In 5th grade, we had to sell Peanut Butter Meltaways for Adventure Crew. I loved Peanut Butter Meltaways, I loved Adventure Crew. One problem. I hated selling things. I ended up not selling any of the Peanut Butter Meltaways — and admittedly eating them when I realized that was the only solution. Having to buy the entire box myself completely defeated the purpose of a fundraiser.
Fast forward to today — I spend my days in sales and marketing.
Sales and marketing go hand in hand
Sales and marketing are NOT the same thing. But I fully believe they go hand in hand. Many orgs have a ‘director of sales and marketing.’ I’d argue those should be two separate roles, but for a startup especially, it makes sense to share the hat.
In the most basic roles, in marketing, you are responsible for engaging an audience to create interest and maintain interest in your org, product, offering. Sales are responsible for closing the deal. You can have one without the other, but it’s far more effective to have both skipping along the path together.
Admittedly, I do sales every day. As the managing director of RSM, I am responsible for sales. As the director of marketing for a soccer club, I directly help close the deals and get individuals signed up for our programs. Yet, the question lingers: “why do I, like so many, hate sales?”
The greatest challenge of sales that so many sales pros thrive on is the rejection. Hear me out. I’m not saying I can’t hear no. It’s just I’m a rather empathetic person. I think one of my strengths when it comes to marketing is the ability to connect with another person and view the situation as they do. So when it comes to something like cold calling and the hard sell — well, those come with rejection. And instead of pull-up-the-boot-straps and make them see the solution I’m offering is best, I resort to it being an inefficient use of time.
We’re all such busy people. We cram way too much into a day. (How does anyone have time for hobbies, meal prep, and doing laundry any more? Real question. I need tips!)
So when it comes to sales, and talking to people that don’t see value already in some form of what I am offering, discussing, selling — I find it to be a waste of their time and mine. I’d rather leave some marketing materials to introduce them to the concept, and let them do some self-discovery to recognize if the problems they face are, indeed, something I can help with.
Taking the human empathetic side out of it a bit — the ROI in most cases of a direct cold sale, I just don’t see. I rather form the relationship. Nurture it. Then, when it’s a smart use of everyone’s time, we can discuss the next steps!
And, I said it right there. The overlap is the need for building a connection. The content that’s going to help bring that pain point to life. The image that will speak to a potential user. The social media share that they want to re-share.
Both sales and marketing pros have to know their audience. I don’t even know you’d call it an overlap as it’s truly one and the same (as it should be for all departments in your business).
Sales teams are most effective at closing the deal when they have someone interested. And when they’re going to a lead, by knowing what drew that person to the org or how the org solves the immediate problem (that the lead recognizes), the sales pro stands a greater chance of success. Just like the marketing pro who won’t even help capture that lead if they don’t know who they’re talking to and why anyone cares.
So, why is there such tension? Is it just me?
So my question to all of you — is this dread and tension just me? I know sales needs marketing. I really believe marketing needs sales. I trust the sales teams I work with when I help guide leads into a sales funnel that they’re doing their job to nurture that lead (through marketing content we’ve created). Yet. I dread doing the sales myself. Is this just me? Share your thoughts on being responsible for the marketing or sales side. What do you like best? What do you dread? I’m going to keep digging into this…right after I answer the next masked call about a fabulous deal to lower my interest rates………………….