Many companies often blur the connection between marketing and sales; some even combine the function and actually create the position Vice President of Sales & Marketing.
That would be the same as appointing someone as Vice President of Finance and Operations. Unless the company is exceptionally small, no one person can maximize their effectiveness at either position. Simply put, both functional areas are completely separate and require separate management as well as separate skill sets.
Marketing vs Sales
Basically speaking the sales function is to bring in business. Marketing’s function is to give sales the tools it needs to be able to bring in that business. Marketing’s job is to understand the company, the competition, and the market.
Many companies operate under the misconception that the only job of marketing is to saturate the opening of the sales funnel. They accomplish this saturation utilizing advertising, brochures, branding techniques, trade shows hoping that they can generate numerous leads for the sales department to follow-up on.
In reality, the marketing process is two-fold requiring a vast amount of research and analysis and then the creation of sales tools. Most often sales resources are limited and cannot afford to chase unqualified leads. The combination of market research and targeted sales tools should lead to demand creation activity. However, that is not always the case and true measurement of success in this arena is generally very limited.
If you take any marketing course in business school, the Five P’s of Marketing are ingrained into you from day one. Collectively these 5 P’s make up what we as marketers call the Marketing Mix. While there are some variations to the P’s, they generally consist of:
- Product – the product or service offered to the customer
- Price – pricing strategies with the goal of meeting a desired profit margin or costing structure
- Place (Distribution) – distribution of the product/service to your target market
- Promotion – communication and endorsement of your product/service to a customer
- People – service marketing and the level of customer service you provide to your customer
Marketing is Also about Customer Retention
Unfortunately, some marketing “professionals” wouldn’t know a customer even if the customer were a rattle snake and bit them in the behind. They rely on surveys, research and sales person feedback alone. Furthermore they often lack the sales experience to understand where the opportunities really lie. Make no mistake; it is the customer that drives the entire marketing mix. The entire process starts and stops with the customer – this is the only true measure of success.
Some Key Marketing functions should include the following:
Development of marketing plans
Advertising & Promotions
Marketing is how you define your product, promote your product, distribute your product, and to maintain a relationship with your customers. Marketing can also play a role in helping sales to become more effective (thereby increasing the close rates) by providing competitive data, solution-building tools, and so forth.
Effective marketing should lead to effective sales.
Marketing may be viewed as “doing their job” if they put out enough brochures, advertising, etc. But, the sales team is considered a failure if all this great marketing effort is not turned into increased sales. Let me repeat — Marketing and Sales must work together but are separate roles. Marketing is a support function to sales but should be held accountable for supporting growth with effective, measurable marketing plans.