Sales and Marketing may often be lumped together, yet they are unique and separate disciplines.
Marketing is all about realizing needs in the marketplace and communicating an organization’s ability to meet those needs. In addition, marketing must determine not only pricing, but the required customer experience to beat the competition.
Alternatively, Sales is about meeting the individual customer’s needs and convincing her why this organization is best suited to provide a solution to her problem at a price which makes economic sense.
The CS3 Technology team spends quite a bit of time in training — training for producing better results for our customers, or training for improving our organization and its foundations for providing profitable, consistent results. One theme which keeps coming up is the need for differentiation in the marketplace. We must be able to communicate why a customer would choose to do business with CS3 Technology.
The hard part here is that the reasoning must be a verifiable differentiator. Anyone can say they are the best, the finest, cheapest, and so on. But to hold meaning and value, the claim must be tied to a provable difference.
Nearly every company has competition. Often, there is so much competition that the customer cannot see any difference between the various choices available to them. Marketing must break through the din and strike with messaging which leaves no doubt they have the best solution, price, and/or experience.
However, the role of marketing goes beyond even this, in that an organization does not want every customer. Marketing must find those customers whose needs best match up with the organization’s solutions. Marketing for McDonald’s does not feel anything like the marketing message Ruth’s Chris Steak House uses. Ford and Ferrari generally look for different customers too. To make the sales effort efficient, marketing should result in bringing the right prospects into the sales funnel.
Sales steps on the scene after the messaging has been accomplished. Prospects may still have to be sought out and found, or hopefully, prospects will approach the company seeking a solution. Either way, sales must start by qualifying the prospect to make sure neither party is wasting the other’s time.
Our VP of Sales often states, “There are two winners in every sales competition: the salesperson who ultimately closes the deal, and the first salesperson who realizes they are not a fit and disqualifies themselves.”
The best salespersons follow a path of discovery, determining the customer’s true need. They follow by presenting a solid solution which meets the price, quality and technical requirements. Ultimately, it is the customer’s decision, but the best salesperson leaves the customer with little doubt and closes the deal.
Too often, the sales and marketing functions are combined. Or worse, the wrong people are halfway performing these functions in addition to a leadership or technical role in the company. Each industry requires unique skills and personality traits in the sales and marketing roles. For the sake of your business and your customer’s, place the right persons in the right positions.