Sales or Marketing? What’s the difference? And which one does your brand need more of?
It can be difficult to answer these questions succinctly; however, here’s the standard explanation:
- Marketing comes first. It involves the research necessary for naming the ideal customer, identifying the target audience, product development to meet the needs and wants of those people, and advertising in all the right ways and places to build brand awareness. It’s made up of the brochures and other materials necessary for visually (and textually) conveying the values, mission, vision, story and purpose of the brand.
- Sales is all about using marketing research and materials to find ideal customers and then convert them to loyal clients.
In short, marketing provides all the foundational work and material necessary for the sales department to more effectively do its job.
And in How-to-Build-a-Brand style, I would explain it like this:
- Branding is the vehicle.
- Marketing is the type fuel that’s put directly into the vehicle.
- Sales is the type of fuel that ensures the vehicle gets to its destination.
Are you starting to get the picture?
Marketing Strategies and Sales Strategies are quite different, and if you’re like most businesses owners, you weren’t aware of that. Here are a few points of distinction:
- A Marketing Strategy is a plan for connecting sellers with buyers.
- A Sales Strategy is all about what to do (to convert them) after that association has been made.
- A Marketing Strategy has a broad focus, for meeting the needs of the brand’s target audience.
- A Sales Strategy has a narrower focus, for converting one customer at a time.
- A Marketing Strategy creates something that the target audience members will need and want.
- A Sales Strategy convinces the ideal customer that he or she needs and wants the product or service.
- A Marketing Strategy is made up of everything your brand will do to drive people to it.
- A Sales Strategy is made up of all the conversations you will have, in order to convert strangers to friends, friends to customers, and customers to lifelong clients.
When we talk about building trust, credibility and value, Marketing lays the foundation for those things; however, Sales is what brings it home to our ideal customers.
When we talk about how we make our customers feel, which is what really matters, Sales is the portion that’s made up of the heartbeats (rather than short-lived touchpoints) that endear our brands to our ideal customers.
I have a little acronym that I use in my own business, and that I share with my Brand Accelerators. It’s…
Really, only the first step (Attract) is the Marketing Department’s job; however, that doesn’t mean that Sales is more significant than Marketing. It simply means that once your Marketing Strategy is in place, the Sale Department has its work cut out for it. Conversion, Engagement and Systemisation couldn’t happen without the Marketing – there would be no brand reputation, no values to use as measurement, no distinction from other brands, no visuals to use as memory anchors…you get the picture.
So, to summarise:
- Your Marketing Strategy Attracts ideal customers to your brand.
- Your Sales Strategy Converts strangers to friends, friends to customers, and customers to loyal clients.
- Your Sales Strategy Engages your ideal customers so they build emotional attachments to your brand.
- Your Sales Department Systemises your Sales Strategy (i.e. identifies those procedures that are most effective, then simplifies and makes them easily repeatable) so your brand can experience high levels of conversion, over and over again.
How are you implementing Sales and Marketing in your business?
Sales and Marketing are often split into two different teams, particularly in larger companies. SMEs (small-to-medium enterprises) might use the same professionals to conduct marketing research, create marketing materials, and then hit the pavement to make sales (i.e. conversions). If you’re one of these SMEs, limited in time, team and capital, you will likely end up doing all of the above at some point in time.
Remember to Nurture your A.C.E.S.
Remember that when you have a choice to appeal to the sensibilities or the emotions of your ideal customers, always choose emotional engagement. People will remember the way your brand made them feel…and they’ll come back to it again and again to experience that same feeling. As you build your Marketing Strategy, know what emotions your target audience members wish to undergo—and which ones they want to alleviate. Focus on connecting with heartbeats (lasting, emotion-filled impressions), rather than simple touchpoints. Know your audience. Give them a solution they need. And package it in a way that speaks to their hearts. This is Sales and Marketing: in all their glory, working together, separately and effectively.
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