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Sales vs. Marketing

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Sure, sometimes lines can blur a little, but at their core sales and marketing are very different activities. Each of them cover large swaths of territory, and people who aren’t experts in the field can be forgiven for not really understanding the difference — but across all aspects, regardless of what duties fall in which department at any given company, the difference is fundamental. Fundamental in the sense that not only are they different skill sets, they require entirely different personalities and approaches.

No matter whether “marketing” is a synonym for advertising, or if it fully encompasses the field from outbound marketing, to inbound marketing, to product ownership; no matter whether “sales” is a guy in a dirty trench coat saying “wanna buy a watch” or a team of professionals closing hundred-million dollar deals, there’s one thing that unites and divides the two fields very clearly:

Sales is something you do to an individual; marketing is something you do to a group.

Think about that, and think about how fundamental it is.

Sure, if you’re selling a house, there may be a spouse buying, but as the sales rep, at any one point in time, for any one sentence you utter, you’re really only appealing directly to one of them. And if you’re marketing a house, you’re _never_ trying to talk to just one person.

That distinction is so basic, that people who are good at one are not likely to be good at the other. Cross-over from sales to marketing, or vice versa, very rarely works successfully on both sides.

And that, my friends, is why your sales team should not be responsible for lead generation. If you’re counting on your sales folk to generate their own business, you’re doing it wrong.