It’s easy to confuse marketing and sales together. Both, after all, follow a single overarching goal: to increase your brand or business. Especially in small businesses, one person may be responsible for both sides of achieving that goal.
However, their similarities do not make the two concepts identical. In fact, they are different in a variety of ways. Understanding the difference between sales and marketing can help businesses improve their operations, and work with experts in each area to maximize their success.
Marketing, at its core, is deceptively simple: it aims to raise awareness of your brand or business to a potential target audience. Done strategically, that awareness can help you grow your business, through a streamlined process. That process is best explained with a simple digital marketing example.
Imagine your site. Building that website, in other words, is a marketing responsibility.
In addition, marketing efforts also have to include driving traffic to that website effectively. Through search engine optimization, social media, and other digital channels, you can build a digital marketing strategy that accomplish that fact.
What happens next, however, is the most common source of confusion for many small businesses. This is where marketing and sales intersect.
When visitors go to your website, some of them will be ready to immediately make a purchase. In that case, no sales efforts will be necessary. But in most cases, they are interested enough in your brand to learn more, but not quite interested enough to immediately convert into a customer.
An effective website captures these visitors for more targeted sales efforts. Through sign up forms, newsletter subscriptions, and other tactics, it gathers the contact information of interested members of your target audience, turning them into leads. Once they enter your database, more specific sales efforts are possible.
Marketing, in other words, supports your sales efforts. It adds leads to your database, which can be nurtured or ready for the sales call. One leads to another, but both are far from identical.
The above paragraph lays bare the core difference between marketing and sales. The former is responsible for everything that leads up to the point when a member of your target audience becomes a lead. Once they take that action, sales takes over.
To accomplish its goal of lead generation, effective marketing focuses on educating its audience and establishing your brand as a thought leader and credible source in its industry. Sales, on the other hand, are focused on a more direct selling pitch of the benefits of your product or service for your target audience.
Both of course, have to be integrated to be successful. If your marketing tactics promise one thing and your sales team pitches another, your leads will experience cognitive dissonance and become less likely to follow through with a purchase. Only an integrated and consistent message can encourage your leads to eventually follow through and become customers.
In its simplest form, marketing aims to generate leads, while sales aims to convert these leads into customers. Understanding what your business needs to accomplish increases your chances of finding external help to achieve your goals.
That, in turn, requires an analysis of your current sales efforts. If you are looking for more potential sales prospects to increase your business, we’d love to have a word.
You may notice that Kerin spells her name a little differently than most. It happened in Grade 4 when there were a bunch of other Karens in her class. She changed it to stand out and has been standing out ever since.