I totally agree that sales and marketing skills are important. One of the biggest challenges I find is that people often confuse sales skills and marketing skills. They are two different things. In many organizations, sales and marketing functions are combined, as in the sales and marketing department or the director of sales and marketing. But, make no mistake they are not the same thing. Sales skills are not marketing skills. And vice versa.
In a business sense, sales is defined as the exchange of a product or service for money. Sales skills include prospecting, questioning, listening, relationship building, handling objections, and telling good stories.
Marketing is defined as promoting a product or service. Marketing skills include copywriting, data analysis, event planning, lead management, and public relations.
So conceptually, marketing leads to sales. Both functions are necessary within an organization. There are people who are great at sales that are not great at marketing. And people who are terrific marketers that are not great at sales.
Now let’s talk about specific individual skills.
There are skills that both sales and marketing professionals need to have: critical thinking, project management, analytical skills, and technical skills. And I’d even argue that these skills are needed beyond just sales and marketing. Every employee needs to be able to build working relationships, listen attentively, manage objections, pitch ideas, and explain their POV.
Amazingly, organizations don’t seem to make that type of investment. According to Brevet, the average company spends $10-$15K hiring a sales person and only $2K/year on sales training. It only seems logical to me that companies would benefit from making sure that every employee has the same basic skills as the sales and marketing team. “Every employee is a part of the sales department!” Or at least they could be.
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Hannah’s comment made me realize not only how broad sales and marketing skills are but the need for organizations to take an assessment of their employees’ ability to market and sell – both internally as well as externally.
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