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Is Marketing Now Sales?

April 13, 2011

I just attended a Social Media Panel discussion sponsored by the AMA. The Social Media speakers were from Monte Cristo Hotel and Resorts, The Phoenix Suns, and Southwest Airlines. We have all heard that the difference with Marketing / Social Media today is the two-way conversation. So it was interesting to hear how these Social Media / Marketing folks are now talking directly with customers via Facebook and Twitter. They talked about building relationships with customers, and not trying to sell them.  I have supervised over 50 salespeople in my career, and I guarantee that 49 out of 50 would say they reason they sell is because of their relationship.  Traditionally, sales and customer service were the only ones speaking directly to the consumer. I found many marketing people fearing the direct contact with the client.   It used to be that Marketing would give a message to the masses in a one-way conversation, and sales customized the messages for their prospects and clients. Other people explain Marketing as developing the Leads, and sales turning the leads into prospects, and customers.   So my question to you folks is

 1. Are Marketing people now in fact sales people but like the sound of the name Marketing?

2. Is Sales a dirty word?

3. In today’s market where does marketing end and sales begin?

4.  Is it important for Marketing professionals to learn the traditional sales ways of building relationships, and teaching people how to buy and not sounding like they are selling?

13 Comments leave one →
  1. April 13, 2011 6:47 pm

    I think some marketing people are doing what traditionally could be called sales. Are they pushed into it by social media? It probably has a role in it. Over the last five years I have seen a lot of so-called marketing people turned into inside sales. This probably has more to do with the economy, and a company’s desire to make all hands on board revenue producers.

    Sales in the meantime is slowly being converted to consultancy. Attention is on the prospect’s needs and wants, and sales consultancy having the ability to give expert advice, thereby becoming a trusted advisor.

    Upper level sales, and the days of selling something to someone who really doesn’t want or need it is over. Communication is moving at higher and higher speeds with Droids and I-phones, and few are willing to take the PR hit.

  2. Antoinette Kelleher-Raynes permalink
    April 18, 2011 9:12 pm

    1. Are Marketing people now in fact sales people but like the sound of the name Marketing?
    — interesting perspective and perhaps they always were just closet and now SM gives them a legitimate way to come out of the closet…..

    2. Is Sales a dirty word? — has been for many years as it has always been associated with the type of individual that is sleazy, slimy, manipulative, etc. It is now (or maybe it is just my change in perspective) becoming a solution orientated partnership

    3. In today’s market where does marketing end and sales begin? — my 2 cents marketing ends with collateral, pictures, themes, layouts, design, copy, etc of products / services for potential customers — sales begins with taking those things and finding the relationship / customer they fit best.

    4. Is it important for Marketing professionals to learn the traditional sales ways of building relationships, and teaching people how to buy and not sounding like they are selling — this sounds like a two part question 1) important for marketing professionals to learn traditional ways of building relationships & 2) teaching people how to buy (sell) without sounding like they are selling — On #1 I would say yes for multiple reasons but the main one because everyone needs to learn relationships — effects all aspects of your life. On #2 Not sure this is not just part of the building of relationships.

    I have been holding this email in my in-box for almost a week because it was such a good article that I just had to comment and then I got a great article that for me seem to apply. Link included

    http://www.coremetricsvoice.com/socialmedia.php

  3. July 27, 2011 1:34 am

    I take exception to the comment that “Marketing people” are not revenue generators this shows a misunderstanding of what marketing is and that its core to a successful business. Marketing is the business – its element that gives direction, focus, understand customers needs and produces the products that customers want and provides the sales team with the proposition and tools to acquire customers.

    Is marketing now sales no but it is the business.

    • July 27, 2011 2:10 am

      Andy, i agree with you. Please read again, and also read the post on Aligning Marketing and Sales. I never said that Marketing people are not revenue generators. I said that Marketing and Sales jointly are responsible for generating revenue. However, they are seldom aligned enough to achieve the mutual goal. So what do you suggest in aligning them better? Agreed, marketing provides the sales team with the proposition and tools to acquire customers. Then why is the sales team always customizing, and do not follow up with the leads? And today because of social media and such where marketing is becoming a two way conversation, they cannot just provide the sales team the proposition, but are becoming more a part of the sale.

  4. July 27, 2011 2:36 am

    It was Joseph’s comments that I took exception too –

  5. July 27, 2011 8:14 am

    Andy, I got it. Thanks for commenting. I enjoy the discussion. One conclusion from the comments is that for most folks sales and marketing are not clearly defined and consequently expectations and results are either not realistic or skewed. What are your thoughts?

  6. July 27, 2011 8:51 am

    Allan, I agree with you there seems to be very much them and us attitude which is completely disruptive to the success of the business. Business’s where sales, marketing. commercial and operations are aligned – succeed. I think that this success comes from leadership than knows the importance and difference between sales and marketing making sure that they recruit the right leadership team to implement, direct and focus on the real issues and firmly stamps on any politics.

  7. July 27, 2011 5:15 pm

    Its the old check your ego at the door, and let’s collaborate on what is best for the overall good.

  8. July 29, 2011 11:59 am

    Marketing’s job and valuable final product is to generate leads for sales. They support and aid in the sales effort. By themselves they are NOT revenue producers. If they think they are, perhaps that is where the alignment is needed. They are also not public relations. Their mission is to “brand” their products and services to specific “publics” to generate leads and website activity that result in leads to either inside or outside sales people.

    I felt Andy had it right when he said, “… this success comes from leadership than knows the importance and difference between sales and marketing making sure that they recruit the right leadership team to implement, direct and focus on the real issues and firmly stamps on any politics.”

    Joseph A. Caulfield

    • July 29, 2011 8:00 pm

      Joe, this is an attitude. Read my other post about Aligning Marketing and Sales. 80% or more of leads generated by sales are not followed up. Sales complains that the marketing leads are NOT qualified. Marketing is NOT subserviant to sales. They must work hand and hand.

  9. August 1, 2011 9:51 am

    You cannot be redeemed by not confronting real problems. Chasing the confusion of a sales team NOT doing its’ job, by creating a work around is not acceptable. IF sales leads are not being followed, and are truly 80% – then there are a couple of situations possible.

    1. Out of control and mismanaged sales team.
    2. Marketing leads suck, which means marketing lacks acumen in the production of quality leads.,

    The answer is to straighten out one or both, not to collapse these very different divisions into each other. If they are collapsed, the solution (of collapsing) will end up as the new future problem. In other words collapsing will eventually cause lower revenues and heads rolling, and stats will demand that you will have to solve the original dilema of number one or number two above.

    It may be simpler to solve the real problem up front.

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