Download Audio: Does Your Business Need Marketing or Sales?
In the process of growing your business, you will need to answer the question of whether you need marketing or sales. One of the most important reasons why you need to answer this question, is because you have limited resources by which to run your business.
When faced with limited resources, we have to make the tough decisions of deciding whether to go with one or more things, over one or several other options. We might want to prioritise some things over others as well.
Before we can answer the pertinent question of whether your business needs marketing or sales, we have to first understand what these terms mean, and how they relate to each other. Only after understanding the terms, can we make an informed decision.
Marketing and sales are two distinct but closely related activities in any business. At times, people often confuse the two, they are nonetheless two different things. This is an important point to understand.
Marketing is all about putting the word out and generating interest and awareness about a product or service. It encompasses all the activities a business undertakes in order to promote its products or services.
The focus of marketing is to generate awareness and interest in a brand, as well as its products and services. Marketing involves the sub activities of advertising, public relations, market research as well as brand development.
The objective of marketing is to project a positive image of the business and its products and services, with the end goal of generating leads that can convert into sales.
Sales on the other hand is transactional in nature. It focuses on processes involving transactions between a business and its customers. It is about closing the deal. It involves activities such as lead generation, networking and getting paid.
The ultimate objective of sales is to convert leads into paying customers, and drive revenue for the business. Paying customers are the lifeblood of the business. Without sales, a business is unsustainable and cannot grow.
Marketing and sales have their signature activities that can help our understanding of what each term is all about, and help us distinguish between the two.
Marketing is distinct from sales, in that marketing has more to do with putting the word out, rather than providing a solution. This is why it is important to understand what activity your business process is involved with, at any particular time.
When marketing, you are simply putting the word out about what your business can do for the customer. You are sensitising the customer about what you can do for them. It is important to understand the customer’s needs in the marketing phase, rather than trying to “sell” them something.
Only after you have a clear understanding of what the customer needs, and you have established how you may help the customer, do you move to sell them your solution. It is therefore critical to know when you are marketing and when you are selling.
Marketing is not about asking for the sale, that is an aspect of the sales process. When marketing, you want to build rapport with the customer. You want to understand their needs and articulate, if, and how you may provide the solution.
When marketing, it is tempting to want to monopolise the conversation. A good marketer refrains from hogging the conversation, and lets the customer do most of the talking. The reason for this is, you are seeking understanding.
The sale is mostly about asking. When selling, you are making your offer to the customer. You are providing them with a solution, and are trying to convince them that what you are offering is what they need. You may only do this well, if you have understood their needs in the marketing stage.
Human beings are emotional creatures at the core, and more often than not, people buy for emotional reasons, rather than the technical aspects associated with the product or service. Marketing deals with the emotional, whilst sales involves the technical.
Sometimes people buy because they want to feel good. Perhaps the product or service boosts their mood or makes them feel happy. It may be that they want to satisfy a desire, such as when they buy a luxury item. Emotional needs need to be met before a sale can be made.
The emotional aspects of your product or service are what should be communicated to the customer during the marketing phase, rather than the technical. You will find that focusing on features and benefits during marketing, will not take you very far with a prospect. Features and benefits should be the focus of the sale after the customer has emotional buy-in.
When marketing, a marketer should not force a sale. A sale comes later, the customer has to be attracted to what you are offering, instead of you forcing your offering on them. This is why marketing is an emotional affair.
You have to make your marketing offer so appealing that customers are naturally attracted to it. A good marketer allows the customer to come to them, rather than forcing a sale.The important thing is to be consciously aware when you are marketing, and when you are making a sale.
Marketing pulls the customer in, by addressing their needs, whilst sales makes them an offer and pushes them towards buying the product or service.
Marketing is about building relationships. It is people focussed, rather than product or service focussed. When marketing, you should always be thinking long term, as opposed to short term thinking, that is typical of sales.
In sales, you are thinking about selling this particular product or particular service in this particular time period. Marketing has a longer time view, you are thinking of retaining the customer for the long haul, not just for this product or service.
This is why at Webmobyle, we have inbound marketing as one of our main marketing strategies. We aim to inform and educate and build long term relationships with our clients through email and all the other channels we use such as social media.
The question of whether you need marketing or sales for your business is irrelevant, because in reality, you need both. Every business should develop complementary marketing and sales strategies.
There is the concept of the purchase funnel that is practical and relevant here. A purchase funnel is a marketing and sales term, used to capture and describe the journey that typical customers go through, from prospecting to purchase. It consists of several steps, the actual number of which varies with each business’ marketing and sales strategy.
Marketing and Sales are journeys through the purchase funnel. Marketing brings customers in the wider end of the funnel, whilst sales takes them out the narrow tip of the funnel, when a successful sale is made. The two strategies have to be perfectly aligned to bring about positive outcomes.
Your marketing and sales strategies have to work in concert, for your business to succeed. A strong marketing strategy should create leads that generate interest in your products or services, whilst an equally strong sales strategy will convert the leads into paying customers, and drive revenue to sustain the business.
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