Sales and marketing are not the same thing. It's true they both deal with relationship management and it's true that neither of these job descriptions require hardcore engineering, but just because they're both in the realm of words over code does not mean that they are the same. At the risk of muddling your mind with HR jargon, the core competencies of a marketer are very different from those of a sales person. Surprisingly, many startup CEOs insist on hiring for a VP of Sales and Marketing position.
If you're the VP of sales and marketing for your company, this article is not about how you aren't doing your job properly. In fact, it's about how you're doing the job of two separate people and shouldn't be. Interwest investor Bruce Cleveland recently wrote an article entitled, In Search of the Mythical VP Sales and Marketing where he defines the separate domains of sales and marketing.
Says Cleveland, "Sales and Marketing are vastly different functions that require substantially different personalities, skills, and decades of experience to master...A CEO who doesn't understand this basic fact, or doesn't believe it, is not a CEO I want to invest in."
Explains Cleveland, a sales person understands the inner workings of B2B deal probabilities and the short term requirements to increase deal flow. Meanwhile, marketing people look at the landscape from a longterm perspective and lay the groundwork for sales through analyst, media and web leads generation. Essentially, sales people are great oral one-on-one communicators and marketers are great written mass communicators.
He writes, " I have found that the CEO who makes this serious mistake hasn't worked with someone who is an excellent Marketer and therefore discounts the role it plays." With expertise in the Software as a Service space, it's interesting that Cleveland believes the marketing role is the one that gets tacked on at the last minute. While sales offers obvious measurement through direct revenue generation, marketing tends to have a less clear set of metrics.
Cleveland explains that "today's head of Marketing must be an excellent demand creator (the "owner" of future revenue) through sales-ready leads." Essentially he believes that the marketer's job is to increase perceived value and generate demand on a massive scale in order to grease the wheels of the sales team.