It amazes me how many times I as a marketing person am contacted by companies in search of a salesperson. I have also replied to “marketing” job postings only to find that they are really sales positions in disguise. One memorable example is a company that advertised for a “Product Marketing Manager”...I was quickly invited to an interview and drove 30 minutes only to discover that the job was in entry-level telephone sales!
My LinkedIn profile page and resume clearly state that I’m a marketing leader, but there seems to be a feeling out there that marketing and sales are one and the same.
Marketing and Sales need each other. They work together like peanut butter and jelly. But they are not the same. After knowing a lot of marketing and sales people in my career, I can say with great confidence that these roles attract different folks. That’s good! We need them both. Here’s why:
Sales is about TODAY. Marketing is about TOMORROW.
Sales folks should be focused on making the sale today. They need to close the deal, and they need great marketing materials to do that. But the marketing materials have to be available BEFORE today! Marketing looks forward to anticipate the needs of the sales team and get them the tools they need to succeed at just the right time. These two functions should be focused on different parts of the roadmap to be successful.
Marketing SETS the boundaries. Sales PUSHES them.
It’s the job of the marketing team to clearly communicate to sales and the broader world how the brand and it products should be represented in the marketplace. Stepping outside of these boundaries can lead to damaged reputations and broken promises. However, when you allow sales to to push back and challenge assumptions based on their experiences with customers, it creates positive tension that should lead to better marketing and more effective outcomes.
In general, I think it’s a mistake to combine sales and marketing in one position. At a certain level (usually VP), it may make sense to have one person overseeing both areas, but at manager/director level or below, it’s counterproductive to try to squeeze both activities from the same person. Frankly, I think decisions like that are usually budget-driven rather than results-driven. If you want to have happy and productive teams, let them focus on their strengths.
Oh, and please, stop calling me for insurance sales jobs!
Thanks to Art Saxby, whose excellent blog informed mine.