Peggy Morrow is the founder and president of Insight Consulting Services. Located in Chicago, Insight Consulting Services is a marketing consultancy focused on helping small businesses reach more customers and increase sales. She helps clients find the “sweet spot” in their market where they can sell more products and services. She also develops business and marketing plans for companies seeking financing or a blueprint for operations, performs market research and analysis to help businesses make fact-based decisions and designs marketing communications materials that generate business leads.
After positions in information technology, internal audit, process improvement and strategic marketing for a major telecom, Morrow became a founder and marketing director for a network performance software startup. She then launched Insight Consulting Services to provide small businesses with a complete portfolio of marketing services.
Sales and marketing are often combined under one umbrella, yet they are separate entities with very specific purposes. Morrow explains the contrast between sales and marketing.
What is the difference between sales and marketing?
Sales and marketing is often used as one phrase, or the two words are used interchangeably. Yet there is a significant difference between sales and marketing, and that difference can impact your business’s success. Marketing includes all those activities you perform before you talk to the first prospect. It consists of the research, strategy and promotional activities you use to discover what products and services are wanted by businesses and consumers, and the techniques to make potential customers aware of them. Sales entails prospecting and one-on-one contact with a customer. It is the interaction with a prospect designed to close the deal, the activities where you engage a specific prospect or customer to sell a product or service.
Why does understanding the difference matter?
Small business owners sometimes skip marketing and go straight to sales. A prospect, whose business is struggling, recently told me that he would work on marketing after he had 75 customers. Yet, his prospecting would be so much more effective if he had spent the time to understand the environment he was operating in, and how to effectively communicate the value of his products and services. On the other hand, a client starting a new business took the time to really understand the marketplace he was operating in. We looked at what products and services his competitors were offering and how they were priced. We talked to actual prospects to see what attributes they wanted in the products. We developed marketing messages designed to separate his business from the competition. As a result, the client made several decisions that changed his original plans. Now, he was armed with a wealth of information and analysis to help his business be more successful.
What marketing and sales questions should small business owners be asking themselves?
- Am I providing products and services that customers are looking for?
- Am I targeting the right customers?
- Who are my competitors, and how do my products and services compare to theirs?
- Am I keeping up with the trends in the marketplace?
- Do my marketing materials communicate the right messages and project the right image?
This article was written by Michelle Guilbeau of Examiner.com for CBS Small Business Pulse.