The Differences Between Sales and Marketing
Company executives are often very confident about their products, and will sometimes say that a product is so good, it sells itself. While the product in question may be good, as a rule, all products need a sales workforce to sell them.
The main function of an organization's Sales Department is to attract and retain customers. The Sales Department needs to ensure it meets customer demand. To do this, the department hires salespeople or outside agencies to carry out the necessary sales activities. Salespeople must also analyze market demands. To do this, they need to understand the psychology of the target customer, anticipate and react accordingly to market fluctuations and explore the possibility of new markets.
In addition to making the all-important sale, each salesperson should be aware of the need for business development – creating new business opportunities for the organization. Pursuing new business opportunities helps salespeople develop new business relationships. These relationships can help generate increased sales as well as position the salesperson and the organization for future success.
There are many different opinions on where the sales function should be located in a corporate structure. Some organizations favor having sales work in tandem with the marketing function, while others prefer to keep sales as a standalone function. There are arguments for and against both options. But no matter how the organization is structured with regard to the marketing and sales functions, it's imperative that the groups maintain regular communication with each other. In fact, the Sales Department should establish close ties with nearly every section of an organization, including Research and Development (R&D), Human Resources, Manufacturing, Finance, and Customer Service.
Each organization has its own unique sales system. But these systems are affected by several common forces:
External forces – The first type of force is external forces, which range from issues concerning competition and customers to environmental factors. These forces can represent an opportunity or a threat, depending on the organization. For example, very cold weather is good for a company that sells thermal underwear, but not for a company that sells suntan lotion.
Corporate strategy – The second force that can affect the sales system is the corporate strategy. The way a company organizes its business goals and objectives will directly affect sales.
Marketing and sales strategies – The final force, marketing and sales strategies, identifies potential customers and dictates how the selling is to be carried out. Both the Marketing and Sales Departments are responsible for deciding on market segmentation and product and service offerings.
The roles of sales and marketing
Companies rely on sales to generate income. Whether the product is tangible, like a laptop computer, or intangible, like an insurance policy, it needs to be sold. Sales is linked to marketing. It is the Marketing Department's responsibility to create the image and identify the market for the product. Sales is used to communicate the image that marketing has created for the product. The Sales Department will take the product and sell it to the market. The sales pitch will emphasize that this is the right product, at the right time and price, and in the right place.
Roles of sales and marketing
The roles of sales and marketing can differ greatly depending on the organization and the type of product it's selling. For instance, if a company is selling magazine subscriptions, it's less likely to require field sales representatives. Sales of the service would be more marketing-oriented and based on direct mail, Web-based advertising, and TV, radio, and print advertising.
However if the company was selling a new pharmaceutical product, it might have more of an emphasis on sales. Direct marketing might be less effective for this type of product.
Organizations are either sales or marketing focused
Organizations are often said to be either sales or marketing focused, based on which function has the larger budget. Examples of sales organizations are pharmaceutical companies and consultancy companies, while marketing organizations can include consumer product companies and travel and leisure companies.
Many Sales and Marketing Departments interact closely and frequently. After all they have the same single goal – to get customers to buy the product. It's up to the Marketing Department to create a coherent strategy to sell the product, then the Sales Department will have to do the actual selling.
Role of sales
Though Marketing and Sales are closely linked, both departments have separate responsibilities. The role of sales involves setting up accounts and generating sales, dealing with front line customers, and building business relationships.
Setting up accounts and generating sales
Salespeople set up accounts for customers in order to track activity and help facilitate repeat sales. These accounts also often involve a preferred customer discount or other incentives to increase account sales.
Dealing with front line customers
Salespeople deal with an organization's front line customers regularly. This involves working with both potential and existing customers and is useful for providing customer feedback to the Marketing Department.
Building business relationships
Salespeople have to nurture and build business relationships. They do this by communicating with existing and prospective customers, anticipating their needs, and selling them the right products.
The role of marketing consists of different tasks than sales:
generating leads for sales – When marketing staff carry out research in advance of launching a new product, or rebranding an old one, they may encounter leads which could generate future sales. They would typically pass these leads on to their colleagues in the Sales Department.
Branding and messaging – Marketers are responsible for developing a strategy that will help the product sell. This includes developing and implementing branding and messaging strategies for the product.Long-term planning – Marketers take a strategic, long-term planning approach. They determine how to communicate a product's marketing message to the relevant demographic.
Sales and marketing are closely linked functions, and sometimes they can overlap. Some experts believe that sales should be incorporated entirely into the marketing function, while others claim that sales should be a standalone function. Either way, it's important for both Sales and Marketing Departments to communicate and collaborate closely together. The roles of sales and marketing can vary from one organization to another. Generally though, the role of sales involves setting up accounts and generating sales, dealing with front line customers, and building business relationships. And the role of marketing entails generating leads for sales, branding and messaging, and long-term planning.
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