In my last blog entry, I talked about why it was important to understand the traits of a good marketing person and a good sales person. I also mentioned that you (as an owner) probably do one of these tasks well. Let’s start there.
The owner of the organization is automatically involved in sales and marketing. The owner has the vision that launched the organization, so they understand and can tell the business’ story better than anyone else. Other members of your team may know the story, but they will not be as effective at telling it (the further you move out from the owner/founder, the weaker the vision and story — it’s something large organizations struggle with time and again and the subject of many, many business books.) Whether you self-identify with sales or marketing will depend on whether you enjoy (and excel at) one-on-one conversations with potential clients (sales), or whether you get annoyed with the details and prefer to paint the broad picture for others to implement (marketing).
Whether you are the sales person or the marketing person, the owner/founder has one more very important role. Remember when I mentioned in my last post that the two roles can pull in different directions (and focusing in one area almost makes you ignore the other)? As the owner of the organization, you are also the referree between sales and marketing, helping to balance the short-term demands of sales with the long-term vision of marketing. That means:
- If you are a sales type, you may have to learn to be patient and to trust in marketing’s long-term campaign. Don’t be so quick to change your marketing messsage based on one client or one event.
- If you are a marketing type, you may have to learn to be adaptable to meet the short-term demands of your sales engine. Find a way (and the words) to help the sales function convey your message to different types of clients, and be sure to listen carefully to what sales is really asking for — it may point to a change in your market or what it needs.
If you are physically doing both jobs, I am not going to tell you that you have to get someone else to do the other job — that is between you, your budget and how successfully you are carrying both. I WILL encourage you to own that one of them is not your strongest skill and that you might need to develop that function further. That could include anything from just educating yourself (through books, blogs and other online resources) to bringing in a short-term consultant to develop a strategy or provide part-time help.
The most successful business people are the ones who recognize where they excel and where they need help. Walt Disney was the visionary, but it was Roy Disney who sold it to the investors — without Roy, Walt would not have succeeded.