Technology has disrupted traditional marketing and selling. It has not only changed the way we market and sell but has also required these functions to work more closely together than ever before. While many consider marketing and selling as different as night and day, there is often confusion of what constitutes marketing and what constitutes selling. Based on my experience, they are the yin-yang of business in the sense that they are different but serve a common goal which is to get prospects to buy.

Sellers are Marketers

The subtitle on John Jantsch’s newest book Duct Tape Selling is “Think like a Marketer – Sell like a Superstar”. Marketing and sales have always been joined at the hip but often functioned in separate silos. Small business owners naturally gravitate more towards sales, spending less money and time on marketing. That used to work when sales involved hunting for prospects. Today prospects hunt for us. So how do we attract the right prospects? Knowing the right prospects means doing more upfront homework.

Marketers are Sellers

Jill Konrath’s new book Agile Selling, primarily speaks to sales people on the new realities of selling and is chockfull of valuable insights on how to improve yourself. Many of her insights work for marketing too because the reality today is that marketers need to consider the entire customer experience and not just marketing. Marketing is of no value if it doesn’t end with a happy customer who is willing to refer other ideal clients. Business owners wear so many hats and the reality is that we need to constantly be listening and learning from our customers and competitors, then adapting new insights into our business, marketing, and selling systems accordingly. While it is very difficult to get prospects to change from the status quo we can’t afford to take the same position. One of the mantras my quality colleague at Intel would often say is “No pain. No change.” Many business owners are feeling pain when it comes to sales and profitability.

Listening and Learning is the Key to Success

In Sales Chaos, Ohai and Lambert make the case that selling today is better understood in the context of chaos theory (“The Butterfly Effect”) than structured sales processes. Today it’s more important to recognize the early signals when things are not progressing and taking immediate steps to address getting things back on track. In marketing that means doing marketing research, analyzing, testing, learning and adapting to new information. In selling, that means recognizing the tell-tale signs that the sale has hit a snag due to changes in the customer’s situation, environment or other. We have to keep moving forward.

Agility not Rigidity

In summary, while we still need systems in place to do marketing and selling, they need to be more responsive to rapid changes that are occurring constantly. They are listening and learning systems that don’t exist in silos but must work together interdependently. You can’t have one without the other. Like yin and yang. How do you think marketing and sales are connected?