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Sales and marketing are two words that generally go well together. You’ve probably seen job titles like “sales and marketing executive” in various recruitment advertisements before, but what does this actually mean and why are they segmented into two separate responsibilities within a single job role?

In this post I will talk around a few points on what appears to be the norm when it comes to sales and marketing, and why we need to address this and change our way of thinking when approaching the “sales” aspect of the job especially when operating within the limits of a small business.

They are one and the same

Image: Ryan McGuire

Image: Ryan McGuire

Take a moment to consider this: The process of selling involves supplying a product or service that matches a buyer’s needs, in return for said product or service they compensate you.

Marketing involves promoting a product or service in the best possible light so that a buyer will purchase the product or service that you offer (in other words you are still selling the product or service to them but you have given it a different title).

Marketers need to change their perceptions

Image:Ryan McGuire

Image:Ryan McGuire

An attitude I’ve seen time and time again is that a lot of people (not all) generally find it difficult to “sell” their company’s products or services, but they find it really easy to market the same products and services. The reason for this is that a lot of people see sales people as untrustworthy (think sleazy car salesman) and as such don’t want to be associated with that concept, but in reality they are actually selling anyway, they just don’t realise it, or maybe don’t like to admit it. I’ll use the agency I work for as an example;

Our agency (FireCask) doesn’t employ sales people in any capacity whatsoever; the people who sell our services are the ones who will be working on the client accounts on a daily basis. They are the marketers of our clients’ products and services. When we pitch to potential clients we are actually marketing our services to them. Yes we are actually selling to them but this comes back to the point of “are they not one and the same” – we as an agency do not have a separate thought process for selling and marketing, we treat them as the same thing and it works really well for us.

You are the salespeople for your clients

When you are working on a client’s account in a marketing capacity your aim is to get their products/services in front of the people that will buy them. So, effectively, you are actually an extension of their sales team.

Every company needs to sell to grow, it is our approach that defines how other people see us

Image: National Library of Australia

Image: National Library of Australia

Put simply, if your company doesn’t keep money coming through the till it will not be sustainable – however small, large or worthy. As the point above mentions, it’s all about the impression we create when we are selling (marketing) our services to potential prospects. I’m sure we have all been approached by telesales execs that have been rude and are clearly just looking to hit their bonuses, which has led to us promptly putting the phone down on them…This approach is clearly one that irritates a countless number of people and this for me diminishes any credibility of not only the sales person, but the company they represent. This makes me never want to do business with this company in the future and it’s an aggressive approach like this that can damage a company’s online reputation.

If we flip this on its head for a moment and consider the other side of the coin; when I get a phone call off a company that are polite and have researched us and what we offer and try to sell to me in a consultative manner, it is much better received and I am always open to spending some time talking to them on the phone (even if I don’t want to buy from them) and if I ever do require their services in the future I’ll be much more likely to contact them directly.

Final thoughts

The aim of this post was really to highlight that actually, sales and marketing are the same thing and we shouldn’t see sales as the ugly sibling of our job roles and it is in fact something that we are doing without thinking about it daily (by marketing our clients services). As a small business if you don’t sell you won’t eat. You can call it Bob, Rita or Sue if sales or marketing make you feel queasy – you just need to do it well.

Hopefully, this post has helped some of you change your thought processes towards sales in your job roles. As I said, we at FireCask and I personally think of it simply as marketing ourselves and our services rather than “selling” them even though it is essentially the same thing.

Sales is marketing

  • They are one and the same
  • As a small business they have to drive your business
  • Marketers need to change their perception of being a salesperson vs being a marketer – online marketers need to understand that they are the online sales people for their clients
  • Stop separating the disciplines, lets embrace them
  • Everybody needs to sell, its your approach that defines how other people see us


Ben Barker is Head of Search at Online Marketing and WordPress Development Agency Firecask in Manchester.

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