The salesforce of agencies are perhaps the most interesting workforce for the simple reason that they sell ‘marketing services’. Selling ‘marketing’ is more than just an art in itself. It’s the duality of profile that makes it challenging or exciting or both – depending on the way you look at it. First, you need to understand marketing services in its entirety. Then you perfect the art of selling it to a prospective customer. So, you need to understand both sales and marketing! Interesting!
However, one thing that has baffled me for long is when many professionals interchange sales and marketing as a profile/word or think of the two part of one big umbrella. This is rather irritating for me because sales and marketing are two very different function areas. I do marketing and sales both, and I know that the approach is totally different for both. Yes, I can hire a person to take care of both the function areas but can’t (quite dreadfully) expect the same approach. Sales is all about numbers – lead generation and conversion – a very measurable activity. Sales adds to revenue directly. Marketing is a totally different exercise, done to build awareness with potential and existing customers. I have defined very broadly.
It is quite strange that many candidates that I have interviewed (mind you with considerable experience too), often think of marketing as sales, and vice versa. One candidate in the recent past defined sales as a smaller part of marketing. When probed further, he was convinced that sales comes under the marketing department. To add more, he was an MBA graduate! For some time now, the first thing I ask a potential candidate appearing for an interview is the definition of both marketing and sales, followed by the difference between the two. I don’t move forward unless I am convinced that the candidate understands the two function areas independently.
Long live marketing and sales.