Marketing vs Sales


There is a fine line between Marketing and Sales.  So fine, in fact, that many small businesses combine the two functions.  I believe that it is important to keep the Marketing and Sales separate for a healthy company to thrive. Why is that?


To start with, what is the difference between marketing and sales?  Marketing provides the tools to build reputation, credibility and visibility. Without marketing, would you have prospects or leads to follow up with?  Sales is the strategy of meeting needs in an opportunistic, individual method, driven by human interaction.  It’s simply the ability to meet a need at the right time.  I call this the art of closing the deal.  Without  good sales techniques and strategies, your closing rate may depress you. Marketing and sales should work simultaneously, but in most companies they are the same department and work too closely together, or in entirely different departments that don’t even speak to each other.  It is important to find balance.

If we break sales and marketing down to their essences, marketing is everything that you do to reach, persuade, and engage with prospects, while the sales process is everything that you do to close the sale and get a signed agreement or contract. Both are equally important to the success and growth of a business.  If you work to strategically combine both efforts you will experience success and business growth.


Marketing should consist of strategies that can measure your reach and credibility.  The objective of marketing is to persuade your prospective clients that you are the company for them.  The marketing message prepares the prospect for the sale, but does not directly sell to them. A well-built marketing strategy could consist of advertising, public relations, social media, networking, brand awareness, and direct mail, to name a few.


Sales consists of the processes of interpersonal interaction.  They are conducted one-on-one through meetings, cold calls, and introductions.  The objective of sales is to engage with the prospect or customer on a personal level rather than at a distance.  Your sales prospects are often driven to you though a variety of your marketing efforts.


Your marketing strategy begins the process of the five to fifteen contacts or touch points that studies have shown it takes to move a potential client to the close of the sale.  If marketing is done effectively and efficiently, you can begin to move that prospect from the status of a cold lead to a warm lead, normally three to five contact points.  When the prospect hits the “warm” lead category, it is much easier for the sales department to close the sale.


In the end, it is essential to know that a marketing strategy without a good sales strategy will produce nothing.  Conversely, if you have a sales strategy without solid marketing strategy, you can be in business and sometimes even be growing, but the energy and effort to produce results will be enormous and sometimes costly.


If you balance your marketing and sales strategies, you will have a winning model that will help your revenues soar with the  most efficient use of your sales force.