I often encounter otherwise savvy business professionals who don’t know the difference between marketing and sales. They tend to misdiagnose marketing problems for sales problems and waste lots of energy, time and resources on the wrong remedies.
Marketing and sales are intimately entwined and one can’t thrive without the other, but they are fundamentally different functions. Marketing is a one-to-many relationship with a marketplace at large whereas sales is a one-to-one relationship with a specific client, channel or prospect. Marketing is a messaging and visibility medium whereas sales is a carefully curated, consultative and problem solving process.
Marketing should exist to spark curiosity and sustain interest in a brand, product or service, it’s what drives a prospect to request more information or walk through the doors of your store. Sales is a more nuanced process that builds a more intimate relationship with a qualified prospect and provides specific solutions. Sales needs the broad brush of marketing to paint a path to the door of curiosity - “tell me more”.
Many successful salespeople understand the role of marketing and incorporate a marketing mindset into their daily sales practice. But without the more muscular, long term marketing effort by their organization in the respective market, sales will need to work much harder to establish credibility and basic foundational messaging.
So if, and more likely when, your organization claims they have a sales problem, take the time to examine if it’s really more a marketing problem instead. The distinction will save time, energy and angst and lead to a more effective outcome.