“Marketing is not only much broader than selling; it is not a specialized activity at all. It encompasses the entire business. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its result, that is, from the customers’ point of view. Concern and responsibility for marketing must, therefore, permeate all areas of the enterprise.”
– Peter Drucker.
Marketing and Sales are somewhat intertwined whenever we think of a business enterprise. We all know well that for a business to achieve great sales, it needs to have a high level of marketing. When marketing and sales work together – the business can easily achieve its profit goals.
Have a look on the righthand side of any firm’s Profit & Loss Account – you see the Rupee Value of Sales. All the expenses on the left-hand side are deducted from this sales revenue and we arrive at Gross Profit (EBIDTA). This is the magic of sales. Increase your sales volumes, realise an attractive unit price for your product, you have a handsome sales revenue. And the more the sales revenue, the more will be your profit.
Price is the most important element in the Marketing Mix
We all know the concept of the marketing mix. The marketing mix comprises 4Ps, namely, Product, Price, Place and Promotion. Of these, Price is the most important component because it relates to selling and obtaining profits. The other three Ps (Product, Place and Promotion) are indicative of expenditure in product creation, distribution, advertising, and promotion.
Marketing & Sales are not the same:
Whereas we generally use the word marketing and sales interchangeably, there is a big difference between these two concepts. Marketing creates an environment where the customers/prospects get interested in the product. Excellent marketing can potentially negate the need for sale. If marketing is strong, lesser sales efforts may be required. We see many examples in this category like several branded products from famous companies like Phillips, Apple, Samsung, and others. On the other hand, if marketing efforts are average, more efforts may be required for selling the product as is the case with many non-branded products from micro, small, and medium enterprises.
Whereas sale is linear, marketing is exponential. Whereas sale is immediate, marketing is long-term. Whereas sale relates to asking questions, marketing relates to telling stories. Another important point – while marketing focuses on the customer and the product, all the focus of sales is on the skills of the salesperson.
The Way Forward:
We can conclude from the foregoing that marketing and sales together contribute a great deal to the success and the profitability of any organization. Let us now discuss, how we can make the best use of our knowledge about marketing and sales to effectively manage our business operation and achieve sustainable profits. As explained above, a well-developed marketing plan and situation-specific marketing strategies will go a long way in generating excellent sales leads. We should also work appropriately on brand development and positioning aspects. It is said and believed that marketing is the battle of customers’ perception of the product. And therefore, we must work hard to create a positive image of the product in our customers’ minds.
Along with effective marketing interventions, we must focus our attention on the following to effectively handle and manage the sales function:
- Educating and training our salesforce on product knowledge, presentation, and negotiation skills, handling objections, and closing sales.
- Initiating steps to improve sales team performance.
- Streamlining incentives and rewards.
- Developing sales processes and flow charts, documenting, and uploading these on the company’s intranet.
- Taking necessary steps for grooming of salespersons; developing suitable dress codes.
- Providing sales team members with necessary marketing collaterals, catalogues, order forms, etc.
- Creating a database of old customers, current customers, and our prospects to ensure our regular interaction with them.
- Taking adequate initiatives for up-selling and cross-selling of our product/offerings.
- Obtaining continuous feedback and referrals from our customers (and consumers).
- Ensuring that our current customers remain happy and satisfied. They can later become our loyal customers and do advocacy towards our products.
- We must try to find reasons as to why our past customers stopped patronizing us.
- Carefully identifying our target audience, their needs, wants and pain points.
Recently, I attended an interesting seminar on “Business Freedom,” which included an engaging module on sales and marketing. Immediately after the conclusion of the seminar, I was inspired to write this post on the importance of sales in business.