Sales vs. Marketing: What’s the Difference and Why it Matters

Often in business, terms are interchanged for each other: brand vs. product, objectives vs. goals, and many more. This is a dangerous pattern because mixing up the essence of each of these terms could send your company down the wrong path.

One of the most frequently mixed up terms is sales and marketing. While their goals are very similar, bringing customers into the company, their strategy and objectives are very different. So let’s break down each component and how sales and marketing differ in each.

Objectives

When strategizing, the first thing that you must determine is your objective, or what measurable outcome do you want to come out of your efforts. In this aspect, there must be some synergy between sales and marketing.

Starting with marketing, your broad objective should be to raise awareness of your brand or products. Specifically, marketing should generate leads, find new potential customers, and engage current customers by notifying them of new products or features.

Simply put, marketing is meant to bring people into a funnel that’ll end with them transacting with your company.

This is where the objectives between the two diverge. While marketing is bringing leads into the business, your sales team should be converting them to revenue.

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Strategy

Generally, a B2B business will rely more on sales and a B2C business on marketing.

Marketing relies more on mass media channels such as social media, television, etc. For example, advertising falls under the umbrella of marketing. This is why one of the most important aspects of marketing is determining who to target. If you are bringing only quality customers that are likely to buy what you are selling into the funnel, then it makes the job of the sales team that much easier.

Some marketing tactics include:

  • Advertising
  • Social Media
  • Public Relations
  • Direct Mail

Marketing’s job is to give potential customers a point of entry into the company. This could be them following you on a social network or signing up for a mailing list. You are the introduction.

Sales relies on a more personal connection between your company and the customer. Whether this is through calls or emails, the key to sales is a personal touch. If marketing’s job is to make potential customers aware of your business, then sales’ is to make them trust you. While marketing brings them in, sales has to make them commit.

Some sales tactics include:

  • Cold Calls
  • One-on-One meetings
  • Networking

Why you need both

One of the main reasons you need to know the difference between marketing and sales is because you need both. Neither can function without the other. Marketing is not sales and sales is not marketing. You can’t sell the product if the public isn’t aware of it and marketing is a waste if there is no way to clamp down a sale.

A company needs to separate the two because of the distinctions we discussed here. Using the same team for both marketing and sales can confuse their objectives and ultimately make you lose leads and sales. Understanding the distinction is integral for the success of any business.


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  • http://www.sterlingwear.com Jack Foster

    Karl, thank you for sharing this perspective. Where I do agree with everything you said that differentiates sales and marketing, I do have one little difference of opinion or tweak if you will. You stated that the two entities should be separate in a corporate structure. Where I certainly can understand and agree that each of those job tasks require certain skill sets and may have different goals, I do think they can be overseen by someone who has the insight, expertise, experience and wisdom to manage both sides of that equation by providing a sounding board and direction to keep both parties moving in the right direction for the overall benefit of the company. Thanks again for sharing.
    Jack Foster
    Sterlingwear of Boston