Aliff Mazli on Sales & Marketing

The Blurry Line Between Sales & Marketing

Malaysian digital marketing expert’s opinion: “Marketer” or “Salesman”, does it really matter?

Business can’t grow without marketing. It has been a well-known fact, that even intellectuals like Nassim Nicholas Taleb accept it. In his book “Fooled by Randomness”, Nassim Taleb pointed out that while marketing is everything, most people don’t even know how to sell themselves. So, only with a proper marketing strategy one can sustain and scale their business. Nowadays, digital marketing has been the main topic of conversation among brands and agencies, and never-ending debates have been going on between traditional and technological marketers on which one is better.

To make things even worse, instead of focusing on getting customers, there are marketers and salesmen out there who are too busy to try and define their own scope of work. Why does this happen? It’s pretty simple: marketers consider themselves cooler as their work is more on “marketing” and strategizing, while salespersons have to approach the potential customers and get them to convert. Which such a confusion, we seek for the opinion of a digital marketing expert based in Kuala Lumpur, Aliff Mazli, on sales and marketing.

Aliff Mazli Digital Marketing Consultant Malaysia
Aliff Mazli

Sales & marketing: where’s the line?

Most people might get confused between sales and marketing. “Where do you draw the line?”, most people ask. Through time, many experts tried to define the line and most of the time, it is separated by portions on the sales funnel. Previously, marketers have to create awareness, and the salespersons will generate lead and close sales. Now, it has been very much different, as marketers tend to be the one creating awareness, generating sales┬álead, pitching the client; and the salespersons (or in the professional world, they are often called “Business Development Managers”) will come in on the very last step to close the deal. In general, this is how most people separate the line. But to Aliff, it is such a wrong thing to do as their functions are basically overlapping.

Digital Marketing Consultant Malaysia

Why are people so desperate to draw the line?

Based on Aliff’s observation, the society in Malaysia is desperate to draw the line simply because of the misconception. Previously, salespersons are known to be people who do direct-selling, knocking one house door to another in order to get people to buy their product. Since this method is actually a hard-selling method, the sales profession had lost its elegance to those who do not really know how to properly showcase their product by using the simple method of feature (what the product is about), benefit (how it can help the customer) & tie-down (gaining confirmation of purchase properly).

With all the false stereotype (perhaps those people haven’t heard of great salesmen like Grant Cardone), marketers begin to draw the line and put themselves in a separate category. To them, their line of work is somewhat more professional compared to doing sales. Little did they understand that sales are what generates income for the business.

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What to do now?

Aliff urges us not to waste our time and worry about this. In business, we’re not supposed to be like grammarians who love grammar for the sake of it. Instead, we should be quants – meaning those who employ grammar to only make sure that our communication is delivered properly. Well, grammar Nazis will certain hate you, Aliff!┬áTo him, we should be focusing on the result and not waste your precious time to comment on the client’s poor grammatical performance, such as using “your” instead or “you’re”.

The main point that Aliff wishes to put forward is that sales and marketing work in a symbiotic manner and needs each other. Most of the time, one party might encroach on the other’s side. While it may cause some confusion, in reality, it does not really matter. Therefore, as long as you are making money, just go ahead with it do not worry whether you’re considered as a salesman or a marketer. Ironically, years ago, even Aliff himself used to work as a Sales Marketing Executive in a company where there are 2 separate divisions that do Sales and Marketing.

For all he cares, Aliff is a salesman that does marketing.