Sales vs. marketing

By Tim Priebe on December 8, 2015

By Tim Priebe on December 8, 2015

While I’m a little biased, I think online marketing is great. But too often, people get confused on the difference between sales and marketing. And you can lose sales if you don’t understand the difference.

The goal of marketing

Over the last few years, I’ve spent a lot of time speaking and writing for nonprofits and companies that provide professional services. Often, I share the right order for your online marketing.

Spoiler alert: The last step is engagement. Which means it’s the whole goal. And that’s up to you, not your marketing team!

Engagement involved actually having conversations. It’s responding to comments and reviews on social platforms. It involved following up on leads that come in through email. It’s having real conversations that are kicked off by the marketing process.

And if you’re in charge of the sales process, then engagement is your job, not the job of your marketing organization.

As my friend Mike Crandall says, the job of marketing is to make the phone ring, and the job of sales is to make the cash register ding.

Sales, not marketing

A good marketing agency can play a major role in the other steps – building a plan, building your platform, building consistency and building an audience. But once customers start engaging with your online marketing, that’s where the marketing ends and the sales process begins. There’s a good reason for this.

While your marketing agency may know your business very well, they shouldn’t speak for you. They don’t know what you will (and won’t) do to get a sale. They can’t speak with authority on when you’re a good fit for someone and when you’re not. They dig in to find out whether you can solve a specific pain a potential customer is having.

Those conversations are in the realm of sales. And it’s a bad idea to leave those conversations up to your marketing expert.

Why isn’t it marketing?

Everything that your agency does should be done with your approval. You approve designs, blog content, social media content, and any ads. But you can’t give your approval on the fly and respond to a conversation in a timely manner. What happens to your reputation when a social media manager offers something you can’t follow through on?

It won’t be good, that’s for sure.

When you hire out your marketing to another company, remember that it’s still your responsibility to follow up on those leads. You know how best to sell your products or services, and you know your customers better than anybody. You’re the one those customers really need to hear in order to be convinced.

Take the lead with your internet marketing. When your marketing agency starts conversations, you need to engage in those conversations to determine if it should become a sale or not.

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