Sales and marketing has a poor reputation among the general public. We encounter many salespeople in the course of our lives and not enough of them are excellent at their jobs. We also encounter the products of bad marketers, for example, advertising as interruption and products with no clear value to the user presented. However, this does not mean that sales and marketing are not valid activities to undertake. At their heart, the goals of good sales and marketing are admirable: to ensure that products and services meet a customer need and that potential customers understand how a product or service can meet their need. We only notice bad sales and marketing because it interrupts and annoys us. Good sales and marketing is rarely noticed and appreciated.
Information plays a critical role in good sales and marketing. Sales and marketing professionals do not always acknowledge this. Many are too busy selling or marketing to reflect on the resources that they draw on or the processes in which they engage. Information professionals do not necessarily have a sales or marketing background and so as outsiders may struggle to articulate the roles that they play in these processes.
This article highlights the role that information plays in sales and marketing and provides an overview of three key areas of information for this domain. It explains to information professionals some of the different archetypes that make up the sales and marketing world and the role that information plays in their lives. The final section discusses the role of information technology in sales and marketing – a role that for the last 20 years has been revolutionary.