Sales & Marketing - What Is The Difference

Upon first reflection, the difference between sales and marketing seems immediately clear. Sales encompasses the persuasive activities designed to convince the prospective customer to exchange their money for goods and/or services. And marketing is … the same? Well not exactly.

Where the sales function is exclusively the selling of goods and services, the marketing function encompasses the activities which lead to awareness and generation of interest among the prospective buyers. The two disciplines should work in combination; with the effectiveness of marketing having a direct bearing on the volume of sales.

The difference between Sales and Marketing is that Marketing owns the message and Sales owns the relationship – John Jantsch

Sales Defined

It is the salesperson’s role to persuade and convince the prospective customer of the need to buy a particular product or service. No matter whether the business offers men’s clothing or domestic cleaning services, this primary sales objective remains the same.

The salesperson may be expected to perform these duties:

It is quite common for sales staff to be set targets relating to the volume of sales over a month, quarter, or year. They may be awarded an increased commission for the achievement of sales over such defined targets.

Marketing Defined

The role of the professional marketeer is relatively wide-ranging and may encompass market research, development of promotional strategies, and creation of content to drive awareness and engagement.

Marketing campaigns may involve the use of the following channels:

  • Business website
  • Social media
  • Email marketing
  • Word of mouth

The expert marketeer is expected to use such channels for the purpose of nurturing relationships with those people who are most likely to buy. It is their job to cast the products and services in the best possible light; making the salesperson’s job that much easier. While it used to be the sales function to educate and persuade; such objectives are now within the scope of the marketeer.

The Key Differences

Differences between the marketing and sales function should be taken into account in the creation of plans for each department. Each plan should set out the business’s history, goals, and initiatives. However, they should then proceed to outline the expectations that staff within each department are expected to fulfil.

The marketing plan should highlight key characteristics of the product or service, including the pricing and expected use of promotional channels. The marketing goals should be clearly defined, together with the budget that applies to different campaigns.

The sales plan should tie in with the marketing plan; including key details such as the team structure and processes that are to be followed for the achievement of sales targets. It should also specify the types of sales tactics and resources that are to be used.

The marketing team may be expected to use such tools as:

  • Conversion rate optimisation
  • Search engine optimisation tools
  • Project management software
  • Content creation platforms

Tools used by the sales team may include:

  • Warm and cold calling
  • Networking
  • Negotiating prices
  • Addressing customer objections

There are also a variety of strategies that may be adopted in order to boost the prospect of successful marketing and sales. Marketing personnel may be expected to use such strategies as a blog and social media marketing in order to build customer relationships and push leads through to the sales stage. The sales team might then adopt proven sales methodologies for the achievement of conversions. Such methodologies will focus on overcoming problems and satisfying needs; making prospective customers more likely to part with their cash.

Essential Integration

The marketing and sales functions should be considered in relation to the customer journey. A consistent approach must be taken; with the customer moving smoothly between each stage for the achievement of sales goals. Personnel within each department will have to communicate for the development and implementation of strategies accounting for the progression from cold customer contact to the closure of sales. The importance of this relationship was highlighted in a Hubspot report revealing that organisations with good alignment achieved 20% revenue growth on average annually; while those with poor alignment saw revenues decline by 4%.

There must be some collaboration between the sales and marketing departments; with a focus on adopted strategies and changes that may be made for improved results. A member of the sales team should be able to make recommendations based on their direct interaction with the customer. Such feedback may have a bearing on the types of marketing channels that are used and product benefits that are emphasised by the marketing team.

Expert Assistance

We really hope that this blog has given you an improved understanding of the difference and interdependence of sales and marketing. However, you may well have concerns and questions about the best means of integrating the sales and marketing functions within your business. Thankfully you can rely on the expert guidance and support of I Want Fish & Chips. Get in touch for recommendations on how best to increase your business presence and drive the sales of your products or services.