Sales and Marketing are not the same

The Sales team and Marketing team both start off from the same places – product or service FAB, audience definitions, strategy and leads – but they diverge from there. Marketers pick the appropriate medium to drive Attention, Interest, Decision, Action and Retention (AIDA). Direct Sales people deal with people, not media.

The language of sales

Depending on the product, service and distribution channel, a sales person may use many of the following terms, but all Sales people must decide – usually in less than a second – whether marketing has succeeded, and whether they are talking to a:

  • Suspect: an unqualified lead – not yet attentive or interested
  • Opportunity, Contact, Call Back or Prospect: a Qualified lead that has some familiarity, but has not decided to buy “our brand”

After the Pitch, Proposal, Assumptive Close, Trial Close or just plain Close (failure of the aforementioned not-withstanding), there is a:

  • New Customer: someone who has purchased, but not re-purchased
  • Client, Established Customer: repeat business

The language of Marketing

This is quantitatively and qualitatively different than sales.

Marketing - Sales chart

AIDA, while old and stodgy, is essentially perfect. People have added to it, modified it (is the “I” better as “interest” or “investigation”?). But the acronym rules.

Successful Marketing leads to successful sales

Both the successful sales person and successful marketer wishes to gain trust; both try to handle objections. While only the sales person presents and closes sales, both sales and marketing work to retain clients. While few marketers will ever close a sale, few salespeople are qualified to do a media buy.

Marketing and Sales teams need to talk

This is critical: Marketing, along with operations, needs to listen to sales, to know what worked and what didn’t. Do sales people hear what they want to hear, and sell to their strengths? Yes, they are human.

While working for Pitney Bowes, I walked into the sales office and asked their opinion on a piece I was creating. They had powerful feedback, and congratulated me for being the first person in their careers for asking.

Of course, marketing needs to balance sales feedback with up-to-date demographic and psychographic information. This is usually where problems arise – when marketing finds facts that will mean new markets, new prospects with new attitudes. Transitions can be uncomfortable. But in the long run, the two must work hand-in-glove, for mutual improvement, and improvement of the bottom line.