While marketing and sales obviously go hand in hand, they are really two separate disciplines. Marketing can be said to account for the bigger picture. It includes considerations such as product pricing, product image, promotions and defining customer segments. While, marketing is about communicating to entire groups of customers or potential customers, sales can be said to account for the smaller picture. It includes considerations such as customer relationships, consulting and education, customer support, and transactional elements such as financing, delivery, and arranging special terms. The sales function is about the one-on-one relationship between you and your customers, as well as unique variables that go into making that relationship successful. This course module will focus on marketing. See Sales for Engineers in the ASME Professional Practice Curriculum for a complete course on sales.
The process of marketing precedes the process of sales since the bigger picture must be understood before we can approach the smaller picture. The following table illustrates the differences between marketing and sales.
The Bigger Picture
The Smaller Picture
|Who are the customers (demographics)? Where are they (geographically)? What are their needs? Can they be divided into segments? Is the focus business-to-business or customer-oriented?
||How do we develop optimal relationships with each customer? If the sale is business-to-business, who is our point-person in each potential company?|
|Who are our competitors? How are they achieving their goals? How can we increase our own share of the market? What is the overall market demand for the product?
||What is the sales pitch for this potential customer? What are the customer’s general and unique requirements for this product? |
|At what price should the product be sold? Should there be different price points?
||What purchasing incentives should be made (if any) for this customer? Will they purchase in a greater volume or frequency? |
|How should our product be promoted? What programs will persuade customers to purchase the product?
||What is the most effective mode of contact (advertising method) to reach the potential customer? |
|What type of image should we use to promote the product? What qualities and features should be emphasized?
||What “hot-buttons” or critical product features are most enticing to this particular customer? |
|How will the product be distributed? Through what channels will the product be sold (i.e., agents, retailers, direct from manufacturer)? Who are the intermediaries?
||What educational materials or leave-behinds will be most effective for reinforcing this sale? This applies individually to third party resellers and distributors as well. |
|What vehicles should we use for advertising (i.e., trade magazines, direct mail, the Internet, telemarketing, etc.)? What vehicles are most cost-effective?
||What types of payment options or financing programs should we offer our customers? What is the most optimal method of delivery for the customer?|
|How much customer education is
necessary to promote this product? What are the best vehicles for customer education?
||Is there any customization required for this customer? Do they require any modifications or altered specifications? |