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Selling and Marketing: What's Same and What's Different?

Ultimately, selling and marketing both seeks to achieve sales. But the way they go about it differs in major ways. Let's look at selling first.

The Sales Process

The ideal sales process involves:

  • Generating leads. i.e. persons or organisations who need what you sell

  • Identifying prospects, checking which of these leads are really likely, and be able, to buy

  • Researching each prospect to get a clear idea of how each will benefit from your product or service, and how they make buying decisions

  • Establishing a relationship, so that you can start the sales presentation in a natural way

  • Making the presentation, which clearly communicates how the prospect can use the product or service to get best benefits

  • Understanding the obstacles that stand in the way of the prospect accepting the offer, and finding ways to help with these problems

  • Closing the sale, by asking for the order when you sense that the customer is ready

  • Following up to ensure that the customer is really benefiting as intended, and providing any support to achieve that result

In actual practice, the process might not conform to the ideal. Instead:

  • You use an established relationship, such as personal friendship or recommendation from a trusted friend of the prospect to get the order

  • Some kind of incentive is offered to the decision maker(s) to influence the decision in your favor

  • An order is obtained through high-pressure sales talk or making false claims about the benefits of the product or service

These last mentioned options are not likely to lead to long-term business relationships as the customers could get disillusioned on actually using the product or service. They could even spread the bad word among other prospects.

The Marketing Function

Note that we have used the word 'function' with marketing rather than 'process.' Marketing involves several distinct processes. The processes:

  • Start with identifying a marketable product or service

  • Moves through designing an offer to meet the needs and expectations of the user

  • Goes through promotional efforts to create awareness and desire and

  • Ends with supporting customers to derive intended benefits, and seeking repeat orders from them, and/or their referrals to bring in more customers

The key difference between selling and marketing is that instead of trying to sell what you already have (or plan to have) you study market needs and develop solutions to meet these needs. The market 'needs' will include:

  • Problems that persons or organisations face, for which there are no current solutions or existing solutions are unsatisfactory

  • Products or services that could meet latent desires that are currently not obvious (think of the phone with a camera, an immensely popular product now, that nobody probably thought about as late as the 1990's. It was invented in 1997 and Sharp introduced the first commercial version in 2000)

Marketing involves planning everything to get the product to the final consumer including:

  • Incorporating features that are likely to arouse the interest of users

  • Deciding on the price to lead to desired level of profits

  • Making the product or service available to users in a way that is convenient to them

  • Creating an offer package that will appeal to the customer

  • Generating awareness about the offer and its benefits among prospective customers

  • Providing support to customers to benefit from their purchases

In short, marketing makes the task of salespersons easier. In fact, it could also include a training program to equip the salespersons with the right skills and knowledge.

About IndiaBusinessDesign

IndiaBusinessDesign provides consultancy services that help entrepreneurs to create viable business ventures. The services cover all stages:

  • Generating a business idea that is right for the entrepreneur and for the market

  • Developing the idea into a fully worked out business model with strategies to produce business results in all key areas

  • Estimating funding needs and organising a fund-raising campaign to set up the business and carry it to a self-sustaining stage

  • Supporting the entrepreneur to implement the startup project and get the business operational

  • Helping with marketing the business and its products and services

If you are planning a business of your own, Contact Us. Initial discussion sessions are free.