What’s The Difference Between B2B Marketing and Sales?

I have never met a marketer in B2B marketing that would describe themselves as ‘a salesperson’, however there are many a salesperson whom claim to be ‘in marketing’.

As a philosophy, this is no bad thing – B2B marketing needs to extend beyond a marketing department so that the whole organisation takes responsibility for achieving customer satisfaction.

On the other hand, marketing as a profession is often de-valued. Marketing is a profession that deserves recognition for its skillset and clear representation at board level, after all, what’s more important than “the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer needs profitably*”?

As a marketer I may be slightly biased in my opinion, but if we go back to the marketing philosophy concept we can take on the analogy that marketing “can lead the horse to water, but cannot make it drink”; this is where I believe the sales function comes in.

Sales is all about the conversion process. The personal dialogue with a prospective customer from the leads supplied against the background of detailed analysis, data, branding and promotional activity developed by the marketing function. One cannot really survive without the other.

In November 2011, the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) published a paper entitled CIM Marketing and Sales Fusion. The paper suggests that neither function gives due recognition to the role performed by the other. And last year saw a plethora of articles by B2B marketers talking about sales and marketing integration.

The CIM paper concludes by predicting the demise of separate marketing and sales departments over the next 10 years and uses research to demonstrate that companies with closely aligned sales and marketing departments are ultimately more competitive and more successful.

So how does your business define sales and marketing, or marketing and sales?

*CIM definition of marketing

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