What’s The Difference Between Marketing And Sales?


Aren’t sales and marketing the same thing? The easy answer is no. It’s easy to make that assumption and it’s one most of us have done at some point. This confusion is often due to the fact that both activities often look similar. While the terms are too often used interchangeably, the truth is that marketing and sales are in fact really quite different. They both have unique yet essential functions in a business. The simplest way of thinking about it is like this… marketing is the part that comes before the sale.

Prioritise Your Communications

Try to prioritise your communications, instead of opting for a one-size-fits-all approach when contacting potential customers. There may be some businesses which have experienced a significant upturn in business, whereas another small business may be on the verge of collapse. There is no use sending marketing campaigns focused on assistance for struggling businesses to those who are going through a boom during the pandemic. Instead, segment your market and provide the information these segments need specifically.

Try to break your potential customers into segments, such as business size and industry. This will help you tailor your services to provide the exact support which your clients require. There are so many opportunities to create strong client bonds, however, this begins with providing accurate, timely information. It is important that your firm positions itself as the trusted advisor and go-to resource for businesses.

What Is Marketing?

The purpose of marketing is to show people what your business has to offer. It is the way businesses spark an interest in potential customers. They then use this interest to turn people into leads. Marketing is not simply one action but a culmination of activities as part of an overall strategy. This post by Forbes explains marketing as having four P’s: product, price, place, and promotion.

Going further than this, you could also add planning, packaging, and positioning into that list. In fact, It is all about planning. To explain the above in more detail, the marketing team will decide what products should be made, how much they should cost, where they should be sold, and how they should be promoted. This will often involve a long process of market research before reaching a final decision as to what it is customers want.

Different forms of marketing

There are many different forms of marketing. Some of these include:

  • Content Marketing
  • Social media
  • Print, TV, or digital advertising
  • Email marketing

What Is Sales?

Sales is the final part of the process above and an important one. After all, a company needs to make sales to stay in business. Once a product has been through all of the stages above, it is then ready for sale. It is the job of the sales team to follow up with the leads gathered by the marketing team and then convince a person to buy from your business. You are asking people to part with their money and invest in your company. When salespeople are selling a product, they will use the marketing message put out to help them make a sale.

Different Sales Techniques

Your sales techniques and strategy might include some of the following:

  • Retail selling (i.e. in-store)
  • Cold / warm calling
  • Networking
  • One-on-One sales meetings

What’s The Difference Between The Two Functions?

One of the important things to bear in mind is that marketing isn’t always about selling. A marketing team will often spend a lot of time building up an interest with an audience without pushing for sales. The process of simply getting peoples’ attention can take significant manpower and work. There is also a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to develop a brand image, create a brand design, and putting out marketing content. As a result of this, the marketing team is likely to be measured by how well campaigns work and other metrics as opposed to sales which can be more easily determined in pure numbers.

How Do Sales and Marketing Work Together?

Marketing does the groundwork in getting customers to the point of being ready to buy. The sales team takes it from there. It is important for your sales numbers that you invest in marketing. It is integral in building a relationship of trust with your customers. You want your customers to buy your products because they believe in you and your products. This belief and loyalty come as a result of a strong marketing strategy that is focused on adding value and creating genuine connections. Integrating sales and marketing into one department working together can make good business sense. Seeing as both of these teams are working towards the same outcome, it makes sense that they communicate effectively to form a strategy.

Sales and Marketing: A conclusion

A B2B business needs both a sales and marketing function to be successful. Marketing does not equal sales and sales does not equal marketing. You can’t have one without the other. Marketers do the work in enticing and exciting customers about the product. They get them to the point of making the sale at which point it passed onto the sales department to close. Remove one part of the process and ultimately…you no longer have a sale.

It is therefore important to understand both the difference between sales and marketing and acknowledge the importance of investing in both. You need to treat them as two different limbs in your business and make sure they work with each other. It is useful to revisit your sales and marketing strategies to make sure your teams are aligned and working to the same goal. If not, it’s time to change this and bring the two teams together.

Jack Barron, Director

Jack is passionate about marketing and helping small to medium-sized businesses thrive. As Director of Invoke Media, he is responsible for overseeing the planning and implementation of every campaign, getting stuck into the execution of successful at every opportunity.

Further Reading