Q: Are you a sales-led or marketing-led company? Often a conversation killer question in a meeting but one that needs to be asked as the answer will have far reaching effect, affect and impact of the future direction of the business’ future. The answers have been many and varied but have included …’we’re a product business’; …’we’re a service led business’ …and… ‘we’re both’. Well; a product-led business isn’t much more than a good idea if nobody knows about your product or brand, a service-led business doesn’t have much to service if nobody uses your service and, as for ‘both’ you might well have an identity crisis on your hands! Not wishing to over simplify it but there are those that buy from you and there are those that need to be sold to – a marketing led business has brand awareness and creates the environment from which to sell that consumers (B2C or B2B) are drawn to and a sales-led business is pure sales supported by marketing. Either way, there are very few businesses (if any) that can grow and be sustainable without marketing… and let there be no doubt that marketing in one form or another touches, influences or impacts every aspect of a business.
Every business needs sales; FACT. But how it goes about achieving sales in an ever changing landscape is down to leadership, experience (the right people at the right time and in the right job) and the culture of the business. The people in a business, and the decisions they make, are the deciding factor in the future of any business or brand; large or small. Sales and marketing aren’t the same thing… otherwise there would be a word or title for it! Sales & Marketing Manager. Sales & Marketing Director. Can one person be asked to do both, without compromise; without bias and without going into a schizophrenic meltdown? Maybe the answer can be found in the fact we are yet to be introduced to a Marketing & Sales Director!
A: Take a step back from your business and look at it, look at how your consumers are interacting with your business and how you are adapting to the changing landscape. Often the answer is there but you’re working ‘in’ the business rather than ‘on’ the business and you just can’t see it. It’s not a question of sales or marketing… it’s about the emphasis, management and blend of the two distinct disciplines. Marketing needs a purpose and direction – be that internal or external communications, brand management and when developing a marketing plan (and when briefing your agency!).