Is There a Difference Between Sales and Marketing? 

When you start a business, you’re so focused on sales that it can seem like it consumes all of your time. If you get a lot of founders to reflect on their business, they’ll tell you that they’re essential salespeople. When their business is boiled down, they’re responsible for delivering on the bottom line. Sales and its importance to growing a company can overshadow other workflows to the point they all bleed together. At some point, though, the CEO can’t do it all. That’s where specialization comes in and you have to start separating departments in order to scale.

So, what’s the difference between sales and marketing? Each serves a different purpose, but like in many organizations, they work toward the same goals. Ross Kernez from Hpone says that in general, marketing finds leads and creates opportunities for sales to close deals. Marketers are the little league baseball coaches who set the ball on the tee for the batter to smash. Here we’ll explore the differences between sales and marketing and how you can get them working in concert together.

Casting a Net with Effective Marketing

It’s marketing’s job to generate leads and attract people to your brand. Whether you’re looking for donors to a charity, subscribers to a magazine, or buyers for a product, marketers promote products and services in an attractive manner that generates interest. You’re trying to reach people who will relate to your brand and are most likely to buy what you’re selling or convert.

Marketing comes in many forms over a variety of channels. With marketing you have:

  • Text ads
  • Video promotions
  • Company newsletters
  • Banner ads
  • Billboards
  • TV commercials
  • Radio ads

There are a ton of different types of content marketing departments can create to spread the word and build your public image. The end goal is to get more people talking about your brand and researching what you’re doing as an organization. Progress can be measured with metrics like conversion rates, and traffic numbers on your websites, the number of views, likes, and subscribers.

Sales Closes Deals

When we talk about sales, we’re generally talking about any activities that lead to closed deals. A product is sold, or someone pays for a service. You may be asking, “Doesn’t marketing do that?” There is some overlap, certainly, but usually, sales take the people marketing brings to the table and then does the rest.

That’s how it’s supposed to work, anyway. In many companies, sales are responsible for doing sales AND marketing. They have to do both to close deals. They’re cold-calling prospects and attending business functions to drum up business. That’s all fine and good, but companies who report having a service level agreement, or SLA, between sales and marketing, are more efficient. There’s an agreed-upon workflow that allows for specialization. Marketers can do marketing, and sellers can sell.

The Big Picture with Marketing

People involved in marketing tend to be more focused on the bigger picture. They start with what kind of brand message they want to present, and then everything they do is aimed at accomplishing that goal. They engage with existing and potential customers on a deeper level to better understand their needs and how they interact with products.

Marketing campaigns can span months and years. They’re very involved and represent an expense to an organization. Start-ups and small companies aren’t able to dedicate a lot of time and money to marketing because resources are desperately needed in areas like product development and payroll. However, once a company reaches a certain level of critical mass, they need to prioritize marketing. The right content and marketing strategy can grow your business faster and make sales much easier.

The Tools We Use

Some incredible software tools can be used by both sales and marketing teams to make collaboration accelerate. If you own a business or manage a department, you want your sales and marketing teams to work in unison, supporting each other in everything you’re doing. CRM databases, project management tools, data analytics, and email management are all tools that can help sales and marketing become more efficient. If you’re looking for better collaboration, you may want to seek out tools sales and marketing groups can use together at the same time. You may even end up saving some money because you don’t have to pay for two different tools.

When marketing and sales align, your business can start to shine. You’ll see leads rolling in and higher closing rates. Marketers are going to find more, and better, leads, and your salespeople will go into client meetings with more confidence because they know they are quality leads. Start looking at your business today and where your sales and marketing teams are aligned and where adjustments may be necessary. Small changes can make a big impact.

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