Marketing or sales. Sales or marketing. It’s one of the oldest business decisions that execs have been making for hundreds of years.
Where to allocate funds? Why? And… how?
These questions will make or break even the most promising ventures. But before we even ask these questions, there’s something we have to clear up. It’s something that I’m seeing more and more in the business and sales world. And it’s crippling companies left and right.
Nobody seems to know the difference between the two!
Is it sales? Is it marketing? Or is it some strange fusion of both? Many companies show their ignorance by putting them in the same department like some sort of ‘Sales and Marketing’ grab bag. No wonder why 8 in 10 businesses fail.
Think of it this way — if you can’t define exactly what it is you’re investing in, then you will never get the results you’re hoping for. In fact, you’ll be flushing money down the toilet.
If you shoot from the hip… you’re bound to miss!
Here’s a (rather tragic) real-life story that perfectly illustrates what I’m talking about in this Sales vs. Marketing guessing game.
Recently, I was approached by an organization that was interested in our services. After a few meetings with some of their most senior executives — Head of Sales, COO, and CFO — it was crystal clear they were in desperate need of change. Their sales had plateaued, marketing was doing everything they could, and the phones just weren’t ringing fast enough.
Something wasn’t working, and they realized they had an enormous need. So I walked them through our value proposition. I showed them exactly how we connect them with the right decision makers for qualified sales opportunities. After seeing extreme value in our methodology and proven track record, they saw us as the solution, and I was asked to submit a proposal to their CFO. Great, on the fast track to a done deal. Right?
Because they’re a publicly traded company, the only way to get ink on paper is to have the CFO’s office sign off on our engagement letter. But lo and behold, our proposal was met with radio silence for a good few days. Finally I received an email from their COO, and the opening line said it all. It read…
“Due to our prior commitments, our marketing budget has already been allocated for 2018 and 2019.”
Hold the phone. Marketing budget?! Who ever said anything about marketing?
Now I know that some things can get lost in translation. But our several discussions were 100% sales-based. My verbiage revolved around themes like outbound sales, qualified appointments, appointment-setting, prospecting, direct-to-decision maker, etc.
Nevertheless, they had pigeonholed us into a completely different category. No — a completely different universe! Sales and Marketing are as different as apples and oranges.
And before the marketing folks jump down my back, I understand that marketing has its place. It’s effective in its own right. But in a much different way. And, I would argue, in a much less immediate way.
So let’s get back to the basics for a minute. Here’s a great way of looking at the two different disciplines.
Sales is to hunting as marketing is to gardening. In other words, a salesperson is a hunter, while a marketer is a gardener.
Do we need hunters and gardeners? Yes. But really try to grasp this: if you were looking to feed your family (or your company’s bottom line!) by the end of the week, would you go hunting or gardening?
Exactly. You’d pick up that spear in the blink of an eye and head for the hills. Of course, if you need to feed your family (or bottom line) well into the future, you’d come up with a solid strategy that incorporates both disciplines, hunting and gardening, or sales and marketing.
But my point is — there is a difference! A HUGE difference. And one that you cannot afford to overlook.
So what practical reasons must you consider when deciding where to invest?
What’s the function?
The basic function of marketing, or ‘inbound’ campaigns, is to promote a product or service. When marketing is done right, sales should follow. But this isn’t a given. In fact, many marketers measure the success of their campaigns based on intangibles like brand recognition, top-of-mind awareness, etc. And while these are all important, you can’t take them to the bank… especially in the short-term. A marketer is cultivating a crop overtime. This can take weeks, months, even years to break the soil and come to fruition.
On the other hand, we have sales, or ‘outbound’ appointment setting. Where marketing is business promotion, sales is business ‘development’. The basic function of sales appointment setting is to kickstart the selling process by scheduling a needs-based meeting with a decision maker to communicate value, close the deal, and get that exchange of money for goods or services.
In many cases, sales appointment setting is much more immediate and measurable than marketing. In sales, there is a linear path straight to the top. There is a deep-seated desire for the hunter, or salesman, to isolate a single target and get after it. This way, he or she can return that very evening with food to put on the table.
While this might sound like common sense, you’d be surprised how even top executives forget these basic functions and differences between sales and marketing. And in so doing, lose out on massive opportunities. Sales, or appointment setting is not marketing. Not by a long-shot. Outbound appointment setting is 100% business development.
Before I jump into the joy of the hunt, I want to clarify again that well-established businesses leverage both marketing and sales to drive revenue. And there’s an explosive synergy that happens when the two are working in tandem, the one complimenting and feeding the other. Also, I know that appointment setting and sales doesn’t happen overnight in most cases. Nevertheless, it is much faster and often more effective than marketing.
Why? Marketing without sales is dead. Whereas sales can absolutely keep a company afloat and growing without marketing. Yes, I said it. And I’ll say it again. If you want to keep cash in the coffers, invest in sales appointment setting that will put you in front of the right person, in the right role, right now.
And the reason is simple. There’s no point of getting people in the door (marketing) if they aren’t the right decision maker, they show no interest in your offer, and you don’t have the expertise to convert them into a paying client or customer anyway.
So ask yourself. Are your sales stalled? Are your marketing efforts just not cutting it? If so, perhaps it’s time to hire on a team of expert appointment setters.
At C-Level Partners, we study your product or service, we identify your buyer/decision-maker, and then we get them on the phone. We articulate your value offer to its highest degree, ultimately resulting in an in-person meeting. That’s right, straight to the decision-maker to kickstart your selling process. This is NOT marketing. Rather, it’s the very definition of business development.
Remember, you’re not doing yourself any favors by simply getting people in the door. This is the fatal flaw of many companies, especially in the digital world. They rely far too much on abstract marketing, and far too little on getting in front of qualified buyers.
So if you’re ready to drastically shorten your sales cycle and put your outbound appointment setting on auto-pilot, get in touch with us today. In the meantime, don’t forget to visit the C-Level Partners blog for more articles on all things sales and business.
Until next time,