Working with mid size companies, we often hear the terms Sales and Marketing used together. In some ways, this is logical because the two need to work together. But in fact, they are two very different functions and require very different skills.
Business leaders know what Operations is; they make stuff. They know what Accounting is; they record and control the money. And they know what Sales does; they sell stuff. So if you are not making stuff, selling stuff, or recording the money, what is marketing and why do you need it
he job of Sales is to “sell what’s in stock”. The company has specific products or services and the job of Sales is to sell those things. Sales develops relationships with customers and/or channel partners. They knock down the doors, overcome objections, negotiate prices and terms and often work internally to be sure their customer’s orders are filled.
The perspective of Sales is from inside the company out toward the customers and their horizon is focused on this week, this month and this quarter. If sales is not focused on the now, then there may not be any revenue this week, month or quarter.
Marketing = Align with Customers, Now and for the Future
A key job of Marketing is to understand the marketplace from the perspective of the customer looking back towards the company and helping lead the company where it should be in the future. Marketing’s job is to direct the organization toward the segments, or groups of customers and channels where the company can profitably compete. It should help the organization see how it needs to modify its product offerings, pricing and communication so that it meets the needs of the distribution channel or end customers. (This is a function of your market positioning strategy.)