Pushmi-pullyu: Selling vs. Marketing

Pushmi-pullyuThere’s always been a struggle between selling and marketing. It’s the pushmi-pullyu , rock-paper-scissors, chicken or the egg thing.

Now, with email spam, ads over saturating our senses, and the Web 2.0, it seems selling and marketing are in a World Wrestling Federation death match.

  • Which one is more important, sales or marketing?
  • Which one will produce more qualified prospects, favorable bids, and secured contracts?
  • Which one should you bet the farm on?

There’s not one answer, but a combination. The same was true before YOU were named Time magazine’s Person of the Year .

But instead of trying to sort out how sales and marketing were supposed to work back in the day, I thought it’d be interesting to list a few positives (+) and negatives (-) about their use today.


Selling as a push-strategy:

(+) The only way 1-to-1 personal relationships can be developed
(+) Enables unique info to be collected specific to a single customer
(+) Emotionally influences customers who later justify decisions with logic
(+) The only way to finalize the sale of a facility service contract
(+) Can be the fastest path to secure a contract

(-) Cold calls are an imposition to customers who have no need
(-) Cold calling is inefficient, lot’s of wasted time, effort & money
(-) Sales tactics of poorly trained salespeople damage a contractor’s reputation
(-) Managing salespeople can be as frustrating as herding cats
(-) Can’t easily, quickly, or cost-effectively do all the (+)s of Marketing


Marketing as a pull-strategy:

(+) Can easily reach many customers in a market
(+) Can establish a contractor’s brand and raise customers’ awareness
(+) Can efficiently move customers through buying stages
(+) Can deliver customers who are ready to buy & have a preference for a contractor
(+) Can break through customers’ info overload through permission marketing

(-) Can’t do all the (+)s of Selling
(-) Can be expensive: ads, direct mail, tradeshows, promotions, PR
(-) Can be difficult to tell if it worked
(-) Can take time to motivate customers into action
(-) Brand messages & positioning are often “me-too”, lack uniqueness

This is, of course, not an all-inclusive list. What would you add?
Chris Arlen
President, Service Performance

Technorati: branding, marketing, selling

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