A salesman is a better marketer or a marketer is a better salesman?
These days, if you are not entrepreneurial in some way- you are being left behind. It is no longer a phrase exclusive to small businesses and start-ups. The most successful company founders and CEOs know that the entrepreneurial mindset is a major component to 21st century innovation and growth.
The title question is one that was asked recently in a LinkedIn group that focuses on sales and marketing alignment. 140 comments later (and counting), the responses can be boiled down to these 3 common threads. But I am more concerned with what the people on the frontlines think.
Which would you choose as an entrepreneur?
Smarketing-Make-a-Deal. Which door does revenue growth hide behind?
The Marketing Thing
Marketing is slow, the results take time. So it has to be able to think and predict 6 months ahead in order to be productive and effective. Now fast forward to today, and enter the age of inbound marketing.
Marketing has been turned upside down because now it has to be able to speak and react to people on an individual, 1-1 basis, in real time. Uh-oh, so much for that 6 month window to appeal to the masses. The marketing reaction is to become even smarter, and start predicting customer behavior, using data to generate more traffic and leads.
A side note on behavior marketing: Even Google has realized this competitive advantage of behavior marketing. Why do you think it has a new algorithm? Because it (yes, I think Google is an 'it'), understands that people buy from companies online, not search engines. Google and Facebook are after the same goal- become the people engine.
But they are still missing out on the biggest component, one that happens naturally in sales. The age of inbound marketing has not changed the fact that revenue needs to happen now. If sales don't start tomorrow, there will be nothing to market. This is simply a cold hard fact.
The Sales Thing
Sales (ie: customer service, order fulfillment, account management, business development, customer acquisition, customer retention- ANYTHING CUSTOMER FACING) happens real-time fast, sales people live and breath in the here and now. Have you ever raced a car in the rain? I haven't (on record), but I understand that this means you don't have time to react, because at that point it is too late. Sales is a lot like that.
Anyone who is decent at sales knows to listen to the buyer, because that is the here and now. Those who are good at sales can speak in their buyer's language, in a way that they can understand and relate to and do this naturally.
Those who are great at sales know that the initial sale is just the beginning, not the end.
Pick a Smarketing Perspective
I talked to a lot of entrepreneurs, business owners and executives last week. I found that nearly every single one came from one perspective or the other- sales or marketing.
So that is my thing, my take on the question- who is better for the growth of business? Sales or marketing? Who acquires and maintains the customer satisfaction? Who spends more time in direct communication with the customer? Who is accustomed to moving in real time with customers?
My next question is; how do you get your super smart, behind closed doors marketers to be relevant in real time, especially given how complicated online marketing has become? How do you give sales the clues and indications that will help them develop deep, real and virtual relationships? And how do you do it for a B2B and/or a B2C company?
And if you are both the sales and marketing team in one? You have a unique Smarketing advantage.
My last question for those who consider themselves entrepreneurs. Are you ready to start thinking and acting with the end in mind? (that would be sales btw)...P.S. If you happen to visit the LI discussion and want to skim the 140+ comments, consider this: The shortest, to-the-point, clearly on one side or the other, and fewest answers are from those who lean more towards sales. The longest, politically correct, and frequent answers are from those who lean towards marketing. Why? Because most sales people days are not spent answering LI discussions to their peers. As one poster said, "REAL sales people DETEST internal meetings because all they can think about is, "I should be on the phone right now. Why am I not on the phone right now!?". Touche'.