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Keep Sales & Marketing Separate

Let’s set something straight: sales and marketing are two very, very different things. Tread carefully if your company is considering merging these two disciplines into one. Can you really be the vice president of sales and marketing?  Sales and marketing should be separate departments within your organization.

Marketing is all about getting the word out and explaining to people the benefits of your products and services to increase interest and visibility. Most importantly, marketing is about driving inquiries and leads to sales. A sales department is for nurturing clients, progressing with leads, and keeping up a constant and steady relationship.

Of course, the two are related. Marketing is essential for facilitating the sales process. There needs to be a common voice, a uniform message in the company from the marketing materials to the sales pitches to the multiple channels used to reach the target audience. Intra-company communication is essential.

While it is imperative to have this connection between the departments, it needs to be understood that the responsibilities are just too immense for one position, or even one department, to undertake.

Consider the processes that are necessary for a successful marketing campaign. First, you need a plan. Then you need to do a situational analysis to understand the landscape of your targeted area. Next you need to decide your strategy for the market. You need to segment, target, and position yourself in the market for the best chance to efficiently reach your audience. Then you need to implement your plan. The content needs to be created and distributed through the proper channels. Then you need to analyze the impact and reach of your campaign. Finally, measure your results. Make sure you are always measuring and collecting data.

If some of your marketing is successful, then it goes to the sales department, where they forge direct and personal relationships with the potential clients. And keeping a relationship takes time and effort. Consistently checking in and reaching out to the client is essential to their comfort level. Every little interaction needs to be carefully calculated and measured. If you send an email, make it professional. A phone call? Make it courteous. Do everything in a timely matter. A sales department needs to be fluent in customer relations. Marketing can support in a drip or multi-touch campaign.

In these tough economic times, sometimes departments have to be merged. It makes sense to group sales and marketing. In those circumstances, it’s understandable. But the two departments are simply too critical to the livelihood of your company that they need to be fully staffed by professionals who are trained to do one or the other. You will appreciate the two working autonomously with the ability to work in collaboration if they need to.

John Foley is the founder of Grow Socially (, an online marketing company including social media, which provides marketing consulting and delivery services. These services include discussing and creating marketing plans, strategies, tactics, and goals that align with your company’s needs. Foley also serves a CEO for interlinkONE, an integrated multi-channel marketing Web solutions company serving the print and fulfillment industries and marketing departments. Contact him at or 978-674-8081.