How Sales and Marketing Are Different – Understanding Their Differences

difference between sales and marketing

Today, almost every business has some form of a sales and marketing department. The challenge, however, is discerning how these two areas are different and what type of support your business needs to succeed. Even though both teams may work in different offices with different departments, there are similarities between sales and marketing. After all, both roles can help your business grow. However, before you hire anyone from either department or build an internal team from scratch, it’s important to understand the differences between sales and marketing so you can better position your business for success. 

What is Sales?

Sales is the art of convincing customers to purchase your product or service. This is often achieved through an in-person meeting with a sales representative, though it can also occur over the phone or by email. The ultimate goal is to close the deal, meaning the customer needs to agree to purchase the product and sign a binding contract. During a sales call, the sales rep’s goal is to understand the customer’s needs and then find a solution that benefits both parties. A good sales rep should be able to identify your problems and then propose a solution that makes your life easier.

What is Marketing?

Marketing is all about getting your product or service in front of the right people. This could be through online ads, TV commercials, or a combination of several different strategies. There are many types of marketing campaigns, including lead generation, branding, networking, and sales funnels. Each has a specific goal and expected outcome in order for your business to generate sales and increase revenue. Marketing teams also often have a lot of autonomy and don’t necessarily report to the sales team. This doesn’t mean that marketing is completely independent, however. There is some collaboration between the two areas, and they both work together to help the company achieve its goals.

The difference between sales and marketing

Although sales and marketing are both important, they focus on different aspects of the business.

The main areas in which sales and marketing differ are in the following: –

Targets

While marketing teams primarily focus on increasing brand awareness and bringing in new leads, sales teams are focused on closing deals.

Approach

Sales teams are generally more aggressive and goal-focused, while marketing teams usually work towards a specific long-term strategy. –

Tools

While the tools used by marketing teams may help close deals, they’re not designed for that specific outcome.

Success Metrics

Success metrics for sales teams (such as revenue generated) aren’t always the same for marketing teams (such as social media impressions).

The difference between sales and marketing

Core Differences between Sales and Marketing

Focus

As we mentioned earlier, sales focuses on closing deals and usually happens at the beginning of the customer journey. Marketing focuses on branding, generating leads, and increasing awareness of your product or service.

Time Frame

While each sale takes time, often weeks or months, the marketing process is a bit longer. It can take months to come up with a strategy, research new trends, and then execute.

Repetition

While a single sale may be enough to earn you a profit, marketing requires consistent effort. To truly succeed, you’ll need to consistently communicate your brand’s message, products, and services over time.

Money

While sales teams can be measured by revenue, marketing teams are often measured by impressions and brand awareness.

When Does Sales Need Help from Marketing?

There are a few scenarios in which it makes sense for sales to ask for help from marketing. You might want to ask your marketing team to help with the following: –

Generating Leads

If you’re consistently bringing in sales but not enough leads, consider reaching out to your marketing team for help. If your marketing team already has a dedicated lead generation campaign, ask them to modify their strategy to include your product or service. –

Increasing Brand Awareness

If you’ve already been able to generate leads but haven’t been able to close enough deals, reach out to your marketing team. They may be able to help you rebrand and refocus your message so that you can close more deals.

Improving Distribution

If you’re bringing in enough leads, but they aren’t in the right places, it may be time to ask your marketing team to help you distribute them more effectively.

When Does Marketing Need Help from Sales?

There are also a few scenarios in which marketing may need help from sales. If you’re working in marketing, you may want to ask sales to help with the following: –

Upselling

If you’re having trouble encouraging customers to purchase the highest-tier product or service, sales may be able to help. This is especially true if you’re in a B2B environment, where upselling is common.

Cross-Selling

You may also want to ask sales for help if you want to cross-sell your customers. This means providing additional products or services that complement your main product. –

Improving Closing Rate

If you’re having trouble closing deals, sales may be able to help you understand why. They may be able to make suggestions for improvement, and they may also have access to data that you don’t.

To conclude

Both sales and marketing are important parts of any business. While sales focuses on closing deals and generating revenue, marketing focuses on branding, lead generation, and increasing awareness of your product or service. Sales and marketing teams may have overlapping responsibilities, and there may be times when one team needs help from the other. In these scenarios, it’s important to remember that sales and marketing serve different functions. When one team needs help from the other, make sure to choose the right people for the job. For example, if you need assistance with upselling, you may want to reach out to your account manager instead of your marketing manager.

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