Yesterday, I found myself launching into yet another explanation of the difference between Sales & Marketing. It usually starts with the notion that the number of accounts closed from a marketing event (or effort) was less than expected. The case in point was a series of workshops or seminars.
The way we see the roles of Sales & Marketing is one of “cause and effect”. We believe that Marketing (as a department or effort) will “cause” an event to occur, and Sales will “effect” (or bring about) the outcome. Looking at it another way, Marketing’s efforts will bring forth customer purchase opportunities that will rest with Sales to bring to closure.
So as not to add any confusion, the use of the word “cause” and marketing in this Post is not referring to the practice of “cause marketing”, i.e., marketing efforts by non-profits and other charitable institutions.
This distinction of cause and effect simplifies the idea of who should be doing what, when it comes to each person’s role, or effort. Although Sales & Marketing are bound together in order to grow business, you must break the ties that bind you when it comes to the effort. This helps alleviate the typical commentary I hear that goes something like this, “Marketing never gives us any good leads.” and “Sales never follows-up on the leads we give them.”
Marketing’s role is normally carried out in two ways, passive and active (marketing). Examples of active marketing are: trade shows, workshops & seminars, forums and guest appearances at conferences, tele-marketing, etc. Passive efforts take the more common form of: direct response marketing, postcards, email, Web sites, promotion and PR, etc.
The key difference I see between active and passive is the interaction between the event or activity and the prospective customer, i.e., one is interactive and the other is more passive, or one-way. Good passive marketing delivers a response from the recipient, but it doesn’t engage them in two-way conversation until the recipient chooses to respond.
Sales, on the other hand, is primarily engaged in two-way, or interactive conversation (often in-person) on a regular basis. They are, for the most part, in active mode all the time. Their passive efforts may take the form of emails, or passing along marketing collateral (materials) and information.
The emerging disrupter in this is Social Media Marketing. This new medium allows Marketing to begin a hybrid effort of passive and active marketing in one place. And, Sales can now join into the discussion or conversation with prospective or existing customers without having to be physically present. To get an idea of the ‘where this fits’, play the video on this page with Jim Tobin, president of Ignite Social Media. Then, follow this link to their blog that offers more insight into the trends and events that will form this new digital media’s future.
The emergence of Social Media Marketing can “break the ties that bind you” not only in relation to Sales & Marketing, but those that restrain you from a closer relationship and communication with your customer. But, it’s not unlike the implementation of a CRM system; automation alone will not solve your lack of customer understanding and contact. Success, in my mind, will come from knowing how to use it effectively vs. just putting it in place.