So here's the situation, and I'm sure it's a common tale you've all heard before.
A small business decides to save some money by making the sales guy manage the marketing. Great for the bottom line - maybe, but great for the marketing - not so much.
What was once an authentic and customer friendly brand, now becomes a heavy handed sales push that leads to customers feeling used and sold to at every opportunity. Exhausting!
While I always try to understand a businesses perspective on cutting costs, what I never understand is how many businesses are still unaware that sales and marketing are two completely separate entities.
• Sells what's in stock and works in the present
• Negotiates prices
• Ensures customers orders are fulfilled and that their needs are met
• Focusses on sales targets
• Looks at the customer's perception of the company
• Directs the company to where it should sit in the market
• Creates brand awareness
It is business critical that these two departments work together, but they are very different functions and require very different skills. Rarely can one individual be good at both.
Yet, it's not uncommon to hear that companies have decided to down-size and bring together the marketing and sales departments to work together as one, or even worse, make the sales guy the marketer. After all, it's easier, and they're working towards the same goal anyway? Right?
While you think you may be helping your bottom line, you're actually hindering it.
Why? Well here it is in black and white.
It should go without saying that sales and marketing teams work in different time frames.
For sales they need to be in the now, focussing on what needs to be sold and at what price. Their targets are based on short-term goals that can help the businesses achieve the overall financial aim.
But marketing is about the future. While they may use micro goals to reach a bigger target, marketers are examining the marketplace and work in directing the business as to where it should go next. Analysing customer demographics, understanding the future of the industry and where the business should place themselves.
If marketing focusses too much on the now it gets lost. Therefore, making a 'present-focussed' sales person your marketer will see your business misplacing its focus and losing direction.
As a business you need to have a firm focus on both areas, now and the future.
The core of both sales and marketing is without a doubt to increase revenue. But what most organisations don't realise is this has to be done through multiple approaches.
Marketing tells the companies stories and makes the customer understand why they should choose a brand. Reputation and brand awareness are key to separating a business from its competitors and making the customer feel valued by the company.
Sales is driven by relationship building in order to secure a transaction with communication based entirely around hitting financial targets.
It's inherently part of our nature not to trust a sales person.
So it's no surprise that customers won't be honest with the sales department; because they know there's a pitch hidden in the background just waiting to lurch.
The trouble here, is that if you put sales in charge of marketing, everything inadvertently becomes a sales push, whether they realise this or not.
In sales, customer communication is vital in being able to assess product needs and close a deal, but this communication is all transaction based, so customers will naturally hold back information about what they like or what they find valuable.
Marketers are the bridge in this communication gap because they show that the company values the customer's opinion and goes into further insight about how to improve the experience for the customer, not for the company.
The 'outside-looking-in' perspective provides a business with the ability to gain customer trust and loyalty that cannot be gained through sales.
You could be wondering why this all matters when the end goal is the same, but it's the specialist approaches that make all the difference.
In a nut shell you wouldn't get a plumber to build your house, so don't expect your sales person to be a successful marketer.