Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Sales versus Marketing

In a session today at ChannelCon 2112 Group’s Larry Walsh made a comment to Heather Margolis that Marketing is a Cost Center. That isn’t true.

Peter Drucker said that a company has only two duties Innovation and Marketing. Everything else is overhead. If marketing is done correctly, sales is superfluous.

The problem most service providers face is a lack of both. Not much innovation and no marketing. It’s why everything is driven by price.

In today’s hip start-up culture, a business plan is a waste of time. Never mind, a sales plan or a marketing plan. Yet the start-up will spend hours on a pitch deck! The reason to do a business plan is to spend the time thinking through your business. What are you; what are you in business to do; who are your customers; how do you benefit them?

These are important questions to ask. You cannot have a value proposition without knowing who it is directed at – or what your value as a service provider is.

That is Marketing - the message and then communicating that message to the marketplace (ideally targeted to your ideal prospects). (And communicating that message to your employees, partners, vendors.

It is easier if you have a unique service. For example, if you are one of just three UCaaS Providers that integrate with a vertical’s practice management software, creating a message around that and communicating it to that vertical is simpler. It is simpler than yelling at the whole marketplace that you offer Unified Communications!

How relevant are you to your customers? That is the combination of innovation and marketing.

Why are so many sales partners needed? One of two reasons: Demand for your service is so great; or demand is so little.

Comcast, Microsoft and AT&T have big channels. They create Demand. The channel is there to fill it. Most of the rest of the service providers do NOT create demand. They expect the channel to do that but that isn’t what the channel does.

They may be innovative with their DRaaS service bundles but they do not market well. They lean on sales. Tech companies tend to skimp on marketing and lean on sales.

The problem with that is without a clear value proposition; message; and target audience, your brand will be determined by hundreds of independent salespeople who interpret it as they will.

So which is more important? Sales is revenue but if marketing is all the communication – and without communication there are no sales.

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