What is the difference between sales and marketing? Why are they different and why are they the same? If you ask 100 managers and business owners, the odds are that none of them can actually tell you – even if they have one of these jobs.
I have spent my life in sales and marketing – usually both at the same time as the manager. Early in my career, I worked for several companies that broke these jobs into unrecognizable, separate departments. Later, as I moved into management, I continued to see the same thing in other companies.
Separating these roles simply creates dysfunction in any organization. Some people believe that sales is what they experience at a used car lot or when they go to a store and ask a clerk for help. I guess at some level, they are correct. But this is not what I am writing about. Sales is about understanding what the prospect wants and needs and then finding ways to meet those requirements. Marketing is about building a brand image, communicating features, and benefits to drive demand and generating qualified leads.
Marketing can be done on TV or other mass media or it can be done by the individual salesperson through creative outreach. What exactly are those “features and benefits” that marketing is responsible for communicating? Most of you reading this have heard these two words bandied about for years. This is something like a noun and a verb. Features are things that you can usually, but not always, touch and feel. If the product is made with stainless steel or does three different things, those are features. If the product ships overnight or prevents malware from destroying your computer, those are benefits.
Marketing talks about the features and benefits to elicit interest. Sales uses the appropriate ones to close the sale. Sales needs marketing. But marketing without sales rarely serves any purpose (the internet has created some exceptions to this rule). This book is about the marriage between these two skills.