In 2012, Twinkie fans taught us an important lesson about marketing: When it comes to company valuation, customer loyalty is king.
The “Sales and Marketing” role (or, how to hire a leprechaun)
Working with small- to mid-sized companies, we’ve often heard business owners say they want to hire a “sales and marketing” person. We understand the attraction of this idea – sales and marketing are tightly linked, complimentary disciplines.
However, this approach isn't easy. Sales and marketing are two very different functions and require two very different skillsets and mindsets. Additionally, the types of people attracted to each role have different backgrounds, personalities, and drivers.
The myth of the “sales and marketing” role
There is no question that marketing and sales are intimately related. Marketing is essential for facilitating the sales process, and salespeople help marketers understand what’s going on in the field. There needs to be a common voice, a uniform message in the company from the marketing materials to the sales pitch.
However, while it is imperative to have this connection between disciplines, the responsibilities are typically too immense for one position, or even one department, to undertake.
In all of our years of working with SMBs, we can count on one hand the number of people who are good at both sales and marketing.
These people are so rare that hiring one is about as likely as finding a leprechaun in your backyard. Why? For the same reason that you wouldn’t hire a plumber and expect them to also be an electrician – sure, the skills might exist together, somewhere, but if you want an expert in each field, you're probably going to hire them separately.
In fact, the very, very few people we have met who can successfully serve both functions are typically the founder or CEO – a jack of all trades by nature and necessity. And even in these rare instances, we would argue that those select individuals actually fall naturally into a sales or marketing role and just happen to have some additional skills (in other words, a jack of all trades and master of one).
The differences between sales and marketing
Sales is about aggressively making the deal
Salespeople typically focus on short-term actions to close deals and meet revenue goals. People who are in sales tend to be extroverts – they love to be out in public and interacting with people. These action-oriented individuals are constantly on the lookout for the next opportunity and they are highly-driven to meet their quota. They are excited by the thrill of the chase, and will knock on as many doors as it takes to reach their numbers.
For B2B, service-centric businesses, salespeople are particularly indispensable because:
- Customers are relationship-driven and want the comfort of working with a sales person who understands their company and unique needs,
- The sales cycle can be very long, and needs a dedicated person to doggedly hunt the deal down until it's closed.
- The average transaction size can be very large, which means that it’s essential to have multiple face-to-face meetings to close sales.
Marketing is about strategically closing the gap
On the other hand, marketers are focused on understanding the marketplace, the competition, and the customers’ desires and pain points. Typically, they think about the future and decide where to go next - concentrating on differentiation and offerings that are unique enough to offer your business a long-term competitive advantage. Marketing works to grow brand awareness, attract the prospects, and move people into the sales funnel.
People who are in marketing can have a variety of personalities, but they share in common a love for research, mapping strategy, analyzing data, developing measurement metrics, setting up systems, watching trends, changing tactics as needed, and thinking about long-term objectives.
Sales & marketing: a harmonious combination
If a marketer and a salesperson were in a hospital, the marketer would be the primary care physician strategizing the best possible long-term treatment plan - whereas the salesperson would be the trauma surgeon in the operating room, responsible for making critical real-time decisions.
In medicine, if you mix the two up, people die. In business, products and services fail, and people get fired. So when it comes to the health of your business - know why each are distinctly important, and let your team play to their strengths.
Kinesis helps clients think differently about sales, marketing, and business strategy. Click here to learn more about our unique approach of Marketing From the Inside Out®.