Marketing vs. Sales: The Importance and Difference of Each


When it comes to running a business, many business owners group concepts together under the same umbrella. For many, the concepts of marketing and sales are often intermingled.

At first, it may seem trivial to get to know these two terms and their differences. However, becoming knowledgeable about marketing vs. sales is essential to the success of any business.

You see, if you confuse the two, you probably don’t have a thorough business plan or focus. To know the differences between marketing and sales means having a clear vision for the growth of your business.

Let’s get to know the definition of the terms “marketing” and “sales,” and how you can establish a clear plan for both to effectively scale your business!

Marketing and Sales Definitions

Marketing vs. sales vs. advertising are all terms that can make our heads spin! Sure, it may seem like these terms are the same, or at least similar.

In reality, they each play a very different role in the growth of any business! Don’t worry; they’re easy to differentiate once you learn about what steps them apart.

Marketing Definition

The whole purpose of marketing is to curate a desirable perception of your brand and business. Marketing strategies ensure you have a successful path and plan to connect with and satisfy your target audience.

Deeply considering your marketing strategy is crucial to your business’s future. Individual marketing efforts are steps you take to achieve the overall mission of attracting that attention.

Take a deeper dive into marketing and learn more about How Persuasive Marketing Can Transform Your Business!

From design and creation to the promotion of your deliverables, marketing encompasses a variety of activities, including:  

Marketing Efforts

● Market Research

● Branding

● Advertising

● Proper Pricing

● Written content

● Visual content

● Video content

● Social Media

● And more!

Since there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing, each business takes a personalized approach to getting the word out about their brand.

Sales Definition

While marketing is the promotion of the brand and deliverables, the term “sales” refers to the process of sealing the deal. Sales require a whole different set of strategies than marketing.

While there is some crossover, such as identifying potential customers, the terms are quite different, and both deserve equal amounts of attention. Common sales tactics include:

Sales Efforts

● Building relationships with customers

● Retaining customers through followup

● Streamlining the pipeline to making a sale

● Eliminating customer concerns

● Monitoring success rates

● And more!

Good business owners and salespersons capitalize on marketing efforts to help them obtain and retain customers or clients.  

Marketing vs. Sales in a Nutshell

Think about marketing vs. sales this way: marketing is designed and implemented to make sales easier.

Marketing drives target audiences toward the business website or brick-and-mortar location. Sales are the tactics in place to reach the final goal of making a sale.

Without sales, marketing doesn’t have a purpose. Without marketing, making a sale is quite difficult and, oftentimes, impossible.

With both definitions relying heavily on each other, it is understandable how many get them mixed up or conjoined.

Marketing vs. Sales: A  Complete Breakdown

Now that you know the distinct differences between the two, you can put plans in place to effectively market your brand and drive sales!

While you put plans into motion to market and sell your product or service, it’s important to keep a couple of things in mind.  

They Share a Goal

Avoid putting more emphasis on one or the other (marketing vs. sales). Keep in mind that, without marketing, making a sale is quite difficult.

Furthermore, without a driving purpose, marketing can become messy and ineffective. Keeping both at the forefront is the key to success!

Marketing Channels vs Sales Channels

As they require different strategies, marketing and sales include different channels. For example, marketing can be conducted through email as well as social media.

Similarly, sales can take place through online eCommerce business sites such as Shopify. Or, they can be conducted through wholesale sites like Temu, which focuses on B2B sales.

The nature of your sales or services will determine what avenues you take to market and sell your deliverables.

Marketing and Sales Tools

Along your journey of marketing and selling your services or products, you can use a variety of tools to help you achieve the end-goal.

Examples of Marketing Tools

● Social Media Marketing

● Email Marketing

● Content Marketing

● Pay-Per-Click Advertising

● Influencer Marketing

● Trade Shows and Events

For more insight into successful marketing strategies to grow your business, check out the Top 9 Marketing Ideas to Follow!  

Examples of Sales Tools

● Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software

● Sales Automation Software

● Professional Development in Sales

● Sales Forecasting Platforms

● Compelling Call-to-Action Opportunities

This article about B2B Marketing Funnel: Everything You Should Know provides more information about harnessing these tools to make sales.

Creating a Marketing and Sales Strategy

Establishing a successful marketing and sales strategy requires careful planning and thoughtful execution.

Marketing and sales work together toward one major goal. As such, it is important to give each their own consideration within the planning process.

1. Choosing Channels

What will be your methods for building your brand? How will you get the word out about your products? What processes are in place to entice customers to make a purchase?

For marketing, you’ll need to choose methods to advertise your deliverables and build a brand.

Rather than starting with every form of marketing, it is recommended that businesses start with a few. This will help you build a following for your brand and products.

When it comes to sales, you’ll need to decide where customers will purchase your products or services.

While some business owners choose to set up their own Shopify account, others find that Amazon is a better option.

Research businesses within your niche to see what is working best for your sector!

2. Choosing the right tools

In an earlier section, we discussed the various types of marketing and sales tools. To get started, focus on what tools will help you on your journey to achieving your profit goals.

This is more important than trying to try every single marketing and sales tool out there.

Too often, businesses become bogged down by trying the latest and greatest software or platforms.

While innovations are always great to try, it is also important to prioritize your time. If you find a system or tool that works for you, there’s no harm in sticking with it.

3. Hiring the Right Team

Especially for small businesses with small budgets, it can be tough to find the help you need at a cost you can afford.

Rather than hiring staff, many small businesses head online to seek our temporary or a la carte help from expert-level online freelancers.

From Search Engine Optimized Content Writing and SEO social media assistance to Sales and Client Management, you can outsource almost any digital task to freelance professionals.

Legiit is a marketplace renowned for hosting some of the world’s most reliable freelancers. Simply search the type of assistance you need, and you’ll find a list of vetted experts on that subject matter.

4. Breaking Down Your Goals

Every business has the ultimate goal of “making more sales.” However, in order to achieve that top-of-the-pyramid mission, you have to break down that goal into achievable steps.

These obtainable steps in your larger, long-term plan will be what helps you reach the level of success you dream about.  

Check out The Ultimate Plan to Creating a Small Business Marketing Plan for more guidance on how to get started!

Marketing vs. Sales: Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have some questions about Marketing versus Sales?

We’re here to answer all of your burning inquiries to ensure you have a clear image of the roles marketing and sales play in the success of any business!

Is it better to be in sales or marketing?

Whether it is better to be in sales or marketing will depend solely on your interests and expertise.

Sales typically receives much of the glory for obtaining profit goals and ensuring return on investment (ROI).

At the same time, marketing receives recognition for successfully connecting with target audiences and steering online traffic. They get acknowledged for their conversion metrics.

There’s no doubt that both roles are crucial to the success of any business. Therefore, you should make your decision based on your personal interests!

Which is bigger: sales or marketing?

It’s difficult to determine which department would be considered “bigger.” Both play an important role in the longevity and betterment of the company.

Marketing is responsible for creating a demand for the business’s deliverables. Sales secure deals and are the final step in helping the company profit.

When it comes to department size, marketing departments and sales departments significantly vary from business-to-business.  

Do you make more money in sales or marketing?

Depending on the compensation structure of your company, sales positions often receive handsome commissions on top of hourly wages.

Traditionally, marketing departments receive salaries or hourly wages without additional commission.

However, since all companies take a different approach to how they pay and motivate their employees, this could vary.

When thinking about pay, it’s also important to consider job satisfaction and company culture when making a decision to change roles.

Why is marketing better than selling?

Many people may see marketing as the “fun” department. After all, they get to innovate new ways to connect with target audiences.

Oftentimes, the advertisements and exciting promotions for a brand or product come straight from the marketing department.  

While marketing can be an excellent creative outlet, whether it is “better” than sales is subjective.

Final Thoughts

The good thing about marketing and sales is that you, as the business owner, don’t have to do it all alone!

By hiring professional freelance professionals to help you with the bulk of your efforts, you can sit back and watch your business flourish.

Legiit is a freelance platform celebrated for connecting world-class professionals with businesses that need their expertise.

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