How to Know the Differences Between Sales vs Marketing

sales vs marketing

These days, many small business owners are not aware of the differences in marketing vs. sales. Most business owners understand sales, of course, but marketing carries a bit of mystique for them, and branding can be even more obscure to entrepreneurs.

Difference between Sales and Marketing

There is a constant tension between marketing vs. sales departments in larger companies due to largely varying workplace goals. Each has a different agenda and target, which smaller enterprises tend to merge…

The Two Can Be Intertwined

However, they are so intimately entangled with each other that people oftentimes don’t recognize the difference between the two concepts. Unquestionably, in small businesses, the same person typically performs both marketing and sales responsibilities.

Nonetheless, sales are different from marketing, and as a business expands, the roles and tasks become even more specified. Practically speaking, they need to co-exist, but the people involved often have a love-hate relationship.

The Only Thing In Common between the two is to increase the revenue of the company.

The activities carried out by both departments are directed at boosting revenue for the business.   Marketing is concerned with creating an experience, trustworthiness, relationship-building, and commitment before, during, and after a sale is settled. Marketing is the journey you take towards achieving your sales goals.

Given that the tasks and goals are so diverse, it’s sometimes odd to think that the term ‘sales and marketing’ are globally adopted as though they’re the same. This is particularly true in smaller businesses; although there will constantly be a component of crossover between the two, they are essentially different.

And, while the phrase; “sales and marketing” roll more smoothly off the tongue than “marketing and sales,” the latter is more fitting because that’s the sequence in which it occurs; sales typically come after the marketing has long been in play.

seo marketing priority

Specific Differences Between Marketing vs. Sales

Sales and marketing are distinct disciplines with diverse mandates, with some overlap and grey areas that do not resolve where one stops and the other one starts. Often mixed, small businesses need to know the difference between these business pursuits in order to produce results. Although both hold a mutual goal; to draw potential clients as well as convert them into customers, eventually generating income, they are essentially different functional roles.

While marketing notifies and pulls contacts and potential clients to your business, a sales pitch works directly with prospects to strengthen the value of the business’s solution to turn prospects into paying customers.

Here are some notable differences in marketing vs. sales functions:




Definition Marketing is creating awareness concerning a brand, product, or service, which consumers may not be conscious of, by emphasizing the problems and the value it provides.

It includes implementing a skillful, predetermined set of actions designed to create awareness that engages potential buyers and encourages them to buy, i.e., leading to sales.

In the simplest terms, Marketing generates inquiries from prospects.

A sale is a transaction between two parties whereby in exchange for cash, products or services are transferred from the seller to the buyer.

Sales are dependent upon the effectiveness of marketing. Without marketing, sales will not have a prospect to sell to

Technique Discover the impending needs of target prospects and construct a varied strategy, usually across multiple advertising platforms.

Cultivate brand awareness, trust, and credibility in prospects’ minds to meet their needs to build long-term interest that will support future sales.

Through relationship building, determine the specific “pain points” of the prospect. Then offer services and products that will eliminate that pain…
Perspective A broad outlook in terms of the company’s unique selling proposition, supply, and pricing to meet the continuing and varying needs of prospects. A narrow view in terms of supply and demand:

Is it possible to meet the demand?

If so, how many sales can we make?

Process Study to determine the market’s scope, competition, supply opportunities, price facts, and budget requirements.

Decide on advertising and marketing platforms.

Launch viable campaigns.

Typically, it involves personal interaction in person, over the phone, or via screen share sessions.
Opportunity Multi-channel coverage of goods and services. You need to put processes in place to ensure customer’s needs are met to satisfy them and provide ongoing support. When the different customers’ needs are recognized, match the goods or services to fulfill those needs and secure the sale.
Vision Long term:


Returning consumers,



Short term: purchase it now.
 Focus    Market Needs Prospect and Company Needs
Methodology Inbound and/or outbound advertising:

Demonstrate commitment, credibility, social proof, link building, and desire-satisfying.


The goods or service satisfies your needs; therefore, you should order for it now.

Learning Marketing validates the extensiveness of the customer base and how to build connections. The response received from sales is vital to marketing as it feeds into a constantly changing strategic development… Sales do not occur mystically; it is the outcome of an effective marketing effort, combined with an effective sales process.
Orientation  Consumer-oriented  Prospect and Brand-oriented

Thus marketing vs. sales is objectified separately.

Sales are simply the process of selling the products to prospects at a specific price in a given period. In this, there is a shift of ownership of a good/service from one individual to the next for a value…

Contrarily, marketing is the act of studying the market and recognizing the consumers’ needs in a particular manner.  Once a new product is launched, it is appealing enough to create prospect inquires. At best, it “sells itself.” Simply put, it is the process of forming a ready market for the goods and services before the sales team takes over.

Sales are Fragmented, whereas Marketing is Integrated.

Sales take a fragmented approach, which emphasizes selling everything produced. On the other hand, marketing has an integrated approach that emphasizes in discovering the customer demands and providing them with the goods of their need.

Marketing projects can commence before a product even exists. It can extend to as far as identifying the demand for a product or service and the range of the market opportunity before the product is manufactured or acquired since it is concerned with creating awareness and openings for an existing product or service.

On the other hand, sales can’t happen until the product actually exists (except for pre-orders taken for a future launch) and a client is set to buy it.

sales vs marketing

 Marketing vs. Sales

To build a cohesive connection between marketing and sales, we need to comprehend each unit’s nuclear components.

Let’s take a look at the steps involved to achieve this:

1.   Mode

Whether you’re composing a marketing or sales plan, you’ll have to incorporate details of the company’s history as well as its overarching intentions and actions. The plans can then jump into the features for each operation.

  • The marketing plan sets out the goods, service, or brand, its cost, which it will be marketed to, and wherever it’ll be traded. This is essentially referred to as the 4Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion. Here, goals are established, marketing techniques are determined, and funds are made available for the marketing campaigns.
  • Sales plans incorporate details of the sales strategy, target market, team structure, and goals. Besides, the sales plan defines the action plan, resources, and tools that will be employed to hit these targets.

Therefore marketing vs. sales mode can be simplified as targeting vs. action taken.

2.   Goal

Both sales and marketing work towards a common goal. They focus primarily on generating income for the business/company/organization, with one preparing the market for the other.

  • The principal goal of marketing is to generate leads. It explains how the product satisfies customers‘ unending needs and wants. Also, the goals are usually long-term since campaigns can span for many months and because marketing does not end once a prospect becomes a customer.
  • Concerning sales, the goal is to hit shares and target volume goals; these tend to be short-term. Sales goals are usually measured monthly. Targets are set, and the sales department estimates how much their department, crews, and individual salespersons require to sell to reach the overarching goals.

3.   Marketing vs. Sales: Tools and Resources

A customer relationship management (CRM) database is a tool that can be utilized by sales, marketing, and the firm as a whole. This database helps all departments handle connections with their contacts, no matter the stage of the customer’s life cycle.

Social media can further be leveraged by both business functions; for marketing, it can be employed to advance content. For sales, it can be utilized as a part of a social selling strategy.

Collaboration with top influencers is another resource that a business can maximize.  Collaborating with influencers can boost a business’s marketing and sales efforts. When they promote your brand or business it will surely expand its reaction and help wing customers as these influencers have large and dedicated followers.

Besides that, some tools are unique to each department.

marketing the stories you tell vs salesMarketing Tools include Websites, Landing Pages, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tools, Data Reporting software, Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), Content Creation and editing tools, Email Newsletter Auto-responder tools, Image Creation tools, and more. Of course, that doesn’t include everyday tools such as email, phone, and now, zoom screen share tools. We use some marketing tools with our clients. This helps us measure their ROI on their marketing results to do more of what works and eliminate what does not.

Sales Tools: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, Invoicing software, Meetings app, Email management tool, Documents tool, Inventory, and order management software.

The introduction of resources to a marketing or sales approach is especially reliant on new technology. For instance, Artificial Intelligence, AI, and live chat are the latest tools that marketing and sales teams can adopt to expand contacts with leads. This kind of personalized interaction was impossible until lately, and companies can embrace the latest software and technology as it’s designed.

4.   Marketing vs. Sales Strategies

Depending on the types of campaigns and clients they’re targeting, marketing teams can consider different strategic approaches, whereas sales teams must follow the predefined marketing order.

Sales vs digital marketing

Marketing Strategies

Prevalent digital marketing strategies encompass Inbound and Outbound Marketing Strategies. Inbound marketing, also known as “pull marketing,” is placing your marketing collateral in the path of prospects who are searching for your products and services. Outbound marketing, sometimes referred to as “push marketing,” is sending out your information to the masses on social media and other internet platforms in a similar way as sending out flyers or postcards through the postal mail system.

Digital marketing can include Internet marketing, Blog Marketing, Content Marketing, Video marketing, Print marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Social media marketing, Local Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Social Proof, Strategic Partnering, Webinars, and other Digital Marketing approaches.

Then, of course, we still have traditional marketing forms such as billboards, wrapped vehicles, television, radio, etc.

Guerilla Marketing Strategies

Another notable marketing approach for small business owners is Guerilla Marketing. This is the deployment of no-cost or low-cost marketing strategies that get real results. There is a cost/investment with Guerilla Marketing: the business owner’s time in implementing these strategies. However, the return on investment can be really strong.

Small, nimble businesses can run circles around large businesses with these approaches! I personally use Guerilla Marketing (along with some paid marketing) strategies for my own as well as with my clients’ businesses.  Business owners with some training can perform many of the digital marketing strategies detailed above; therefore, I strive to make them experts in the field.

Sales Strategies

Just like marketing strategies, sales techniques can differ depending on their company, products, market, and prospects. Some of the most common sales methodologies include; SPIN Selling, MEDDIC, N.E.A.T. Selling, The Challenger Sale, CustomerCentric Selling, Conceptual Selling, The Sandler System, Dale Carnegie, SNAP Selling, and more.

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These sales strategies help a buyer resolve a problem, accomplish a goal, or meet a need. And a percentage of these efforts of the sales team’s selling strategy will result in sales to existing clients and draw in new buyers.

Sales and marketing have frequently experienced some kind of sibling rivalry. Still, if a company is to thrive, we must clearly comprehend how marketing vs. sales can function efficiently in unison.

The future: A Blended Approach of marketing vs. sales.

As mentioned before, for a long time, there has been a fruitless turf conflict between the sales and marketing arms of many businesses, both big and small.  Too many people have been misled into accepting that ‘sales’ lives under marketing’s directive stating that selling is, in fact, marketing, which is wildly incorrect.

Another difference between marketing vs. sales rests on how close you are to converting a prospect into a customer. However, as the business world continued to evolve over the years, it became even harder to differentiate between marketing vs. sales.

Yet, smart businesses must adjust their teams accordingly, with aligned experts who understand the changing concept of modern business functions.

The balance of sales and marketing requires a broad strategy that guides prospects toward converting to customers.

If your marketing and sales teams are in separate units, those units must communicate with each other for maximum productivity. You must ensure that they work together to devise a comprehensive approach for reaching prospects from all kinds of leads.

Marketing vs. Sales Alignment

By aligning the marketing and sales departments, we can get rid of this so-called marketing vs. sales story-line and build a partnership between the two.

The SLA (service-level agreement) is an approach that builds a set of deliverables that one party has consented to grant another. This is one of the top techniques for marketing and sales to form a partnership.

Under the SLA, both units will establish their shared goals, identify the customer personas or typical client profile, and systematize lead definitions. It will further set the order for lead management and sketch how sales and marketing accomplishments will be measured.

If marketing vs. sales is aligned, the company is poised to pull and qualify more contacts, thus generating more revenue.


We have only scratched the surface of marketing vs. sales approaches. But I trust that you now have more clarity if you did not have a clear understanding when you started reading. Suppose you have any questions feel free to contact me with no strings attached. I have the best job in the world, serving a group of amazing, successful business owners!small business coach

Inbound Marketing : Is Your Business Missing the Boat?

Inbound Marketing

Let’s talk inbound marketing. It amazes me that many business owners are not harnessing the power of inbound marketing to generate sales and leads for their business. Inbound Marketing is marketing focusing on getting found by potential customers who are already looking for your service or product. Unlike most other forms of advertising it is most often not an interruption to what you are doing.

Inbound Marketing : Is Your Business Missing the Boat?

Inbound MarketingIncorporating Inbound Marketing is not as difficult as you might think! Here are a couple key components:

Blogs – There are many benefits to blogging. One of the primary benefits is that you are able to establish yourself as an expert in your field by sharing your knowledge through your blog.
Blogging can give you a real advantage over your competitors.

Let’s say my wife is looking for a new hair stylist. She would start her search online either via Facebook or Google. She may ask her friends on Facebook who they use or just search something like “Salon Greenville.” Out of the websites that she is referred to either by her Facebook friends or Google, if there is one that has a blog they will have a decided advantage. Why you ask? The hair stylist blog will consists of hair care and styling tips (Expertise) and depicts the personality of the stylist. We do business with people we know, like, and trust. The blog gives you the ability to build that relationship with your prospects and clients. Another advantage of the blog is that search engines love blogs. It adds more content (Keywords, Headlines, Links, etc) and search engine spiders will crawl your site more often if it is updated frequently.

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Advanced Tip Alert! – Add a call to action to your blog posts. Carrying over from the example I just used, let’s say Sally, the hair stylist, did a blog about how to care for color treated hair (not sure of the terminology hair pros use but I think that is right) and at the end of the post mentioned that thru the end of the month they are running a special on a special shampoo used on colored hair with a link to buy it form her online store. Cha- Ching!

Social Media – As I pointed out earlier, Facebook often acts as a referral source for many businesses. We trust the advice of our friends when seeking out products and services. So if my wife is referred to a stylist by one of her Facebook friends, she will be inclined (since she is already there) to see if they have a Facebook page. It would blow her mind if when she searched for the particular stylist and not only did they have a Facebook page, but today they where offering a free bottle of her favorite hair care product with the purchase of a cut and color. Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner! She would be out the door and on the way to the stylist at light speed.

These are a couple of the elements of inbound marketing that can be effective for your business. I think you can see how search engine optimization and a professionally designed and optimized website would also aid in your quest to grow your leads and sales. There are numerous other elements and strategies that are employed with inbound marketing including video, landing pages, and email marketing. If you need assistance with your inbound marketing reach out to one of our heroes. We would love to talk with you and discuss how we can help you grow your customer base.

Doug Greathouse is the creative mind behind SuperHero Marketing, a web design and internet marketing firm that specializes in working with small businesses and optimizing their websites as marketing tools. Doug believes each small business owner deserves to have the same high level service and options as the big guys, and is able to optimize websites to generate leads, traffic and growth to your small business. 

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