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What to Know About the Difference Between Sales and Marketing

Qualified sales leads do not fall from the sky. You or someone in your sales organization must generate them. Here are insights to do just that.

When asked about the difference between sales and marketing most systems integrators and alarm dealers find it difficult to see the distinction.

However, it’s important to know how these two important processes differ. Although they serve a common goal — which is sales — they actually exist as two separate sides of a single coin that together work to increase your company’s profit picture.

Richard Hahn, a public relations professional and principle owner of Richard Hahn & Associates Royal Palm Beach, Fla., recently had this to say about the importance of sales and marketing: “The goal of marketing is to generate interest in products and services as well as to create leads and prospects. The goal of sales, on the other hand, is to generate revenue and to convert prospects into customers.”

Another difference, says Hahn, who serves as an administrator of The Security Coaching Forum on Facebook, “is that marketing focuses on a large group while the sales process targets individuals or small groups.”

From my vantage point, marketing is the process of attracting and educating potential buyers as a group while sales is the process of meeting them face to face in an effort to convince them that they want or need your company’s products and services.

“If we broke it down to the basics, marketing is everything that you do to reach and persuade prospects and the sales process is everything that you do to close the sale and get a signed agreement or contract,” says Laura Lake, author of “The Difference Between Sales and Marketing,” published in 2018. “Without marketing, you would not have prospects or leads to follow up with, but yet without a good sales technique and strategy, your closing rate may depress you.”

So, where does advertising fit into the sales-marketing equation? Below we’ll explore all three and how they work together for profitability.

Effectively Educate Your Local Market

Qualified sales leads do not fall from the sky. You or someone in your sales organization must generate them. Like a farmer that grows corn, beans, peas, etc., it takes knowledge combined with hard work. But once the way has successfully been navigated, your sales department should have a growing body of leads in the sales funnel to contact so to pitch a deal to. The outcome should be signed contracts that facilitate dependable cash flow and an ultimate growth in yearly profit.

First and foremost, your marketing group must effectively educate your local market on multiple levels. Some of this will include crime statistics in your locale, statistical data related to average police response time, and the various solutions to local crime problems that your company offers as a matter of course.

Some of these stats can be used in advertisements that you’ll run in local newspapers, radio and television, as well as on the web through search engines, your own website and others.

It’s important to condition the minds of local buyers that they need security where they live. National security companies have been doing this for decades. One way to create brand awareness is to take out a small ad in a local newspaper and repeat it over and over and over. Eventually, in about eight to 10 months, those who have passed by your ad will be conditioned so that when they think “security,” they’ll automatically think about your company.

Say what we may about the national security companies that started the no-cost alarm system movement. Through the years they have provided an invaluable service to this industry. These big boys spend a good deal of time and money advertising home security, which includes 24/7 monitoring — which is the apple of every alarm owner’s eye. All you have to do is convince local homeowners to use your company because it’s local. You’re never going to win them all, but you will win your fair share if you’re advertising.

The fact is education through advertising, as a function of marketing, continues to prepare the minds of homeowners in order to perpetuate acceptance. Communication with the public by almost any means possible fulfills the objective of marketing, which is to attract the attention of qualified, ready buyers and to have them contact your sales organization. It’s then that the sales department has the happy task of converting these leads into cash.

SMBs and the Creation of Quality Sales Leads

Large companies, as opposed to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), will often have two distinctly different departments: one for marketing and the other for sales. SMBs on the other hand often combine the two into a single working group that operates under the care and encouragement of a single individual that is most often called a sales manager. But truth be known, they are in charge of both marketing and sales as part of a unified, cohesive sales effort that includes a healthy dose of continuous recurring income.

“The sales leadership job is not for the weak. A sales manager routinely has to make difficult decisions when holding team members accountable. The position also requires creative ideas, a tremendously positive attitude that can withstand myriad challenges, plus a solid understanding — and embracing — of an axiom: The success of the sales office is largely his or her responsibility,” says Russ Ackerman, author of “Security System Sales Leadership” and president of Proven Sales Strategies.

Among all the tools in a business’ toolbox, these two shine the brightest because they are the solution to the age-old problem that almost every business experiences sometime: growth.

“Marketing and sales should work simultaneously, but in most companies, they are departments that don’t even speak to each other,” Lake says.

The question is what are you doing to assure that your organization takes advantage of every possible opportunity in both areas so the left and right hand knows what the other is doing?

In next month’s blog post we’ll discuss when walking away from a new install is sometimes better than accepting a job that’s inadequately engineered for whatever reason.

About the Author

Contact:

Al Colombo is a long-time trade journalist and professional in the security and life-safety markets. His work includes more than 40 years in security and life-safety as an installer, salesman, service tech, trade journalist, project manager,and an operations manager. You can contact Colombo through TpromoCom, a consultancy agency based in Canton, Ohio, by emailing allan@Tpromo.Com, call 330-956-9003, visit www.Tpromo.Com.

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