Difference between Sales and Marketing

difference between sales and marketing

While sales is more transaction-based, marketing aims to win and retain customers for the long term. Both often have the same goal of increasing company revenue but differ in their functions and processes. Basically sales implies exchanging products and services for money or value for money. On the other hand, marketing is a general term that denotes a series of activities that start with market research and end with customer satisfaction.

The focus of the two is on two different ends, marketing emphasizes meeting customer needs, while sales is about achieving the company’s sales target, which focuses on meeting company needs.

Marketing tends to identify customer needs, wants and demands, thereby satisfying customers. In contrast, sales is about pushing a company’s products and services to customers, by convincing them to buy.

So, let’s dig deeper to understand these two terms better.

Definition of Sales

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Sales is nothing but the main goal of every business company, in the sense that all company activities are directed at increasing sales. Basically it includes activities that generate sales of “what the company offers to customers” over a period of time, by convincing customers that buying the company’s products will be of benefit to them.

To this end, salespeople must possess outstanding communication and persuasion skills, to effectively convey the benefits of a product or service to customers, while answering their questions.

Each company has a dedicated department for sales of its products and services which is often divided into teams, based on:

  • Geographic location, where the team offers products and services to,
  • Products and services, which the team must sell,
  • Target Customers, who offer products and services.

Each team has a sales volume target, for the month, quarter and year that they must achieve. To increase sales, special offers such as coupons, free gifts, etc., and discounts are used as a strategy, to get customers’ attention and encourage them to buy products or services.

Do not confuse the term ‘sales’ for ‘sales’, sales involves sales which means the transfer of ownership of the product from the producer to the customer, for adequate consideration, i.e. price.

Definition of Marketing

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Marketing is a process that involves a spectrum of activities carried out by a company so as to promote the company’s products or services. The process begins with identifying customer needs, satisfying those needs profitably by creating, communicating, and delivering offers, in exchange for a price, that customers value.

It is a means of creating interest in the target audience in the company’s offerings. All activities that seek to attract customers’ attention to a company’s offerings and retain them are covered under marketing terms, such as market research and analysis, product development, promotion, distribution methods, sales and after-sales service.

In better terms, any strategy or activity that a company employs to communicate with its target customers to incite them to buy the company’s offerings is referred to as marketing.

Marketing is about what you say about your offer, how you communicate the value of your offer to your audience and why customers should take it from all the options available in the market. It is the promotion of offers through advertisements using various platforms, such as newspapers, television, pamphlets, social media, such as Facebook pages, Instagram accounts, Twitter accounts, etc.

The marketing process includes the following:

  1. Research: To collect data so as to know the market and customers in a better way.
  2. Segments: To divide customers into groups called segments, according to similar characteristics, to serve them in a better way.
  3. Target: Focus on the segments that need the offer you’re selling, because they’ll really appreciate it.
  4. Positioning: Differentiate your product from the competition, through a unique sales offer.
  5. Strategy: Create a strategy for the product i.e., price, place and promotion.
  6. Implement: The best strategy of all the strategies to be implemented.
  7. Measure: Measure the result, by making comparisons.
Key Differences Between Sales and Marketing

Future points will give you all the differences between sales and marketing:

  • Sales can be understood as the process of selling goods to customers at a fixed price and at a certain time period. In this case the transfer of ownership of a product from one person to another for some value occurs. On the other hand, marketing is the act of analyzing the market and understanding customer needs in such a way that every time a new product is launched, it sells itself. In short, it is the process of creating a ready market for products and services.
  • Sales are product-oriented, because the sales force emphasizes increasing product sales. In contrast, marketing is customer-oriented, because all promotional activities are carried out, keeping in mind the target customer.
  • Sales has a fragmented approach, emphasizing sales that are produced. In contrast, marketing has an integrated approach that emphasizes ascertaining customer needs and providing the products they need.
  • Marketing emphasizes market needs. Instead, focus sales on the company’s needs.
  • Sales is concerned with the flow of products or services to customers. However, Marketing is concerned with all activities that facilitate the flow of goods to customers.
  • Sales is a short term process, because it is transaction based and aims to maximize it, which is only for a limited period of time. On the other hand, marketing is a long term process as it focuses on customer management and all efforts are made to win and retain customers.
  • The goal of sales is to incite buyers in such a way that they turn into buyers, whereas the goal of marketing is to identify customer needs and create products to meet those needs.
  • There is a one-to-one relationship in terms of sales i.e. one product is sold to one customer, by a salesperson at a time. As opposed to one-to-many relationships exist in terms of marketing, as advertising reaches millions of customers at once.
  • Sales focus on individuals, namely direct interaction with customers and persuade them to buy products, but marketing concentrates on the general public, namely creating value for a product to increase sales.
  • In sales, the customer is seen as the last link, i.e. the product is created first and then sold to the customer. On the other hand, in marketing, customers are given priority, because first all the needs are identified and after that efforts are made to fulfill those needs.
  • Sales is a people driven activity; Marketing is a media-driven activity.
  • Sales use a push strategy (where the product is forced onto the customer) while marketing uses a pull strategy (where the customer comes to a product on their own).
  • The sales process involves exchanging goods for monetary considerations. On the other hand, marketing involves identifying customer needs and satisfying them.
  • In sales, the warning emptor rule applies, which is to let the buyer beware. Unlike marketing where a warning vendor rule applies, which states let the seller be careful.
  • Various techniques are used to increase sales including price promotions, discounts, festive season offers, special offers, buy one get one offers, etc. In contrast, marketing involves building relationships with customers through the integration of the organization with customer needs.
  • Sales requires good communication, convincing skills, while marketing requires good analytical skills and foresight.
  • Sales aims to maximize profit through maximizing selling. On the other hand, profit maximization through increasing customer satisfaction and market share is a marketing objective.

Red thread: Although there are many differences between sales and marketing, these are not contradictory. These two terms are closely related and play a very important role in the long term business continuity.

Sales is a human-oriented function, so the personnel involved in sales activities should be provided with proper training and incentives to increase morale and get higher rewards in return. On the other hand, marketing is media oriented, so the best advertising and promotion channels should be adopted to achieve increased sales along with enhanced brand image.