Sales vs Marketing: Who is more important?

If you’re a sales-driven company, you may tend to view sales as the moneymaker and marketing as the money spender. And yes, I have worked for many companies with directors that think like this. “All marketing do is want bigger budgets and to spend more”. Yes, that makes my blood boil! Why is it so hard to understand that sales and marketing complement each other, not compete!

Some people argue that Sales is the real job whereas Marketing is just an expense which includes advertising, promotions, public relations, etc. According to that School of thought, Sales is the one who gets you the real revenue whereas marketing just incur expenses. Now this is what frustrates me. Yes, yes I am a marketer, of course I have to justify my job!

Let’s get a few things straight:
- Firstly, marketing is not better than sales… It’s a whole different activity.
- Secondly, selling and marketing are not interchangeable activities. Each one has a distinct definition, purpose and role. However, they CAN work together very effectively, AND SHOULD!

The battle over which is better or more important when it comes to marketing and sales has been raging for as long as anyone can remember. That’s because the cold, hard fact is that sales people aren’t usually too fond of the marketing department and vice versa. The arguments about which one matters most, which one can’t survive without the other, which one should get the most resources are endless. And unfortunately, favouritism for one function over the other when it comes from the top only fuels the fire and undermines what could be an incredibly effective and efficient operation.

But can the sales department really do its job as well as it could without marketing? And can marketing get the job done right without sales? Smart business people know unequivocally that the answer is “no” because both of these functions have a critical role to play in the overall success of any serious business.

Marketing creates awareness of products. Marketing activities such as tv, radio, outdoor, pr, promotions, etc make prospective consumers WANT and NEED your product. This is a long-term investment. On the other sales job is to convince prospective customers to buy the product and close the sale. When compared to marketing, the sales function by its very design produces more short-term results.

So what would be the point of marketing implementing campaigns, if sales had no stock in the channel? Or why should sales be selling products that marketing knows there is no market for? However if both departments work together to devise plans, their activity will compliment each other. This equals plans that will WORK and achieve results!

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