We often hear marketing and sales lumped together into a single area of expertise.
This practice occurs not only because organizations often consolidate departments in this way – it’s also a reflection of the frequent overlap between these roles.
Marketing refers to the planning and implementation of various business activities designed to generate interest in a product or service, from advertising campaigns to brand management to social media.
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Sales refers primarily to the many interpersonal exchanges that lead to actually selling the product, including one-on-one meetings, cold calls, networking, and more.
How are they connected?
Think of it like this: the marketing department lays the groundwork that the sales representatives then build on to close sales.
Sales and marketing roles are the direct link between a company’s product of service and its target market: as a sales or marketing professional, you are responsible for taking that product and bringing it to life, creating, managing and delivering the company’s brand into the lives of consumers.
You are responsible not only for understanding a particular product’s value and function, but also the customer’s needs and preferences. You are both behind the scenes and in the front lines, as the representative of a company’s character, and the developer of that character.
A well-rounded sales and marketing team has room for a number of different roles. Check out the list below for a brief profile of typical department positions.
As a Sales Representative, your role is to present your company’s products or services to a potential client and help them see how it offers them an advantage – in other words, to make sales. This is still a broad term.
Within this category are both manufacturer’s representatives, who often work by commission and must have an in-depth knowledge of their product and target market, and telemarketers, whose primary role in calling potential customers is to generate qualified leads.
Most entry-level sales jobs are for what’s known as inside sales, where a representative sells products or services online or over the phone (i.e. cold calls). Outside sales, or field sales, employ your interpersonal skills, often requiring a fair bit of travel as you make your pitch in-person.
Stepping back from direct interactions with customers, as a Sales Manager you’ll be responsible for overseeing a sales team, monitoring their performance, setting sales targets, developing sales strategies, and writing reports.
You’ll also be in constant conversation with the rest of the marketing team, ensuring that your sales team is effectively communicating the vision of the brand developed by the marketing co-ordinator and brand managers.
At times, you’ll have to step into the sales field yourself, or dip in to the promotional side of things. As a leader and role model, you should have confidence and good interpersonal skills, able to offer advice and support as well as setting goals for your team.
Social Media/SEM Specialist
As businesses increasingly draw on online platforms as a sales and marketing tool, new digitally-driven roles are springing up in sales and marketing.
Companies are expected to maintain an online presence via social media: as a social media manager, your job is to maintain that presence through frequent and engaging online content. Your job might also involve creating and maintaining an online community for your brand.
SEO, or search engine optimization, involves understanding the way the Web works in order to best expose your product to the people most likely to buy it. Both roles require analyzing online trends, knowledge of web design, and a good deal of creativity.
This is more of a behind-the-scenes type role, designing and implementing projects to promote your company’s product.
You’re the brains behind creating brand awareness, developing marketing campaigns, promoting your brand through special events and other media, and more. There’s a lot of room for variety here, and a good opportunity to employ a wide range of marketing methods and techniques.
You’ll need to understand both the product and the target market in order to present your company’s best face forward. The ability to manage multiple projects, support other staff, and liaison with other departments and even outside vendors are all important skills.
Don’t be deterred by the word “assistant”: you have a vital role to play.
Your duties include arranging interviews, writing press releases and other media content, and keeping track of what the media is saying about your company or product.
A Marketing Assistant can also assist the Marketing Manager or Coordinator in developing campaigns. You might be assigned to writing original copy, creating or sourcing content for brochures, magazines, websites, or newsletters, and completing various other administrative duties as needed.
Market Research Analyst
In this role, you’ll get to connect with diverse audiences for insight into their needs and preferences, and then pass that insight on to those responsible for designing, promoting and delivering the product or service.
Market Research Analysts design and conduct research projects, from online questionnaires to focus groups, collect and interpret data, formulate reports and make recommendations based on their findings.
Your job is to understand the consumer – including their needs, preferences, opinions and spending habits – and figure out how your product fits in to that profile. You should be comfortable managing multiple research projects and be knowledgeable about various forms of marketing campaigns, both online and off.
As a Brand Manager, you’re responsible for building your company’s brand.
Often, you’ll work with the Market Research Specialists, analyzing data to develop a marketing strategy then implemented by the Marketing Coordinator. You’ll help brainstorm new products or product improvements and identify new market opportunities.
Your eye is always on the big picture, ensuring that all the various team members, from promotions to sales, are in sync with the brand vision.