What Does Your Business REALLY Need: Sales OR Marketing?
plural noun: sales
The exchange of a commodity for money; the action of selling something.
The action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.
As a digital marketing consultant, one of my biggest pet peeves of is the interchanging of the terms “Sales” and “Marketing.” More often than I will admit, I find advertisements or receive referrals for companies needing “Marketing” assistance. In reality, what they want – or more accurately, need – is someone that can sell their products or services. While that is a service of proper marketing, it isn’t the core function.
Sales and marketing are essential tools for business of every size, but are different practices by trade. A sales rockstar is focused on one thing alone: growing the bottom line of your business with every trick in his toolkit. A marketing wizard, however, is focused on making the sales rockstar successful in every transaction.
This doesn’t mean that there isn’t crossover between the two: marketers are often called in on a number of sales functions (like presentations and support), while your sales team are often the front line names and faces of your brand. How can you tell which you label your company needs for further success? Before you put a title on a business need or job description, be sure to ask these three critical questions.
What Are You Trying to Achieve: Renown or Revenue?
Before you start buying LinkedIn ads and scouring Monster resumes, this is the first question you should ask about the next position you want to fill (or create). What will the primary responsibilities look like for this person? More important: what does success and failure look like?
By defining the problem your company needs to fill, you’ll be able to better align yourself for the most important ROI metric in your company: the people factor. Calling someone who will analyze sales reports in CRM software to identify future opportunities a “Marketing Manager” is like assigning a diesel mechanic to work on jet engines. Yes, they are both engines – but working on each requires a different skill set in order to achieve success.
That being written, renown and revenue are not mutually exclusive. Rather, with the right assets (internal, consultant, or otherwise) you’ll be able to achieve both with great success. It all starts by identifying the primary purpose of your needs.
What Are Your Overall Goals: Brand or Bucks?
So you’ve identified what you want today. But what will you want someone to complete three weeks from now? Six months from now? How about five years from now? What are the long term goals for the assets you ultimately need?
A good marketing team will help your brand become more visible in your target community, and ultimately help drive your company to greater engagement. In turn, this will open the funnel wide for your sales team to do what they do best: drive recurring income for your company. It all starts by identifying your long term goals, being confident in your plans, and letting the talent follow.
What Is The Long Term Strategy: Visibility or Viability?
With your work needs and overall goals identified, let’s talk about your long term strategy. Where do you see your company growing? Are you looking to increase your total business, or are you looking to increase your business visibility?
As a company leader, it makes sense to understand which is most important before you start figuring out what resources you need. High-quality sales people can bring long-term viability, while marketing can make sure your message is seen, heard, and delivered.
In an ideal world, you’ll be able to balance these two to achieve the ultimate success. However, not all visible brands are viable (see: SkyBus), and not all viable brands are visible (see: BASF). By setting out a long term path to success, you can better assess which need your company needs to fill today, and which is most important over time.
On behalf of my sales and marketing brethren around the world, I thank you for your attention to this most important point. Remember: sales and marketing are NOT the same service, but serve to help your company get to the same place together.
What are some of your frustrations with the sales and marketing process? What is the best way to determine what a company’s needs are? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!