Digital Marketing

Explaining the Difference Between Sales and Marketing

Everyone would love to know the real differences between sales and marketing. They would love to because a lot of professionals out there have mixed both sales and marketing, and even shoved the former under the umbrella of the latter. Any educational institution of higher learning would easily differentiate between the two.

Let’s understand some simple facts. Marketing informs and attracts both leads and prospects to the company along with the product or service (or both). On the other end, sales works directly with prospective customers for the purpose of reinforcing the value of the solution offered. This helps in converting prospective customers into worthwhile leads.

It does sound simple, but it is in reality a bit complex. There has been a longstanding and complex rivalry between the two, as a marketing vs sales rivalry. The latter often fell behind the former.

Both business functions are different. Yet they share a common objective; i.e. to attract prospective customers and convert them to real time and loyal customers, which hence helps in generating a handsome revenue ultimately.

Research reports indicate that companies having a service level agreement (SLA) in place between sales and marketing divisions are almost three times as likely to be more effective than competing firms. Yet, only 26% of them have a formal SLA working.

Yet, what do these business units do? Can they work together? (and if so, how can they do that?) It is time that we unveil the difference between sales and marketing, and see how both can be aligned to help organizations achieve their goals.

The difference between sales and marketing – understanding it on a holistic level briefly

Sales and Marketing are basically two business functions within any organization. They impact both lead generation and revenue for any firm, whether it is industrial or technology based by nature. 

Sales pertains to all those activities leading to goods and services getting sold. Sales teams must also manage relationships and terms with both potential and existing clientele. They also provide a solution to potential and existing customers which eventually turns into a worthwhile sale.

Marketing is the process of making people become interested in purchasing the goods and services that are being promoted, and sold. The field also encompasses all those activities which help spark consumer interest in any business, brand & organization alike. Marketers utilize marketing research and analysis to understand interests, preferences and tastes of potential and existing customers.

difference between sales and marketing

Marketing functions and departments are responsible for executing campaigns to help businesses/brands/companies alike attract people towards them. They also must carry out efforts to make sure they have a positive image in the market.

There are some differences between both marketing and sales. Marketing focuses its efforts on larger audiences whereas sales targets smaller groups of people, or in other words subsets of the target market.

Yet, in what other ways do both differ from each other i.e what is the real difference between sales and marketing? Let us now find out.

Marketing vs Sales – reading more about them both

To make a cohesive relationship between these two, Let us now understand the core elements of both departments.


Whether professionals are writing a sales or marketing plan, both of them will include details about the company’s history and the goals goals & initiatives it wishes to undertake, and achieve. These plans dive into the aspects of the strategy that is specific for each department.

The marketing plan helps lay out information about the product, its price, to whom it will be sold and where it will be sold. Same goes for services in the plan. This is also known as the 4 Ps of marketing namely product, price, place and promotion.

Objectives in this regard are set, marketing channels are selected, and a budget is allocated for campaigns the marketing team plans to pursue.

Sales plans include details about the whole sales process, the team structure, the target market/audience, and objectives. Moreover, it outlines the action plan, tools, and resources that will be utilized to achieve these targets. It does create a sort of marketing vs sales vibe.


What are the key objectives that both marketing and sales have designated for achievement? Both functions have a key focus to generate revenue for the company by sustainable means.

Marketing’s primary objective is to examine the big picture and promote the company, product or service, as well as the brand. This department is responsible for setting the products/services pricing and communicating how it will fulfill the needs and wants of customers, along with solving their problems.

Marketing’s goals can be long term ones because these campaigns can go on for months up to a year or two.

For sales, their focus is to achieve quotas and sales volume objectives. They tend to be short term goals. These goals are often measured monthly, biu monthly, quarterly, half yearly and/or yearly. Targets are usually defined. 

Sales management teams and managers calculate how much their department, teams and individual employees need to sell to make sure they meet the set targets, objectives and quotas.

In terms of marketing vs sales job security comparison, marketing takes the lead.

Tools and Resources

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database is one tool that sales teams can use. Marketing teams can utilize it along with other teams in any company. The database helps all departments manage relationships with contacts, regardless of which part of the customer lifecycle they are in.

Social media can also be utilized by both sales and marketing teams. Marketing teams can use social media to promote their content and presence. Sales can use it as part of a social selling strategy whereas the customer service teams can keep in touch with customers in case they need help.

Here are worthwhile digital tools marketing teams can utilize:

  • Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) software.
  • Project Management tools.
  • Data Reporting Software.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Content Creation and other tools used in digital marketing.

For Sales teams, the tools are:

  • Meetings app.
  • Documents Tool.
  • Invoicing Software.
  • Email management tool.
  • Inventory and order management software.

When it comes to utilizing the best tools and technologies, both divisions use different ones in line with the objectives they have (as goals of sales teams are different from those of marketing teams). These tools exhibit the real difference between sales and marketing.

AI and live chat are new age tools that both marketing and sales teams can utilize to develop good relationships with leads. Such level and kind of personalized communication was hardly thought of, until recently. Companies can adopt newer tools and technology once they are released in the market.

Strategies and Tactics

Marketing teams can undertake various kinds of strategic approaches. However, each depends upon the kind of campaign companies have executed, as well as the target market in focus. Here are some common marketing strategy:

Similarly, Sales methods can differ depending on the industry, products, market and target market/customer/audience. Here are some popular sales methods and tactics:

  • Inbound Selling.
  • N.E.A.T Selling.
  • Conceptual Selling.
  • SPIN selling.
  • Solution selling.
  • Customer Centric Selling.
  • SNAP Selling.
  • The Sandler System.
  • The Challenger Sale.

Each of these sales strategies can help buyers solve an issue, achieve an objective or satisfy a need, or all of them. Hopefully, the selling technique sales teams use will eventually lead to a sale and a new customer, or even more. 

In the marketing vs sales perspective, both divisions go equal here. Meaning, they both must work in sync to achieve their goal.

Sales and Marketing Alignment

How can companies overcome the rivalry between marketing and sales, and help sync the two into a partnership? A service level agreement (SLA) in this case works well as it can help in aligning both functions in proper sync to achieve long term objectives.

A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is sort of a contract. It helps in establishing a set of deliverables that one party agrees to provide the other party with. This is how it helps create a partnership between various teams and departments, with the ultimate goal of helping the organization move forward.

In the agreement, both departments will define their shared objectives, identify buyer personas, ideal client profiles and standardize definitions for leads. Apart from lead management, it also helps in outline the way marketing and sales teams’ performance will be measured, and quantified.


Aligning both sales and marketing divisions helps each business, brand and company alike to not just attract and qualify more leads but also to generate more profits. Despite the difference between sales and marketing, most professionals (even those working at any Google tag manager agency) agree with the fact that both departments must work together to help companies move forward.

Both departments can act as public image spokespeople for their respective firms, both formally and informally. Most professors at any educational institution of higher learning in any part of the globe do agree that marketing and sales do more than just their name, they are part of the marketing-verse.

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