This is somewhat of a trick question, since we absolutely need both. Let me explain the difference between the two because those lines are very blurry.
The job of marketing is to inform and attract leads and prospects to your company, product or service.
It's all about the four P's:
You're constantly attracting, forming and creating fans and community, ultimately telling your prospects the benefits of your brand. You're educating them about the particulars - rinse, repeat.
The touchpoints of marketing are endless these days: social media, public relations, websites, promotional material, magazines, print. Marketing is everywhere and it can feel messy at times, so you have to figure out the strategy that works for your ideal customer.
Ultimately, the job of marketing is to kick off the sales process.
Sales works directly with prospects to reinforce that value that you've been talking about, urging a client to convert. Sales is the closer, and it's very focused on the bottom line.
Without sales, you're just throwing a slew of marketing into outer space and not seeing any return. Sales is indispensable to the success of a business and directly correlates to the numbers. Sales is how you actually pay for all the marketing.
Bottom line - you need both to thrive in business, and they both need to be good.
I’ve learned a lot along the way, and I’m happy to share a few tips that have worked for me and my business.
#1 You Are Always Marketing
It doesn't matter where you are, what you're doing, you're always representing your brand - whether you like it or not. Train yourself, and your entire team in this thought process. You’ve always got to be ready to kick it over to sales, that’s business. This is so important because everywhere you go, you have your brand on you.
Spend the time to really craft those marketing messages so that at any given point, you’re ready.
For example, if you meet somebody brand new at an event and you're making small talk, when the conversation moves to work. At that moment, you're able to give your marketing one liner, and you're able to pull them in.
From there, they want to know more and are interested in making a connection or working together. This is the moment to (professionally) move this into sales. So, have a link readily available that you can text them, or shoot them a DM so that they can book a call to connect with you. Make it accessible and make it immediate.
#2 Connect With Your Audience Daily
That can feel really really overwhelming. However, if you plan this out you know what your touch points are going to be every single day, it becomes routine.
Marketing is not all about posting to social media everyday, marketing is about connection. Marketing is human beings connecting with human beings. Remember this in your marketing, when people feel like they know you, it makes your sales process 10 times easier because you've actually already sold them.
We often think of that sale happening when we are on the phone call, or when they walk into the store, but if you've done a great job marketing before then, there's a good chance they already know what they're going to say to a sale. We live in a very connected market where there's multiple touchpoints with brands, all the time.
If a potential client sees you show up on a regular basis, they get to know you, they fall in love with you...when you ask for that sale, it really will just come down to timing and if they need what it is that you're offering.
#3 Just Because You're Good at Marketing Doesn't Mean You're Good at Sales
That can be a hard pill to swallow, but the truth is they're very different skills. One way to know which skill you're actually good at is if you’re able to get people in the door. Can you book those calls? If so, great. In that case, marketing and generating leads might not be your problem. The problem could be that you can't take those leads and turn them into an actual purchase and monetize them - that’s a sales problem.
Once you’ve taken a person to the very top of the marketing roller coaster and they’re about to take that plunge - we want to give them as many reasons as possible to say yes. How? You need to know where you are actually making those conversions. Do you have a system? Are you tracking how many people are getting to that last phase and taking the plunge versus how many people are not converting?
It's important for us to be able to look in the mirror and realize where our strengths lie, then evaluate what isn’t working. The good news is there's so much to learn and sales is based heavily in Psychology today.
I also teach sales as a part of my coaching because you have to actually make the sales for your business to last. I teach the value of a one-on-one call, showing up in video to connect, learning how to write sexy copy for your website and social posts.
What do we need to actually get people over that edge? Do you have a process to take people from the marketing to the sales? Do you have a sales strategy?
As I’ve said, marketing cannot exist in a vacuum. So, go get your sales on and determine where you need your help.
If you're interested in hearing more, I recommend checking out this episode of Through The Marketing Lens podcast, where I cover even more tips to improve both your sales AND marketing.