now do we see the difference?
In certain instances we may be unhappy with the marketing or sales process. What do we do in this case? In case we are uncomfortable with certain elements in the sales or marketing process we need to look at an alternative that proves successful. This could be done through partnering with someone that possesses the talents that we feel are missing in the process or by hiring the right talent or by outsourcing certain parts of the process. Most companies do keep these alternatives as a buffer.
For the process to be successful, it has to go through the following essential steps:
Prospecting the Target Market and Audience (Identifying the right Prospect)
Building Credibility and Trust – (Through right message delivery/communication)
Taking the Buyer through the Process – (By informing that the product/service would meet their needs)
Presentation of the Product or Service (In a convincing way that it meets their needs/wants)
Successfully Closing the Sale (By using the right sales techniques)
Following up (With customers to build long-term relationship and enhance business growth )
To sum up the above, it could be said that – Marketing and Sales functions are interrelated and deeply rooted in each other’s purpose to initiate revenue growth.
I had read a statement given by an anonymous writer about the basic difference between Sales and Marketing – “Sales is a guy getting on his knees to ask the woman he loves to marry him. Marketing is how she got him there”.
Let us consider a few examples which gives us an idea about the techniques used in marketing and sales:
Teleshopping – This is a well known programme which is broadcast on the TV. Most of products demonstrated in the shows are promoted by normal people. When a viewer watches these shows, they tend to be carried away by this concept. This is because the viewer sees himself/herself in the person on the show. Thus these products do not need much of selling, the promotion done acts as a catalyst for the customer to go for the product. Moreover, the marketer conveys the message that the offer is for a limited time and restricted to a limited number of people. These factors magnetise the customer to the telephone to place the order as soon as possible as he/she want to be the first few to receive the special offer.
The convenience of shopping over the telephone and the way in which the product is portrayed automatically makes the customer to go for it. Here the promotion plays a major part in selling the product. Thus if the marketing is smart, selling will follow suit.
Detergents – Some detergent manufacturing companies use a similar strategy in marketing their products. In the ads made, they offer the product to a housewife and make her use it. The lady is amazed with the result given by the product and promises to use it regularly. Several women who watch these ads see themselves in the housewife shown. Thus it is easier for them to relate to the product. This fact stimulates sales.
Sales are an outcome of Marketing. Smart marketers understand their customers and convey a message that the product/service is specially made for them. This fact gives the customers a good feeling and automatically aids in selling the product/service.
“Desperate selling will always be a short-term strategy but smart marketing will go miles ahead.”
A THOUGHT FROM THE MASTERâ€¦
Neither marketing nor sales departments will be fully effective unless each understands the other, said Kotler, whose presentation outlined some of the broad differences of each and offered ways to “harmonise” the two. Each has particular “mindsets and styles.”
Where marketers are often considered being oriented toward profit and data, relying on analytical models that favour planning, salespeople are seen as most concerned with volume and action, leveraging their intuition to deliver results that are customer focused.
Many people, including senior executives, perceive the sales function as being more immediate, while marketing “is best appreciated in longer-term perspective.”
But ultimately top organizations find ways to align and even integrate the two disciplines for maximum benefit
Though simplistic conceptions picture the marketing department operating purely from a strategic perspective and sales from a tactical one, with a “hand off” of responsibilities occurring somewhere midway on this continuum. Each department benefits from being better integrated with the other, even though very few of the companies he has studied have achieved this goal.
“Let marketing help in the sales stage, but also bring sales into the marketing function earlier [in the process]. “Marketing should be a lead generator for the company,” helping sales develop new customer prospects by bringing segmentation skills and frameworks that define customer needs to bear on the challenge. Doing so can result in better quality leads.
Philip Kotler (Excerpts from his lecture at Kellogg’s school of Management)
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