Let me start by saying what I mean by Sales and what I mean by Marketing here.

What I Mean by Sales

Sales is any activity that directly results in revenue in a very short period of time. So this could include sales phone calls, sales-focused ads online (click to buy), sales meetings. Sales promotions are short term campaigns that are designed to generate sales by creating interest in products through price (volume or discount) or prize promotions (including added value, prize draws, promotions).

What I Mean by Marketing

When I talk about marketing, I include anything that increases awareness of your brand and products in such a way that customers will remember it when they need it and recognise it when they see it and be more likely to buy it, buy it again and recommend it to others.

Marketing and Sales are Co-Dependant

It’s the job of marketing to make sales activity more successful. Without the revenue from sales, there is no business.

Sales depends on marketing to nudge the customer to buy and buy again. Because they recognise the brand, because the marketing has helped to associate the brand with a quality that they are looking for, because the marketing has helped the customer to have a better experience of the brand and given them an opportunity to share it.

Without marketing, sales remains a short term game that relies on competitive pricing (discounting) to succeed.

Sales is measured in units sold and profitability.

Marketing needs to be measured differently – brand awareness, brand perception, brand engagement.

It should also be noted that pricing is part of the marketing strategy and care should be taken in using it to drive short term sales. Your marketing may have worked hard to position your brand as high quality and determined a price that supported this position and sat well with your target audience. Discounting can undo this work to gain short term sales that may be from customers outside your target audience, eating up your profitability without getting a long term benefit.

Sales and Your Marketing Strategy

When you develop a great marketing strategy for your business, it will mean that you have worked out who you are targeting, who you are competing against, how your brand will be positioned to this target audience, what your pricing policy will be, what your marketing objectives will be and then the range of tactics you will use to deliver those marketing objectives.

You will also have come up with your set of brand assets and messages that will help you to reach your marketing goals.

The sales team need to be included in this process – in terms of getting their input initially and their buy in at the end. What they do needs to reflect your marketing strategy – the leads they get, the language and ideas used in emails they send, the language and tone of the phone calls they make, the material they send out, how payment is requested and even what invoices look like. All these elements and more should support your marketing strategy, just as the marketing strategy is designed to support sales.

Sports Metaphor Anyone?

I’m training for the local triathlon at the moment (Tri the Hook – a great one to do, if you are interested) and it occurred to me that maybe the relationship between sales and marketing is a little bit like that between training and racing. Well for me anyway! I train for a race – if I don’t have something in the diary to go for, I am likely to stay on the sofa rather than get the runners or the togs on. So no race = no training. Just like no sales = no point in marketing. And what about the other way round? Well I could definitely turn up for a race without having trained but I wouldn’t get very far and I imagine I would be in a lot of pain afterwards. Similarly, you can definitely do sales without marketing but you may find that you are more likely to have to drop your prices to compete with the others targeting the same customer who have invested in making their offering seem better and more relevant, through their marketing.

I hope that you found this piece useful – if you need help with your marketing or brand strategy contact me paula@ronanmarketing.ie