Marketing or Sales?A business owner I have worked with over the past few years has repeatedly asked the question – “what’s more important – marketing or sales?”  I keep repeating the same answer over in my head and out loud…but maybe not clearly enough.

In my mind they are not separate items.  In fact they are inseparable.  By textbook definition, sales is a part of the overall marketing process….more specifically it is part of promotion (one of the 4 Ps of marketing).  In promotion we have personal selling and we have advertising, PR, etc….all of the pieces of the marketing communication puzzle necessary to and inform and persuade people that our product or service is a better choice for them over the other alternatives (i.e. competition).

I have worked with many different people in marketing (mostly marketing communications) over the years and have taught Marketing courses at the University level. People still ask this same question.  Marketing or Sales?  Usually they are referring to marketing communication as “marketing” and personal selling as “sales”.  If we make that assumption then, what is more important?  Short answer – BOTH.

The bottom line goal of all marketing efforts is eventually more sales.  Otherwise, why bother.

However, your marketing communication efforts impact the ability for your salespeople to sell.  You can have the greatest “sell ice cubes to an Eskimo” salesperson in the world, but if the marketing communications efforts do not set the proper tone or message, they are always fighting a futile battle.  On the flip side of that, if you have great marketing communications, a mediocre salesperson can sell your product.

OK, so the long-winded rambling answer is this.  You’ve gotta have great marketing communications first if you want anybody to consistently sell your products or services over the long haul.  Relying on your salespeople to overcome your lack of good marketing communications will only lead to one thing.  If the salesperson is good, they will be gone to a competitor with better marketing.