I’m sorry to say it but salespeople are wrong.
I’m not trying to start a fight. They’re amazing at what they do, the skills that salespeople have are incredible.
But marketing is more important than sales.
I’ve been in marketing for 20 years and I’ve never been more sure of it to be honest. Ultimately marketing and sales are very different, they do very different things, and they have different dependencies.
For me, sales is an outcome, marketing is a process and ultimately sales is an outcome of marketing.
Lots of marketing people are going to disagree with me, I’m sure. My intention isn’t to start a war, because sales people would win it because they’re sales people.
The reality is we’ve always said that sales is primary and most important because it drives the revenue, because it brings in the money, brings home the bacon so to speak. We call it sales and marketing. But for me (and if your pardon the pun) S&M; is painful, it should be M&S, and M&S; is much more pleasant. Marketing and sales is a much better description of how those two parts of your business operate.
Whilst we always call it sales and marketing I try and correct even myself, and call it M&S, marketing and sales. And of course it doesn’t surprise me that we call it S&M, sales and marketing, that we put sales as primary because sales people have sold us that it’s more important than marketing. They’ve done their job. It’s brilliant, it’s exactly what they should do of course.
But marketing needs to up its game. And so I’m starting that for myself, by calling it marketing and sales rather than sales and marketing.
Ultimately there cannot be any sales without marketing. There is no sale that has ever been done without marketing, because even through the very simple act of making a phone call and asking someone if they’d like to buy your service or product – that is marketing. The creation of the product and service, arguably product development is marketing. The product design, the service design, the brand that’s built around it, the brand name, the company name, the logo, the messaging, the colour of the box, the kind of packaging it comes in – it’s all marketing.
Please don’t get me wrong, I do absolutely love what salespeople do, none of this is to detract from them at all.
But the balance needs to be restored.
And it needs to be restored for a really simple reason, whenever there’s a budget crunch, whenever a company is slashing costs, the first thing that gets hit is the marketing budget. And I understand why that’s the case, because if you’re running a small business and you’ve got someone in the marketing department and someone in the sales team. I would wager that the sales team member is better at advocating their importance than the marketing person is advocating their importance.
Of course that’s exactly the point. Sales are going to be better at defending their position than marketing is at defending its position.
Here’s the thing, as a business leader you need to be aware of that and you need to protect marketing. You need to put your arm around marketing and look after it and make sure it doesn’t get overwhelmed or become subservient to sales. Because the marketing people are the people full of heart, they’re the people with the creative capabilities to connect you with your customers, they’re the people who understand messaging they understand what your customer thinks about and talks about and wants, they understand how to interact with your customer. They’re not great at closing the deal, that’s not what they’re there for, sales is there to progress the relationship – once the relationship has been created.
So business leaders have to protect the marketing department.
You have to ring-fence the budget and make sure that marketing doesn’t stop under any circumstances.
In one of my following videos you’ll see why the right time to do marketing is when you don’t need it.
You can’t simply turn it on and off like a tap, because what you’re doing is you’re turning on and off the conversation you’re having with your marketplace. And if you suddenly in the middle of a party, in the middle of a conversation with someone stop talking to them at a certain point, they’re going to think you’re not interested in them, you don’t like them or care about them or want to serve them. And of course the reality is that’s not the case – you do like them and love them and want to serve them and want to talk to them, but you’ve slashed your budget because it’s been a difficult quarter. And so marketing has less capability to take your business out there to its marketplace.
Now I’m not saying you should cut sales either, but you need to find another way.
There has to be a better way.
Because actually, combined, marketing and sales are the most important parts of your business, without any question.
If you are not marketing your business properly and if you’re not able to bring in the deal, you just can’t trade. So actually, while sales people are wrong and marketing is more important than sales, marketing and sales together are your most powerful powerful weapon.
Look after marketing and don’t worry about sales, they’ll look after themselves.