Don’t expect your marketing agency to do sales for you

Don’t expect your marketing agency to do sales for you

A marketing and advertising agency is part of your overall business team but don’t expect them to handle sales for you. That’s a task either your sales team or you (as the business owner) should take charge of and be responsible for. The agency is meant to improve your inbound leads, shorten the sales cycle, or to build your brand and drive potential buyers to you. But ultimately, making the sale becomes your responsibility.

The AMA’s site defines marketing thusly, “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Notice, it doesn’t include, “selling” in the verbiage. Marketing creates the interest, delivers the messaging, attracts “shoppers” – but it’s sales that then steps in and nurtures the prospect until they buy. Even if marketing supports the sales team with tools to aid the sales cycle, they’re not directly selling. That’s why, in large companies, sales and marketing are generally separate because each serves a specific purpose.

Is it just us?

Perhaps because we work so closely with our clients, advising them, sharing our experience across industries, and offering solutions to common business problems that we often have to correct the expectation that we’re supposed to actually close sales too. We build brand interest, we attract prospects, we communicate the benefits of products and services, but once the possible purchaser interacts with the brand, essentially we’ve delivered success.

At conversion and post sales we participate too

That’s not to say our involvement ends with brand building and advertising. Sure, we’re also involved in improving conversion rates and automating lead nurturing as well. And after the sale is made, we also continue to market to that new customer - trying to build loyalty to the brand and increase their buying . So yes, we’re involved in the selling process, but not the actual selling.

It’s a blurry distinction perhaps. And maybe that’s where clients simply assume we have become an extension of their sales team. Which sometimes leads to the aforementioned awkward conversation where we have to reset their expectations. We promote the business, we bring the leads to you, we help convince the lead to buy, then we actively market to that new customer after they’ve bought - but we don’t actually close the sale. We just help “you” close the sale.

Jan 16, 2015

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