Is Everyone in Sales or Marketing?

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Is Everyone in Sales or Marketing?

I remember many times when people in large companies would say, “everyone is in sales.” I agreed with that statement in the offline world. Everywhere you went, everything you did could be viewed as an opportunity to recognize potential sales. I never believed you could source “sales” to only the people who had that title – it takes a whole company to sell, because how you treat your existing customers, sets you up for the next sale.

You can either be setup to fail or setup for it to be brilliantly easy. I’ve worked in companies where the treatment of the existing customer leads to what would be the equivalent of a half court shot in basketball (very hard and unlikely to happen). And I’ve worked at companies where the treatment of current customers leads to a glowing referral and the next customer shows up (as easy as a layup).

In the online world, I think a more apt statement is, “everyone is in marketing”. Everything you do online isn’t sales, its marketing and you can’t source it to just the people who have marketing titles. Your brand is no longer under your tight control – its in the hands of your customers and your employees.

Going online is more than e-commerce, its about content and engagement as well. Your customers are online, your whole company needs to be in a marketing role.


  1. Gina Danner on March 22, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Marketing and Sales has never had to be more closely aligned than it needs to be today. The cheese got moved and marketers and sales professionals are still struggling.

    We use to silo these two functions, but today they must start at the top with one key person who gets both worlds.

    As far as the whole company being focused on Marketing (and/or Sales) that’s a given, but the mission and focus of the company must be communicated clearly and engagingly to the team. More careful attention to culture and team hiring is critical to deliver the singular message of engagement.

  2. Jennifer Matt on March 22, 2013 at 9:35 am

    I love that you not only aligned the functions but brought them under the same leadership. My point about the online world is that getting customers is more about “attraction” rather than brute force interruption (cold calls, blind direct mail lists, advertising). Marketing online is everyone’s job because the brand is in the hands of individuals (customers, employees). Stewardship is needed but the days of ultimate control of all brand messages is over.


  3. Katherine on March 25, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I’ve had this discussion at work before. Since I’m a copywriter and social media manager, I’ve been told that I have a sales job. I appreciate your making the distinction between sales and marketing because I certainly don’t consider myself a saleswoman. My work impacts our bottom line, naturally, but sales stats don’t take into account overall buzz around a brand. Thanks for the post!

  4. Chris Lau on May 8, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Jennifer – good points. I think the Internet and search engines have evolved so much that the online presence of a company is always about marketing for the business owners. I still think sales and marketing are closely tied together even in the Internet world. For non-business owners, they are “selling” their thoughts and ideas so in essence, it’s sales.

    Good read! Thanks.

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