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