Marketing & Sales: two terms to describe the same reality?
Quoted almost systematically one after the other, the terms "sales" and "marketing" are often considered an indivisible whole. Certainly, in small companies where the same people perform these two activities simultaneously, this line is blurred…even non-existent.
"Marketing" and "sales" activities have one objective: to generate revenue. But although they are complementary, they are very different disciplines requiring very different competencies.
Marketing is essentially dedicated to approaching the "market".
Marketing activities include the detection of consumer needs and requirements (market study), the production of a product or a service which meets these requirements, and, finally, the combination of the elements as a coherent whole, called "marketing mix", which will allow sellers to sell the products or services in question.
The advisor or the marketing manager contributes so that sales take place as fluidly as possible. They are also in charge of preparing any promotional materials, such as brochures or advertising flyers, preparation for events, public relations, or even activities related to a webshop.
In short, the marketing agent is responsible for developing an attractive proposal, placing it on the market, and identifying potentially interested prospective customers (also called "leads"). The benefit of an effective marketing policy lies in customer satisfaction and the forging of long-term relationships with customers.
"Sales" activities relate to direct sales, the maintenance of contacts with customers, and acquisitions. The task of sellers is to follow "leads" and to make sure that prospective customers become actual customers by convincing them that the product or service offered by the company meets their needs. In a B2B environment, they must generally have a conversation with the potential customer. The aim of “sales" activities is to increase the company's profit by increasing its turnover.
Effective collaboration between "sales" and "marketing" activities is an imperative condition for achieving good results. To do this, it is important to prepare a plan setting out the different actions required in detail, notably in terms of steps, responsibilities, expected results, etc. This is the marketing plan.