Sales vs Marketing

Whenever I’m invited to an advertising briefing and introduced to a ‘Head of Sales and Marketing’ my heart tends to sink.  I’ve yet to meet the person who can truly wear both hats equally well.

They require such different mindsets.  And certainly when it comes to communications, they need a very different approach.  Marketing and sales messages should of course be related, but definitely not the same.

A useful way to distinguish between them is to say: whatever you communicate to a prospect before they make contact are marketing communications; once they’ve got in touch, everything that follows is sales support.

Sales messages focus on how the product will fulfil the customer’s needs, they’re mainly factual.

Marketing messages are more about shaping perceptions, they tap into the prospect’s emotions, nurture his desire for the product or brand and ultimately try to influence his preference.

Sales people invariably want marketing communications to do their sales job for them.  That isn’t possible.  Sales messages are too detailed for the few precious seconds you get with marketing communications media.

Marketing communications should be just enough to generate sufficient interest in the prospect for him to decide to get in touch. No more than that.

Anything more will clutter the message and blunt the instrument.  Keep that sort of detail for the sales collateral.

Robin Petherbridge

September 2013