In any organization, the sales team has the focus. After all, Sales brings in the money that keeps the company going. But Marketing is equally important. Without the marketing foundation, you won’t realize your full sales potential. Marketing is harder to do as the returns aren’t immediately evident and it is seen by some as not necessary. “We’re hitting our sales targets now without marketing” is the common response. Others seem to think that marketing communications or the lead generation function are marketing but they’re not (see last week’s post). Marketing is the product or service definition, the competitive analysis and the message creation. Without this preparation, there is no consistent and effective message for the sales force to use and promotion and lead generation efforts are uncoordinated and less effective.
Who does this preparation? That is the question of the day. The sales people don’t have the time – they’re supposed to be getting orders. You need to have balance between Marketing and Sales. That is not to say that you must have equal numbers of each species in your organization, there just needs to be a balanced focus. I have seen companies with a VP of Marketing and Sales with a number of Sales Directors reporting to him but not one Marketing Director or even a Marketing Manager in sight.
You need to have a marketing guy/gal to prepare the script that is used to generate the promotional material, the sales presentations, etc. With these in hand, your customers get a consistent message from all sources so your key benefits and differentiators are constantly reinforced. This will increase the effectiveness of your sales efforts, which will lead to increased orders.
How does Marketing support Sales? Check back for the next post.