The Difference Between Marketing and Sales

BY Tim Londergan
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Chicken or egg…? Content or design…? Lighening, then ….? Which comes first? Pick your favorite. But when you are responsible for the results of getting your product into the hands of customers it becomes much more than semantics. When you are a leader charged with bottom line results that support every individual employed by your company, you should know the difference between marketing and sales. Where, in the product cycle, do these essential components of every profit-​dependent business collide, repel, coalesce, cooperate and coagulate?

The Difference Between Marketing and Sales: Marketing

More often than you’d like to admit, as a sales manager, you have to pause, take a deep breath and say to yourself: “Today, marketing is teaching me patience”. But, admit it, marketing does wondrous things! It builds awesome strategies to reach new leads and generate interest in your business. Marketing warms up cold leads, converts warm leads and helps to isolate qualified leads so your sales team can nurture and develop those valuable opportunities into precious new customers.

In today’s informed-​consumer culture, marketers strive to be out there! They are front and center with targeted messages to address value and availability. It’s a thankless job that requires consumer analysis and strategic planning with the goal of handing a qualified lead off to the sales team. Marketers throughput information that is visible and valuable to the prospect and, ultimately, deliver a qualified lead to the sales professional. They set ‘em up… the sales team takes ‘em in.

The Difference Between Marketing and Sales: Sales

Sales is the action process. Feet in the street, knocking on doors, smiling and dialing — we all know the euphemisms. Sales is the art of actually convincing someone to buy from your business. Sales involves relationships and a considerable amount of interpersonal interaction to persuade a lead to become a customer. The leads may be those sweet referrals from current customers or results of the aforementioned cold call efforts. But, let’s face it, most of the time, these leads have been driven to your salespeople from the direct efforts of your marketing team.

Salespeople are typically gregarious, ambitious individuals who have a unique sense of purpose. That purpose is to convert a prospect to a customer. With an inherent set of skills that include communication, discovery, inquisitiveness, empathy, active listening and storytelling, these individuals fend off objections to get to YES. By knowing their prospects and studying their prospects’ industry, these professionals examine their own products’ benefits and conjure solutions to turn this prospect into a customer.

So, what is the difference between marketing and sales? In a small company, it is often a matter of resource allocation. How much do you feed one over the other? Is the promotional calendar up to date? Are you being true to your marketing or brand strategy and are your efforts being realized? How are sales pacing? In a large company, with different departments for each discipline, the question is one of communication. Establish a comprehensive strategy for reaching prospects with all levels of interest and agree on when to turn the leads over to sales.

Organizations that balance sales and marketing communicate well on many levels. Knowledge of your product, your customer, your competition and your position in the market must be shared, discussed and agreed upon. Messaging from each team must be consistent and display continuity. A strong exchange of information between teams will help you market better and sell more.