The first question that arises in our mind when we go for MBA is about the specialization. Be it Finance/Marketing/Operations/HR etc, this is the most important question of your career at that point, as it might as well be the field in which you’ll have to work for at least some years. If you’re interested in Marketing, at some point, you’ll get to know about the biggest myths of Marketing, i.e. marketing and Sales are the same. Also, selling is an easy job and anyone can do it. Let’s try to prove that wrong.
For the uninitiated, there’s little difference between sales and marketing. This is common for those with little understanding about anything re Marketing. But in reality, Marketing covers everything that leads up to the sale. The focus groups, the surveys, the basic models of marketing, the packages for promotions etc, it’s all theoretical. On the other hand, Sales is the end result. The most underrated quality a Marketing guy should have is communication skills, the skills of talking to customers on a daily basis and understanding their needs, talking about products. This can’t be taught to anyone.
Marketing’s job is to lead the organization towards the segments, or groups of customers, where the company can create profit and compete. It helps the organization to see how it needs to modify its products, the pricing of the products so that it meets the needs of the customers. The job of Marketing is to stay ahead of the changes that are going to happen in the future. If Marketing is only focused on delivering for today, no one will see where the industry is moving or where the organization needs to go next to hunt for customers, which limits growth.
On the other hand, it’s quite unbelievable how people think that selling a product is an easy job. In reality though, it’s a much underrated task. Everyone thinks that to sell a product, you need to know everything about it, and then you just need to pitch its features and attributes. The reality however, is very different.
You must’ve heard about Jordan Belfort? If not, he’s a former stockbroker and motivational speaker. He published a memoir, The Wolf of Wall Street, which was adapted into a film, directed by Martin Scorsese, and released in 2013. In the movie, there’s a sequence in which Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) tests his friends’ understanding of sales by handing them his pen and challenging them by saying, “Sell me this pen.” Most people in this situation would think of different ways to describe this product in an appealing manner so that the customer is impressed by the product. They think they need to pitch its features and attributes. Then there’s a friend of his, Brad, who sees the situation for what it really is. He says, ”Write your name down on that napkin for me” to which Jordan Belfort replies, “I don’t have a pen.” The only thing that Brad is doing there is creating urgency. That is sales. The important lesson to take from this is, everyone doesn’t have that mindset and the communication skills required for selling. You must have the power to create a need in the buyer.
Not that easy, is it?
About the Author:
Rajat Saini: The one thing I realized after 4 years of engineering is that I had to get out of IT to do something I really had an interest in. Thankfully, I made it into IIM Bodh Gaya and it’s been a really good learning experience so far. I’m currently working as an intern at Bharti Airtel.