Marketing and sales are essential components for all business that are interested in generating revenue. Both have a lot in common - communication, messaging, pain points, understanding the buyer – and both rely on each other to be effective in their respective areas. Try to imagine your business without a marketing or sales division – how successful would it be? The scene from Tommy Boy where the model car catches fire comes to mind. With a marketing plan, he would have had a better message. And a fire extinguisher before getting his parking validated.
The short and quick answer is marketing. Why? Marketing is the infrastructure to how to build your business. Think of it in terms of building a house: the blueprint is the strategy, the foundation is marketing and the finished product, or house, is sales. While you could build a house without the frame it would be more difficult, time consuming, hazardous and unstable. The end result would still be a house – but would you want to live in it?
If your response is sales: you can certainly generate sales without marketing. Companies, especially startups and smaller companies, may not have a marketing budget but they still manage to generate sales. The question is: could they do it faster and easier IF they have a marketing plan? The answer is 100% YES! Good marketing creates awareness on a larger scale, builds your brand more effectively and sets you up to grow exponentially in the future. There are a plethora of free digital platforms available that there’s no reason to NOT market your brand. Just develop a one-year marketing strategy and focus on sales. Worry about the future when you have more information on what’s most effective at generating sales for your particular business.
Developing a marketing strategy is a proactive approach to your business. With a solid foundation, you can then utilize your sales team to achieve the desired results. With a consistent philosophy, voice and message, the sales numbers will increase. Make sure the marketing team is sharing with sales the SWOT analysis so the team is armed with the best information available to represent your brand and sell your products and services.
Keep in mind that the sales channel is constantly changing. There are some industries like retail that are relying more and more on their digital real estate to generate sales. While that may reduce sales manpower in some companies, an emerging trend is hiring “consultants”, professionals who are savvy in marketing AND sales. Consultants are employees that companies need – a group of people who understand how to create customer segments (there is a psychology component to this as well!), uncover their pain point then convert them to a customer. The line between marketing and sales is blurring as the two departments blend.
Businesses need to think beyond marketing the brand: they need to stay in front of the ideal customer, give them a reason to choose you then give them a reason to continue buying from you. This NEW “sales cycle” requires an in-depth understanding of marketing in order to generate sales. Teams will need to research, gather competitive intelligence and customer data, generate sales and design a customer experience that not only gets them to come back – but gets them talking about you to other people who are just like them. When you can accomplish that, you’ve accomplished marketing and sales. Then, both come first – together.