Marketing practices and tools create the environment for the sales exchange to take place.
Greg Walpole, General Director of SMI South Africa has shared some insights about the relationship between these two disciplines. SMI is a global leader in personal and professional development with a special focus on goal setting programmes. The organisation is dedicated to motivating people to their full potential, aligning goals to purpose, maximising time capital and using goal setting as a bridge thereby taking people where they want to go.
Greg defines marketing as creating an environment for a mutually beneficial exchange to take place and sales as a culmination of the value or energy exchange. These two functions work hand in hand as everything that a marketer does is aligned towards creating a sale and a sale is the mechanism through which a service is rendered and a solution provided or need filled.
The marketing and sales functions of any organization are crafted together and generate prospective customers. If there are no customers coming forward then these two functions are not working well with each other. The marketing department has to develop them and the sales department must act upon them to maximum advantage. But customer contact and positive perceptions must often be generated first and that is why marketing tends to overshadow the sales function when the two are discussed.
The marketing specialist takes action based on research to make the product/service benefit appropriate to the target market and delivers the correct perceptions to that market. To be a successful marketer, one needs to have an interest in the product/market, knowledge of the needs and wants of the market and dedication to communication via appropriate media and social platforms.
When problems arise between marketing and sales, professional companies strategise and act in coordinated union through competent leadership to overcome this. When dissonance between sales and marketing exists, it’s wise to question the leadership and communication that takes place between these two principles.
What are the important questions to ask yourself when marketing a product/service?
1) Have we matched the product/service to a need/want in our market place?
2) Is our media selection appropriate?
3) Is the message believable and relevant?
4) Is the message reaching the people that matter?
It is important to remember that marketers are environmentalists who create awareness and material that brings credibility to a product.
Sales people are front line solution providers and needs satisfiers. Marketers need to be certain that their messages are not only relevant but that they are also realistic. The sales function can then deliver on the expectations created by marketing.
The bottom line is that marketers need to deliver messages that match the customer experience. Equally, the entire sales function – the management of customers – needs to be performing at a level where it is delivering on realistic expectations that marketing creates amongst customers.