You’ve probably noticed the words “marketing” and “sales” thrown around a lot in the business world. Some people even use the terms interchangeably.
While you most likely have a general handle on what each entails, the finer points can easily get muddled. For example: what is the difference between marketing and sales? Is there any difference at all? Does it even matter?
Though many people may struggle to recognize the distinction, there is, in fact, a difference between marketing and sales. This difference is important because it highlights the central purpose of each, and stresses that both are vital aspects of a healthy, thriving side hustle.
What is Marketing and What Does it Do?
Let’s start with marketing. At its most basic, marketing is the process of creating brand awareness. Marketing can run the gamut from social media to television commercials, to flyers and cold-calling.
The purpose of marketing is to draw in potential customers and create interest in your brand. The more potential customers you can bring in, the better! These are the people with whom you will eventually try to close a sale … because isn’t that the point of your side hustle? This is why having a strong marketing plan in place is so incredibly important to your success as an entrepreneur and side hustler.
How is Sales Different From Marketing and Why is it Important?
While marketing focuses on bringing people into your sales funnel, sales is more about … well … selling things. Sales is different from marketing, not only because its purpose is different, but also because it is more interpersonal. Most sales are done face-to-face (whether physically or virtually) and are about communicating with your potential customer. Marketing, on the other hand, can be much less personal (think internet ads or blog posts).
The sales aspect of a side hustle is important because it is where your deals will be closed. You can bring people through your funnel and into your pipeline, but if you never make a sale, then what was the point?
How to Maximize Your Profits
Armed with this knowledge, you will be better prepared to maximize your profits and increase your overall earnings. It can be easy to fall into the trap of obsessing over new marketing strategies and then wonder why you haven’t made a single sale … but savvy marketers know that the work doesn’t end once you’ve brought people into your pipeline. Inciting interest in a product or service and actually closing a sale are two very different things.
The Sales Funnel
The first step towards business success is mastering the sales funnel. A sales funnel is a marketing term that refers to the journey a potential customer travels on their way to making a purchase. For example, a potential customer may click your ad on social media and be redirected to your website. After this, they may read some articles you have on your site, and eventually sign up for your newsletter. At this point, they have expressed interest in what you have to offer, and have entered your pipeline.
The 4 Types of People In Your Pipeline
There are four types of people that you will find in your pipeline. You will need to know who these people are and how to identify them so that you can determine how you will interact with them during your sales process.
1. The Ideal Customer
The first type of person you will find in your pipeline is your “Ideal Customer.” This person is someone who both wants and needs what you have to offer. “The Ideal Customer” is also someone who can afford your product or service. Most importantly, your ideal customer is someone whos needs for your product/service are urgent. They know they want it, and they feel compelled to take action soon.
2. The One You’ll Need to Woo
The second type of person you will encounter is very similar to your ideal customer, with one major difference: They have no immediate need for what you have to offer. This person is interested in your product/service and would even benefit from making a purchase. They will need to be convinced, however, that your product/service is something they can’t live without.
3. The Merely Curious
Take caution: This third type of person is the kind you will want to identify and clear out of your pipeline as quickly (and elegantly) as possible. “The Merely Curious” is the window shopper … the one who wants what you have to offer, but simply cannot afford it. This person will often masquerade as either of the types above, taking up a lot of your precious time in the process. The problem in this situation is that most window shoppers will never actually make a purchase — and most sellers are unable to identify that they are doing nothing more than window shopping. It is crucially important then, that you are able to suss out who will be a waste of your time (for lack of a politer way to put it) before your time is wasted.
4. The Mistake
Mistakes are easy to identify and even easier to deal with. These are the people who click over to your website accidentally or are drug into your store by a friend. They don’t want to be there and usually won’t stick around. No further action should be needed.
Focusing on Your Potential Customers
Knowing the types of people that your funnel will pull in is important because you need to spend the majority of your time interacting with those who have the most potential of becoming future customers. It is not uncommon for an inexperienced side hustler to spend precious hours and resources trying to sell to everyone who comes through their sales funnel. Don’t let this be you.
It may sound cliche, but time is money. Your time is the most precious resource you have, and like fossil fuel, it is non-renewable. This means that you will need to be able to prioritize your actions (and interactions).
Knowing the difference between marketing and sales is more than just semantics. An understanding of how each process functions is essential to being able to execute a successful side hustle strategy. By using marketing strategies to create a sales funnel, you will be able to pull in potential customers. Later, by knowing the types of people your funnel will draw in, you will be able to focus your sales efforts on those buyers who are truly interested in what you have to offer. When working in tandem, both sales and marketing strategies can take your side hustle to the next level and maximize your profits.