The Difference Is Time to Gratification

For anyone who has been in sales or marketing (or both) knows that there is an inherent difference between the two. It’s a Mars-Venus sort of thing. But that’s an overused cliché. I prefer discussing it in terms of time to gratification.

The simplest analogy I can use is that of telling a joke. Marketing is the setup, while sales delivers the punchline.

Marketers research the audience and ultimate consumer, create the story, and decide which media to use in telling it. In terms of a sales cycle, they may spend as much as 99% of that time doing this. And they don’t know how successful they are until they see repeat sales.

Salespeople cultivate relationships with the customers, serve as a key medium in telling the story and sell the product. Then the cycle begins again. So for them, they know they have done their job when they make the sale.

Let me state clearly that the best way for a sales and marketing organization to succeed is if there is constant and open communication between the two divisions (Ardath Albee offers a couple of recent posts on sales and marketing interaction here and here). Theirs is a symbiotic relationship, surviving by supporting the other.

And as important as this close relationship is, it is often a mistake to have them function as one in the same. Keep them separate, letting them focus on their respective roles, not sacrificing one for the other.

Whichever role you play, take the time to understand the other. Then look for ways to improve how you work together and what the key communications need to be. You’re in it together. And that’s how you’ll succeed.

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2 Responses

  1. Great post, Chris! Thanks for the links to my posts, as well.

    I couldn’t agree more with your idea that although the two roles need to work hand-in-glove, that yes, they are separate focuses. Each should empower the other. Which may be the reason why it’s so hard to “connect” them.

    Blurring them together would mute the value each produces. But respecting what each one brings to the game and employing collaboration for tuning can produce a huge transformation in the process.


  2. Ardath,

    Thank you for the comment. I couldn’t have said it better myself!


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