Marketing opens doors; it does not close sales

“Marketing doesn’t work.” I’ve heard that lament one too many times so let me dedicate this post to all the people who misunderstand the real function of marketing. These are the people who measure their marketing success by the sales that happen as a result. If that evaluation were truly an accurate metric, you’d have no need for sales professionals. You could staff your sales department with order-takers. Want fries with that?
A marketer’s job is to influence buyers, not close them. Every marketing campaign should take aim at the needs and concerns of your buyers. When you strike a direct hit, you generate leads — leads that your salespeople should seize with vigor, enthusiasm, and the skills to close. Marketing is intended to increase visibility; reinforce (or change) your company’s perception in the marketplace; promote a product, service, or event; drive leads to your website or call center; and influence buyers to consider you when making a purchase that you could fulfill.
Nowhere in this list is the item “increase sales”. While you may expect marketing to increase sales, the truth is, it should increase sales opportunities. Your marketing department is not responsible if your sales team blows the close. If you’re not getting leads, then re-evaluate your message and its delivery. Be sure you are in touch with the needs of your market segment.
But if the sales conversion rate isn’t what you expected, talk to your sales staff. Did the campaign confuse or mislead prospects? Was the pricing or delivery the issue? Did the product lack features that the market needs?
Before you determine that marketing doesn’t work and decide to wield an ax on your budget (and staff), be realistic about the roles of marketing and sales. It’s a team effort.

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