Salt and Pepper . . . Bogart and Bacall . . . Chicago and Daley . . .Sales and Marketing
What do these terms have in common? They are all familiar word associations. How is the last term different from the rest? Well, for the first three, no one usually confuses one term for another!
Sales and Marketing is often used as one phrase or the two words are used interchangeably. Yet, there is a significant difference between sales and marketing – and that difference can impact your business.
Marketing includes all those activities you perform before you talk to the first prospect. It consists of the research, strategy, and promotional activities used to discover what products and services are wanted by businesses and consumers – and the techniques to make potential customers aware of them.
Sales entails prospecting and one-on-one contact with a customer. Sales involves your interaction with a prospect designed to close the deal – the activities where you engage a specific prospect or customer to sell a product or service.
Why does understanding the difference matter?
Small business owners sometimes skip marketing and go straight to sales.
A prospect, whose business is struggling, recently told me that he would work on marketing after he had 75 customers. Yet, his prospecting would be so much more effective if he had spent the time to understand the environment he was operating in and to effectively communicate his value.
On the other hand, a client starting a new business took the time to really understand the marketplace he was operating in. We looked at what products and services his competitors were offering and how they were priced. We talked to actual prospects to see what attributes they wanted in the products. We developed marketing messages designed to separate his business from the competition. As a result, the client made several decisions that changed his original plans because now he was armed with a wealth of information and analysis to help him be more successful.
Take a moment to ask yourself these questions.
Am I providing products and services that customers are looking for? Am I targeting the right customers? How is my business similar and different from my competitors? Am I keeping up with the trends in the marketplace? Do my marketing materials communicate the right message and have a professional look?