“The secret of getting ahead is getting started”: Mark Twain.

Sales move over to the passenger seat, it is now time for marketing to take control.

The old school thinking defines success of a business through its liquidity, revenue inflows and sales. The scooping of monetary transactions is a big intrinsic sign that cement the notion that business is doing well.

For a long time, we have always believed that without sales or revenue, businesses cease to exist but with modern customers who demand more than transactional deals only, sales alone may not guarantee sustainability to a business.

Sales without marketing is a recipe for failure. Marketing tactics help organisations to sell their best products but in the same spirit, organisations require revenue from sales to come up with a marketing department.

There has been a long corporate feud on the importance of marketing and sales in an organisation with professionals from either side fighting to claim superiority over another. This fight has also seen these two residing in different departments despite the fact that their functions complement each other.

In plain language, sales brings in the bottom line while marketing clears the way for sales people to close leads. Marketing is the pathfinder for sales to follow, they open up leads and do activities that will trigger customers to patronise an organisation’s products and services.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic has re-arranged the old normal with marketing taking over the driving seat of any business. In sales, there is a great manipulation of customers as salespeople use different strategies and tactics to close a sale and in some instances the ways used may be unorthodox.

They play with the mind of the customer until the customer gives in. Imagine being threatened with an unforeseen liability or costs if you do not start saving up, one would obviously be forced to prepare for the unknown eventuality. No wonder why funeral assurance and various insurance products and thrive on the fear of the unknown of its customers.

Also, with most corporates opting for contactless way of doing business, the number of sales people engaging in cold canvasing has significantly dropped. This makes it difficult for organisations that used to drive conversions and sales by overselling their products and services continue to send their representatives on cold calling missions.

These missions were usually marked by sales people who are pushy and never relent until they close the deal. Convincing customers using face-to-face tactics has been substituted by using other marketing tactics.  The physical interactions are now a thing of the past.  The pandemic has caused all that to come to a screeching halt. In most organisations sales is now being done internally.

Move over sales, welcome marketing

Marketing is all about creating relationships while sales brings in the revenue. Solid relationships are built on trust and they thrive so well when both parties live true to the tenets of their business relationship.  It is, therefore, marketing that should help organisations to increase conversions.

Here are the reasons that justify the new sales by marketing

  1. The power of relationships in business

There is nothing as more important in business than the creation of mutually beneficial business relationships. Marketing functions allows organisations to create certain but unique relationships with their customers. Customers are more willing to give business to someone they can relate to very well than to a total stranger. This is because a known business partner understands their way of doing business, their needs and wants. Organisations and customers tend to also be flexible when there is need to do that which may not be possible with someone totally new.

It is more beneficial to have relationships with customers than once-off transactions. Instead of just making sales the client list gathered through relationships can be further used to enhance business processes such as marketing research and improve on the current offerings so as to meet the ever-changing consumer preferences and tastes.

Organisations that understand the notion that it is easy to lose customers than it is to get them to make the first transaction, will work overtime to increase the lifetime value of its customers.

A customer database gathered using marketing programmes is a resource on its own. This customer list can be used for leads to close sales and if they are satisfied with the organisation’s products and services, chances are very high that they will refer other potential customers in their networks to do business with that organisation.

Referrals are guaranteed sales because as humans we are created in such a way that we give credence to word of mouth from people within our networks and once they recommend an organisation we readily move in to do business with them.

Business relationships bring in opportunities and possibilities and it is up to the organisation to remind the customer that a close sale is not the end of their journey with the customer but it is the beginning of a great journey filled with satisfaction and delight.

Organisations that are marketing oriented know how appreciating a customer every time they do business will go a long way in relationship building. It is also important for customers to invite the same customers to call again and do business.

When an organisation implement its marketing very well, sales will follow it. Satisfied and delighted customers will be their free sales representatives. It is, therefore, important to have a good rapport with the organisation’s customers and where possible try as much to increase their lifetime value.

Cresencia Marjorie Chiremba, is a marketing enthusiast with a strong passion for customer service. For comments and suggestions, she can be reached on [email protected] or on 0712 979 461.