I come in contact with many new salespeople that think their most important job is to educate the customer. The confusion often stems from a misunderstanding about the differences between sales and marketing. Recognizing the distinctions of the two roles is usually the first step in improving the performance of both departments at companies I’ve worked with.
Sandler Insight: Marketing is the role of identifying groups of people or companies that may be a fit with your product/service before person-to-person contact is made. Selling is the effort applied to those “possible fits” initiated by person-to-person contact…
Effective Marketing: Targets many prospects at a time.
Effective Selling: Targets a single company or person.
Effective Marketing: Generates interest in a product/service with one-way communication (i.e. print, radio, or TV).
Effective Selling: Uses questioning techniques to uncover compelling reasons to buy in 2-way interactions, allowing the prospect to do most of the talking.
Effective Marketing: Gives something away that is valuable (i.e. coupons, new concepts, research studies).
Effective Selling: Avoids “unpaid” consulting.
Effective Marketing: Provides generic concepts and solutions to a mass audience.
Effective Selling: Uncovers the unique benefits that will solve a particular customer’s problem.
Effective Marketing: Causes the prospect to ask for more information.
Effective Selling: Causes the prospect to make a yes/no decision.
Effective Marketing: Is more effective when repeated many times to a large prospective audience.
Effective Selling: Attempts to minimize the sales cycle and the number of follow-ups made with a single prospect.
Sandler Rule: Sell today, educate tomorrow.
There’s nothing wrong with educating customers! The problem arises when salespeople begin educating prospects. Marketing is cost-effective because the advertising medium reaches a large number of people. It becomes prohibitively expensive if it only reaches a small number of prospects. Monitor your sales calls and see if they are turning into marketing to a single prospect.
© 2004 Sandler Systems, Inc.