It is common for most of the people to use sales and marketing interchangeably. The reason is — they share common goals: identifying buyer personas, generating leads and revenue for the company. However, sales and marketing are two distinct functions of a business organisation, as their approaches are different.
Marketing informs and attracts prospects towards your company, whereas, sales works directly with the leads to convert them into customers.
Marketing means the promotion of products/services offered by a company. It intends to reach the public to showcase the products (or services), entice them and turn into leads.
In a sense, the marketing division of a company undertakes activities such as research, analysis, branding, and advertising to understand the interest of potential customers and bring them to the company. The marketing department runs ad campaigns on social media and search engines for this purpose.
The marketing plan defines what the product is, its price, target customers, and channels to communicate about its need, which is also known as the 4Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion. The marketing team set goals (number of leads or website registrations), choose marketing channels (digital, print, TV) and formulate a budget for the campaigns to pursue their plan.
Following are a few types of marketing activities:
Print Marketing — Includes publishing of ads in newspapers and magazines.
Social Media Marketing — Involves posting of ads on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumbler, YouTube etc. This type of marketing is prevalent in this digital age, where the internet has become a significant part of people’s life. The primary concern is identifying the target audience and their presence on social media to reach the intended product/service.
Pay-Per-Click(PPC) Advertising — It means placing ads on search engines. The company is charged only when a user clicks on the ad. The best example is Google AdWords.
Email Marketing — Includes sending marketing emails to the targeted audience. The efficiency of this kind of marketing has decreased as emails may get diverted to the spam folder. But the advantage associated with this marketing is the retention of previous customers through news and updates regarding offers and coupons.
Search Engine Optimisation — A widely used technique nowadays. It makes your website/content rank on the top results of search engines.
Conventional Marketing — Includes posters, hoardings and television ads. Though the posters faded nowadays, marketing hoardings are still in use. Notably, television marketing is still in the first position because of its capability of attracting a massive number of audience.
Sales refer to the activity of selling goods or services to the customers.
The primary objective of the sales department is to convert leads (interested in the company’s offerings) into customers by providing solutions, and the secondary objective is to retain them through discounts and excellent customer service.
Usually, sales personnel deal with a few customers at a time, unlike marketing that targets a vast audience. Sales often take place manually, whereas marketing activities need no manual intervention. Sales department mostly uses tools for inventory management, scheduling meetings, and maintaining the customers’ database.
Consider an insurance company, whose ads you can see on search engines, television and other places. The ads try to attract the viewers and make them inquire about their products. This activity is ‘Marketing’.
When you start inquiring about the company’s products, their sales personnel come into contact to convince you about the product and turn a lead into sales.
Sales and marketing should go hand-in-hand to fulfil a company’s objective. Effective management and execution of these two departments result in impressive outcomes, which every company desires.
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Critical thinking challenge question :
Mr. Ram is building an e-commerce website and he sells clothes online. Write down a brief strategy on how he can market and sell his brand/products.