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Apr 6-12, 1998

Sales or Marketing: Whose Job Is It Anyway?

jack carrollby Jack Carroll

Last week, I wrote about "Downloaditis." I didn't intend multiple columns on the subject of salespeople spending so much time on the web researching, but there seems to be more to say on the subject. "Sales is after all an action game. Not one that should be consumed with planning, thinking and strategizing. Let marketing do the digging and planning, and feed the results to sales." Well, my response is yes and no. And a bit of in-between. Let me explain.

Historically salespeople were the folks who went out and "brought home the bacon."  Marketing, which nobody ever really heard of until after World War II, did the thinking and the planning and fired the artillery.  Sales was the infantry that stormed the beaches after the shelling.  Salespeople thought that marketing people were "sedentary effete snobs" and marketing fired back that salespeople were "non-strategic glad-handing slobs."

Hey, wait a minute. What's wrong with sales incorporating marketing discipline and   planning?  Or, marketing with an action orientation?  As a matter of fact, the best salespeople I've met and worked with during the last twenty years weren't glad-handing slobs at all, but combined the best of both worlds.

They researched, planned, acted, measured, recorded, and modified every campaign or major account assignment they undertook, but they did it during off-hours.  When the sun was up they were either on the phone, or in front of customers "interacting."

Using the web in sales is both powerful and dangerous. Powerful because there has never been another medium in history that provides the resources or the accessibility for sales and marketing research and planning. Dangerous, because without discipline and focus, research on the net can become a seductive web (so that's where they got that word?) that entices, traps, and seduces away from action.

Here's a radical suggestion.  How about a position somewhere in the middle, the land of truth and wisdom?  How about sales and marketing talking together and providing the best of both worlds in a stew that has customer satisfaction as its base? 

Imagine that. Sales and marketing working together. A new wave in business.

Have a wonderful week selling. And have some fun along the way.

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