Marketing and sales: Siamese twins

At some point somebody has to sell something.

I didn’t want to leave this thought about selling something unaddressed because at the end of the day, the generation of profitable sales and a strong bottom line is everybody’s goal. The thing is, success comes much easier when you sell the right stuff to the right people. That’s why understanding your core business, your customers and your culture must drive the process of entrepreneurial thinking and innovation.

Too many people believe that sales are an investment and marketing an expense. Nothing could be further from the truth. That’s why the road we take—this process—leads to better marketing to grow more sales more effectively. If you make a product, provide a service, charge one group of people to buy what you sell and look for ways to let more people know about your product, then you are already a marketer. But not until you have connected marketing and sales and invested equal amounts of thought and development in them do you open up the opportunity for your company to evolve as a great marketer and seller.

What’s more expensive?
• Attempting to sell your products to disinterested or irrelevant prospects and throwing away buckets of money speaking to a blank wall (because marketing was never asked to figure out who to sell what to)?

• Or honing in on a smaller, more qualified group of prospects who are keenly interested in buying what you sell (because marketing figured out who they are, where they are, what they want and how to talk to them)?
Obviously, focus on the latter and build a lasting, mutually beneficial relationship with loyal customers.

We have all been on the receiving end of selling efforts devoid of any marketing intelligence. For a number of years, I received telemarketing calls from a company that assured me that they would get me top dollar if they sold my house. I lived in an apartment at the time. Oh, and there’s that memorable call I received from a credit card company asking me why I had cancelled my gold card. Answer: Because they had issued me a platinum card. Obviously, nobody in the sales silo was talking to the marketing silo.

Siamese twins
Marketing 101 clearly sets out:

• The purpose of marketing is to develop a product or service; identify and qualify markets and customers; map the road to market; and define and create effective communications.
• The purpose of sales is to develop customer relations; deliver the force behind “closing sales;” provide important market feedback; and directly impact the top-line (and middle-line) gross margins.

Everything I ever needed to know about selling … was
learning how to identify, find and keep customers.

-Lillian Vernon, Catalogue retailer

The key is in the integrated thinking that connects sales and marketing. They are Siamese twins, not unrelated silos. First, it’s important to ensure that the collective thinking throughout the company understands that investing in marketing is as important as investing in sales. Together they are a significant point of leverage; separately they offer little leverage.

-Ken Tencer

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