Sales and marketing are often lumped together. This is easy to when marketing and selling professional services because both roles are often assigned to the same person.
Sales and marketing are different roles, both with different goals, and requiring different skill sets. Having a clear idea of the which role you are in at a particular time will give you a better chance of successfully achieving the goals of that role. A clear vision will also help you identify where you need help improving your skills necessary for success in each particular role.
When in your marketing role, your activities are designed to get people to Know, Like, and Trust you. You are trying to be found (or attract) by people looking for the services you provide and to help them feel comfortable starting a sales conversation with you.
When you are in your sales role, you are trying to help a customer 1) define their problem 2) determine how much the problem is costing them in order to 3) determine if your services can help solve their problem at a price that makes sense, for both you and them.
When you are in your selling role, you want to get a decision as quickly as possible. Even if the answer is going to be “no”, wouldn’t you rather know that sooner than later? Being able to get to a yes or no answer quickly, while still maintaining a respectful, professional relationship takes skill – skills that can be learned through training.
At the end of each sales conversation, you have learned more about this customer. Take the time to re-evaluate whether you should continue marketing to them or not. Your solution may not have been a good fit for them this time, what about next time? Do you want there to be a next time? There will certainly be cases where you will discover that a particular person will never do business with you (you may not want them to) and they never refer others to you either. Does it makes sense to keep marketing to them?
A common mistake I see made by people who don’t think of sales and marketing as two separate roles is they stop marketing once the sale is made. They just finished the sale, successfully I might add, so they are done, right? Wrong. That particular sales conversation has finished, but if you want to have more sales conversations with these same people, then keep marketing to them.
On the marketing side, it is very common to make the mistake of trying to sell directly from our marketing materials. Rather than trying to sell, our marketing materials should educate and help people move to the next step in their buying process, moving them closer to having a sales conversation.
Start thinking about sales and marketing as two separate roles and see how your thinking and your conversations with customers and prospects change.
What do you think? Do you see any benefit from identifying sales and marketing as separate roles?
Bill Brelsford Small Business Marketing Consultant