Summary: Frequently, I see confused comments in the business press about the place of sales among all the different disciplines in business, and, in particular, with regard to Marketing.However you view sales, it is always an integral part of the body of marketing and not a separate discipline. It is critical that sales people are kept close to marketing to avoid dangerous situations in which mixed messages and confused strategies damage sales revenues and the brand!
Opinion: Confused comments often arise in the business press about the place of sales among all the different disciplines in business, and, in particular, in regard to marketing. The Marketing Mix – whether you use the “Four Ps” or the “Seven Ps” of Marketing – always contains “Place”. Many are confused about Place which really means Distribution; how your product or service is delivered to the customers. Now this differs between Business-to-Consumer (B2C) marketing and Business-to-Business (B2B) marketing. In B2C marketing, the sales person is often the means of final delivery of the product or service to the customer – think retail. But in B2B marketing, the product or service usually has a supply chain set up to deliver which includes warehousing and delivery vehicles. In the B2B case, the sales discipline is part of the Promotional P of marketing. This is all about marketing communications, how the messages of benefits and features are delivered to the customers to promote purchases. Sales teams create and take the orders which are then delivered by others in the supply chain. However, whichever way you view sales, as part of the Place P or the Promotional P, sales is always an integral part of marketing and not a separate discipline. Therefore it is critical that sales people are kept close to the body of marketing, working in tandem, using the same messages. So often, especially in B2B industrial marketing, sales and marketing meet only infrequently, only to plan and work together on exhibition stands. This can create dangerous situations in which mixed messages and confused strategies damage the brand!