November 29, 2017
I must've been a hunter-gatherer in my previous life, because when I try to explain marketing vs. sales to people, the example I'm going to share with you always comes to mind.
I've been in sales AND marketing for the better part of 29 years. Started-out selling books door-to-door during college. Always involved in both sales and marketing in many businesses that I've owned. But one thing I could never believe : many, if not most "marketing and sales people" didn't understand the exact role that each plays. Well to be honest, I didn't even think about it until I started my own business back in the roaring 90's.
OK. So let's start with the hunter-gatherer example.
Ug is a hunter-gatherer. And he LIVES to fish (literally). He can sit on his float all day tossing the pole into the water with a tasty snail affixed to his hook (ok, maybe he didn't have a hook, but let's keep moving forward.) Every once in a while, a big fish comes up to his ancient hook and appears to sniff it, but most of the time, passes it by. The BIG FISH was being marketed to by Ug. Ug didn't know this, but he was sending a marketing message to the BIG FISH in the calm, blue, clear water. He sent a message to his BF in hopes that he would become interested in this very tasty snail. And many times he did. But mostly he didn't. But then wait......
HE CAUGHT ONE! And it was HUGE. He could feed his family for days.
Guess what? Ug just converted his marketing message into a SALE! A CONVERSION!
He converted his marketing message into a sale with ZERO effort or knowledge of sales. No sales talk, no expensive training, just a pole, string, hook, snail (poor guy) and a good target market (the BIG FISH.)
So Ug was Marketing to the Big Fish. Sending out a promise (tasty snail) in order to attract prospects (BIG FISH). The effort was entirely in the marketing. The sale was the easy result. And of course Ug hoped to catch many of the BIG Fish's Friends (BFF's.)Wow that was really bad. Let's proceed:
Now on to Bloof. Bloof is also a hunter-gatherer. But she can't stand to fish. Way too boring and she finds she falls asleep or starts thinking of better things to do after only four moons. "I bet I can find something to eat way faster than Ug" she decides.
So off she goes. Her choice of hunting tool: A five foot long spear complete with razor-sharp shark's tooth at the point.
At first she walks quietly through the woods looking for big monster game. But they are seldom to be seen and even if she manages to hit one of these Ranazoorasrexs, her spears never manage to slay the beasts. So instead, she learns from her friend Spordid to walk quietly looking for the much smaller to mid-sized game that roams her area. So she spends her time walking and looking, scouting and perching until.... She hits her mark! She spears a Monxodam that will feed her family for many days if not weeks.
Guess what? Bloof just converted a sale! With ZERO Marketing! Yes, she may have prospected the wrong target market to start (those huge and mean Ranazoorasrexs), but after finding her proper target market, she closed the sale (er feast.)
Late at night, Bloof talks with Spordid about their hunting experiences. Bloof says "I found three Monxodams today and managed to slay one." Spordid says, "Well Bloof, I've been slaying two out of three almost every hunting time. So I guess my closing rate is 66.7% to your 33.3%. Maybe I can help you." And thus began the first sales training course in hunter-gatherer history. Ok well maybe not.
Marketing VS. Sales: The Promise VS The Close
Marketing is the promise. The attraction. It's what gets the interest in your prospect's mind. It's what brings them close to the table. It's what creates interest. Ug had the promise of a tasty snail on the end of his fishing pole. It attracted the BIG FISH. And his marketing was so good that he didn't need to sell anything. He didn't dive into the water and spear the fish, he was just patient and confident enough in that meaty-yummy-big-juicy-snail as a promise that he knew without a doubt that at some point a BIG FISH would meet its future in Ug's frying pan (or whatever they used to cook fish back then.)
Catching the BIG FISH was the sale. The CONVERSION. The marketing message did it's job and the sale happened almost effortlessly. But don't kid yourself, without a decent sales/conversion process, Ug definitely spent many nights and days (as well as his family did after much complaining) very hungry.
Now Bloof, on the other-hand, was "making the sale." Bloof often did what we call "prospecting," or making contact with possible big game meat objects, but she did virtually zero to attract them to any type of promise. She just tried to place herself in front of as many prospects as possible and knew that she would often spear 1 out of 3. Her skill, however, once engaged with a Monxodam, directly contributed to her success. She also learned later in life that there were ways to attract the Monxodams to her by setting bait in the jungle. Hence, she was the first to learn Marketing Techniques to Help Close The Sale and thus became a billionaire Monxodam retailer.
****No Monxodams, Ranazoorasrexs or BIG FISH were harmed during the writing of this blog post. All examples are fictional. Bloof, as well as Ug may have existed, but I didn't know them. Although Spordid may be a long-lost relative.
So to re-cap:
Marketing is the promise. The lure; what gets or keeps your prospects or customers interested in considering you or your company to do business with. Could be as simple as a logo, or as aggressive as a 90%-off sale ad. Fantastic marketing can often cause the sale to close itself. Horrible marketing often leads to starvation of leads and a disgruntled sales force relying on cold-calling. And we wouldn't want that would we?
Sales is the conversion. It's taking a past or current prospect or customer and getting them to buy something again or for a first time. It's CLOSING THE DEAL. Getting the contract, Getting the Cash. Getting the PO, whatever in your industry constitutes "getting the sale, where this girl or guy is committed, not going to flake-out or cancel."
An unbelievable marketing system is sometimes all that it takes.An unbelievable sales system is sometimes all that it takes.
But if you can combine an extraordinary marketing system with an extraordinary sales system, you will never be hungry my friend. Far, Far, From It. When Ug combined his marketing skills with Bloof's amazing sales skills, they created the first IPO.
So I hope I helped to explain it.
If you meet someone who is in "Sales and Marketing," just ask them about Ug or Bloof. I'm quite certain they'll have no idea what you're talking about.
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