While marketing and sales are not the same thing, like the two side rails of a ladder, climbing the rungs successfully requires both to be level, balanced, steadfast and sturdy. Marketing and sales need to work seamlessly together, are sometimes accomplished by the same team of professionals and generate one set of feedback from the market. A marketing and sales effort, no matter what the industry, either results in additional sales or it does not. Of course, feedback can be generated on the efficacy of a specific marketing campaign or sales professional, but ultimately the results are what counts.
Combine the need for integration with the extremely tight budgets and resources of most growing investment management firms, and marketing and sales tend to become more intertwined. “We all wear multiple hats” is the normal response of most growing investment managers when asked who is doing what. This response is accurate. However, a distinction should be made when it comes to marketing v. sales activities and the skills required to achieve success. For example, when a portfolio manager (PM) attempts to serve as a sales professional. The PM is critical to the process of course, but is rarely a phenomenal sales professional. The things that make a person good at being a PM can hurt in the sales process. An active marketing and content development role for the PM? Yes. A critical voice in live meetings and conference calls specifically displaying their passion for their investment management philosophy and process? Absolutely. Leading the sales effort while trying to run the money? No. Even if a portfolio manager’s sales skills are unusually fantastic, this is not where their time should be spent. These distinctions are critical for firms to understand and to fully vet in regard to resource management.