People involved in sales are often heard saying that they are into Sales and Marketing. If probed further whether they are in sales or marketing, they appear confused as to what is the difference between the two?
This confusion arises because a sales person does not like to be associated as being only doing sales. That somehow seems to be a little undignified. The perception of a person forcefully selling something to a buyer is too strong to overlook. Hence this attempt to broaden one's role as doing sales as well as marketing to overcome this handicap.
But sales and marketing are two totally different functions. How?
In simple words, Marketing is a system which enables a sale to take place. And Sales is a process in which exchange of goods or service takes place for an amount of money or its equivalent between two interested parties. In short, sales is the end result of the marketing process.
Marketing as we all know is about taking your product or service to the customer. It involves some P's. Product ( or Service ), Price, People, Position, Promotion and Place.
Product ( Service ) - What do you intend to sell? Which category it belongs to? What are the features and benefits of your product? How is it different / better than what is available in the market? Or is it a totally new idea?
Price - What will be the price of your product? Where will it fall in the price spectrum of similar products available in the market? Will it be for the masses or the classes? Will it be a low margin product requiring more units to be sold to make the business profitable? Or it is a high priced product aimed at the discerning customer which does not need to be sold in large quantities?
People - Who are the people who will be buying your products or services? How well can you define your target audience? Do you know where to find them? Do you have access to them? Also, who will be your people who will sell your product or services. What will be their qualification and experience? How will you build your champion sales team?
Position - What position your product or services will occupy in the marketplace and before that in the minds of the prospective customer? Remember, your products and services are purchased first at the mental level and then at the physical level. Will you be positioning your product at the upper end or the lower end? Will it be consistent with the price at which you are selling? Is the positioning in line with the expectations of the customer?
Promotion - How will your audience come to know about your product or service? How will you be promoting your product or service? Will it be purely online or offline or a mix of both? What avenues of advertising will your choose to reach to your target audience?
Place - Where in the marketplace your product or service will be available? What are the various distribution channels you will use to take your product to the customers? Will you be using online or offline channels for your products to be available to your customers?
As you can see, none of the above factors are falling within the purview of the Sales function, or the Sales person. Actually, all the above should be in place even before sales can take place.