Good question you may ask; the standard response is that marketing is everything you need to do to reach, persuade and engage with potential customers and sales is everything you need to do in order to close the sale and get an agreement to buy.
However, to me, they merge into one, as effective sales cannot happen without effective marketing (whether push or pull) and effective marketing is no good without effective sales. Both are therefore necessary to sustain successful business development campaigns but often the two departments work in silos and lack effective communication between themselves. You need to work strategically together to combine both efforts and ensure that they both feed into each other.
So, for example, marketing should include strategies that can measure your reach and work to persuade your prospects that you are the company/product/service for them. It’s this message that prepares the potential purchaser for the sale and therefore a sales function within an organisation should be allowed an input into the marketing messages. Equally, the feedback from potential customers that marketing can gather from their activities must be fed into the sales function, enabling them to deliver the right message to close the sale.
We are currently helping one of our client’s recruit a crucial position of Head of Sales & Marketing within their company as they prepare for investment and growth. Previously they had split the functions and the two key players involved didn’t work together effectively, with the resultant negative impact on new business targets.
The two roles can work effectively if split but not without on-going 2 way communication and relevant timely feedback.