When I talk with business owners, the terms “marketing” and “sales” often come up. Many business owners use them interchangeably, but doing so is not quite accurate.
The activities involved in marketing and sales are different, even though they work toward the same goals.
Marketing consists of all the activities you do before a prospect interacts with your business. It’s also what you do while prospects are between periods of using your service. It’s how you entice prospects to do business with you.
Sales is the process you use to convert those prospects into customers once they come into contact with your business.
Think of buying a car. The dealer and the manufacturer market to you to get you to come to the dealership to check out the new cars. Once you enter the dealership, you work with a salesperson to find the best vehicle for you. After you’ve bought the vehicle, you won’t be in the market for another for several years. During this time, the dealer and manufacturer market to you again, planting the seeds for you to return to them when you need to replace the car you just purchased.
In the car dealer example, both selling and marketing are happening. Sometimes the same person does both, especially in smaller businesses, but separate specialists usually handle these different activities. These specialists often have different personality types that make them better suited to one job or the other.
Salespeople are traditionally more outgoing. They often thrive on action, so it helps that they get to see their results faster. In most industries, once someone is in the sales funnel, it only takes a few days or weeks to get them to complete the deal.
Marketers, on the other hand, have to work, think, and plan ahead. They tend to be more methodical and deliberate. The process of finding and preparing prospects to do business with a company takes longer—sometimes months or years, depending on the industry’s buying cycle. Marketers implement campaigns designed to get prospects to contact a business. Great marketers bring in prospects who are ready to buy from you right now.
All businesses need both of these tools in their arsenal. You have to bring in prospects in order to sell to them, and you have to market the value of your products or services in order to close a sale. As long as everyone understands what results they’re seeking from each task, this works well.
If you’d like help analyzing and fine-tuning your marketing and sales funnel, contact Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org. He works with businesses in many industries to help them find faster and more effective ways to reach and sell to their best customers.