When Sales and Marketing Work Together, Great Things Happen

"Marketing" is the discipline that strives to bring prospective customers to the "seller." "Sales" takes the product or service to the "buyer." When the two are bought into harmony with each other, great things can happen. 

Marketing encompasses all sales promotional activities such as advertising, public relations, and marketing services. Through marketing, a company discovers market wants and needs, measures demand, establishes pricing, and uses promotional strategies to make potential customers aware of their products or services. Even the simplest activities, like the manner in which the telephone is answered (that critical first point of contact), can be considered a marketing activity. 

Sales is the "personal salesmanship" phase - making cold calls, visiting customers, building relationships, quoting prices, and the act of "closing the sale" and obtaining a purchase order. "Sales" people are involved in both ends of the process and spend their most productive time persuading a customer to buy a product or service. 

Although the sales and marketing disciplines may seem to be opposing, successful companies understand the importance of a strategy that supports sales with strong marketing. A successful marketing and sales program will have two credible results: an increase in market share and a decrease in the cost of sales. An effective marketing/sales promotion program must have the overall goal of lowering a company's "cost of sales" and increasing lead and inquiry activity. 

The most common pitfall in an organization is a lack of sufficient marketing activity to support sales efforts. This shortcoming often results in a perceived problem in "salesmanship." More often than not the real culprit is an organization that is using expensive sales people to do a job that can be done far better and at much lower cost by the traditional marketing disciplines of advertising and public relations. For example, if a salesperson is spending most of his/her time building brand awareness or creating a need for a product, they will get bogged down in the marketing end of the process. 

No growing company can hope to realize maximum sales efficiency without a carefully planned and structured program drawing equally on the two principal distribution strategies - Sales and Marketing. 

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