Marketing. Sales. A Rose By Any Other Name…

I constantly come across articles encouraging sales and marketing departments in B2B companies to work together.

Here is my question:

Why do we even differentiate between marketing and sales?

Here is (the newly redesigned) on the difference between the two:

“…marketing is everything that you do to reach and persuade prospects and the sales process is everything that you do to close the sale and get a signed agreement or contract.”

And here is the American Marketing Association’s definition of marketing:

“The activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

“Persuade prospects” and “close the sale” sound awfully similar to me. Likewise, “exchanging offerings” sounds a lot like the final step in closing a sale. To further link the two, I will lay out below three key ways they are similar and offer a way to move forward in how we think of them.

They both require finding a market for the product
Every product or service has a target market. Some are extremely broad and some are tiny niches. Before you can determine how best to offer yours, you have to determine where on that market size spectrum you fall. There are numerous ways to accomplish that, from market research to data analysis to Google searches.

Without knowing who they should be talking to, a creative cannot produce effective content and a closer cannot set meaningful appointments.

They both require defining the product or service
Your business offers either a product or a service — or both in some cases. Prior to taking that product or service to market, you have to define it. Not only must you define it, you must do so in a manner that is meaningful to your target market and can be communicated effectivelyby people inside your company.

You can have the perfect solution to someone’s problem, but if your own people do not understand it in layman’s terms, then, once again, your creatives cannot produce effective content and a closer cannot conduct meaningful appointments.

They both require getting someone to actually buy the product
Marketing is not successful if you get page views, social shares (wow — that’s harder to say fast than I realized!), etc., but nobody buys anything. If that happens, you probably have some great material, but it’s just content, not marketing — read “persuasion” — content, because you have effectively sold the content not the product or service you actually need to sell.

Likewise, you are not going to have very many sales if your marketing leads to appointments with prospects but you never seem able to convert those appointments into sales.

They both contribute to my takeaway
Here’s the thing — I could have just as easily titled this blog post “It’s All Sales — Including Marketing.” What that ultimately means is sales and marketing have to operate together. If you have different departments and department heads for the two, why? Marketing and sales are just as inextricably linked as debits and credits. Do you have one department for debits and one for credits?

I don’t care what you call the resultant department, but tear down the wall between sales and marketing. Today. Keeping them separated ensures neither will operate at full capacity or effectiveness.

Originally published by Cygnal — “Marketing. Sales. A Rose By Any Other Name…”

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