People often misunderstood sales and marketing as similar jobs. Well, they both work in the favor of the organization, but their nature, roles, and responsibilities are poles apart.

A sales executive’s professional experience (if any) and educational background are totally different from a marketing executive’s. Their expertise and behavior to approach different scenarios to make their presence not only necessary but unique.

No company can function without either of the departments. Your sales and marketing activities should go hand-in-hand to make your company a leading venture in your industry.

For every professional who is working in a team of skilled individuals have to understand the difference between sales and marketing professionals.

The difference will allow them to know what a person is working on which departments and how to work with them if they are forced too.

Both have different definitions

A sale is a collective effort of generating money for your company and give equivalent and promised services and goods to your customers.

In a service based industry, a sales team ensures that to convert prospects to consumers, ensure they transfer the money and get the product in return. They have to nurture a relationship to prospects and eventually convert them as buyers

The ultimate goal of the sales process is to ensure that the company generates profit in any way possible.

Sales and Marketing

Marketing, on the other hand, is a gradual process of understanding customer needs and their expectations related to a particular field of study. Marketers’ responsibilities demand enhanced research and keen observation of user behavior in the market and understand how to deliver your brand as a problem solver.

Marketers have to make a plan and develop a voice for the brand that helps their company advertise and pitches their services to potential buyers.

The marketing activities won’t stress prospects about buying things. Instead, they would just give a message about what a company is and what products they are selling.

Marketing hits the emotional chords of the consumer through their message and makes them feel that their problems and issues are understood by a company which also have the skills to solve them.

They have different timelines

Other major difference between sales and marketing is their lifespan. Duration of your sales activities will be short-term and marketing will be long-term.

All the sales activities like cold calling, email outreach, client meetings have short-term goals of getting more business and help your company generating more profits. While all your marketing activities have long-term goals which keep evolving as your company develops.

Consider an example of a sales page on a website. When you create a separate landing page that has a countdown timer on it and has an instant checkout button to help users instantly buy your services, is an example of sales activity. So, if a customer does not buy the product in the specified time, the stock will be over.

Here, you are trying to get more conversions to by creating a scarcity of your product. Occasional sales and discounts are also aligned to bring more sales to your bank accounts. However, in the same scenario, you will need a robust marketing strategy that brings visitors to your website page and eventually converts them.

Marketing is providing your users with a journey to follow and experience that builds trust and empathy with your users. In the same example, to bring potential customers to your page, you first have to show the audience that you exist and happen to provide certain products and services.

You might go with email outreach, PPC ads, social media, to target audience and build a connection with them. Now, these processes do not happen overnight. You will have to keep making a buzz on relevant marketing channels to create genuine interest among users.

Hence, marketing is a long-term activity compared to the usual sales procedures.

Both have different objectives

Every commercial activity should have goals and targets to give them purpose and meaning. In sales and marketing, the latter has a customer-centric approach while the sales have company-centric behavior.

Marketing should be done that can benefit and help your audience. It might educate or entertain them through your product. A good marketing strategy should be focused on delighting its customers through communication.

Sales activities are driven to only benefit the organization. Because through sales, you will get more customers and money which will help the company strengthen its financial position in the market. ROI and numbers are the key factors that drive sales activities.

In the same example shared on the above point, when you create awareness about your upcoming sale on your website or price-cut for a particular product for a specific time, you actually educating people about what they will get if they purchase your product within a short time.

You educate them and give your products to let them know how your product will make their life easier. Here, the objective was to let people know about the sale on your website along with the benefits of your products.

difference between sales and marketing

Now, when they land on your website, the goal changes to convince them to purchase your products. In a short span, you aggressively communicate and try to convince your visitors to buy your stuff. These aggressive tones will help your company get the money and make profits.

Difference between sales and marketing is their approach

Both of them communicate with your prospects but their styles vary. Sales have a more direct and segregated approach. As already discussed, sales only aim are to bring more profits to your company, it operates with the same mindset.

When it comes to sales, they use a forceful approach to make the sale at any cost. The sales copy and campaign does not bother if they are sending their message to a relevant audience, they just try to convince as many audiences as possible to buy your products.

Moreover, different product range might share different voice to talk to your particular consumers.

Yes, you cannot convince people to buy protein milkshake and also purchase your chocolates.

To sell protein milkshake, you won’t encourage users to eat chocolate through your sales communication. You might rather encourage them to avoid sweets and drink healthy beverages to get fit.

Here, you have covered a specific type of consumers by using a one-to-one communication tone. While for chocolates you will use pictures and attractive packing that would make people buy your chocolates.

Sales procedures take one-to-one communication mode to convert visitors.

one-to-one communication

When it comes to marketing, there will be a unified voice across the market about your brand. Although marketing has the objective of bringing more traffic, it has a collective approach to benefit your business.

Marketing never pushes your consumers to make an instant purchase, period.

The way you conduct and put your brand in the world depends a lot on how people would engage and come to your store to purchase your stuff. In the example of a company selling protein health shake and chocolates, marketing takes a different road to target customers.

A good marketing strategy takes your users to a journey and tells them your company is selling food and beverages that would help a different set of people improve and enjoy their lives.

For that protein shake, your marketing copy would say that your brand serves the best protein shake that a health enthusiast must try, you might share the number of minerals you provide in your shake to connect with the right audience.

See how communication took a different angle in marketing. Your marketing holds a one-to-many relationship method and covered a large number of audience at a time.

Marketing and sales both perform different operations

Sales and marketing professionals have to practice routines tasks that are different. Both activities demand different operations and expert skills to achieve growth in respective areas.

Salespeople have to indulge in networking and connecting with people. The often found in product demonstration meetups or conference where the convince people about how their services are better.

They have to be on their toes to find any potential opportunity or a lead through which they can get maximum sales for their organizations.

Often people find sales job stressful and tiresome because of the insane amount of energy is required to keep satisfying users needs and keep targeting more prospects in any way possible to meet your routine targets.

Salespeople take the front seat when it comes to conducting and concluding communication.

Marketers, on the other hand, has to know every ins and outs of a particular product. They might have to participate in the products’ development phase to give their inputs about what users expecting.

Their research for the gives them what goes at the end user’s mind and how can their company deliver as per customer’s expectation.

Marketers have to ensure that advertisement and promotion campaigns are scheduled properly and the communication is apt for the right customers. Marketers must know the buyer’s journey and their persona to answer their questions properly.

Marketers may have to segment their promotional activities to pitch the products to the right kind of prospects at the right time. They must understand the problems of users, and create empathy through their advertisements.

After sales service may also fall under the role of marketers. Educate and solve users’ problems after they have purchased products and services is also a responsibility of the marketing team.

Customer satisfaction is the most important for a business’ success. If your customers are satisfied or frustrated by your services and products, they will share their feedbacks with their immediate circle and your brand will eventually get the first impression of the new prospects.

The positive or negative experience of a customer can dramatically impact your word-of-mouth marketing.

Sales and marketing have different rules

To make your sales effectiveness, you need to be extrovert in communication while talking with your customers.

In sales, you will have to tell benefits about your product through product demonstration, examples and so on. You should know how to talk with strangers and encourage them to pay attention to what you have to say and check out your products.

While in Marketing, you take a backseat by aggressively studying the market demand and trends and plan your promotional strategies internally.

You might not need to talk with your customer face-to-face, unlike sales. Instead, you have to educate your customers about the consumers’ needs and requirements and help them develop the best product.

In sales, you mostly have to interact and manage your prospects and while in Marketing, you engage yourself in internal team activities more for planning, brainstorming and executing.

Conclusion – So they don’t have to work together?

Well, a successful organization is a productive collaboration of different departments. Whether you are part of the production, marketing, sales, human resource or administration; you will have to work together to achieve the organization’s growth.

Sales and marketing departments should be on the same page to give a delightful experience to the customers. Because if your marketing has worked excellently but in the end, you have less conversion and ROI, then you need to focus more on your sales activities.

If the prospects entertained by sales department does not know necessary information about your business or the products, you have targeted the wrong prospect for your business and you should adjust your marketing plan to filter perfect consumers for your business.

Sales and marketing both have the same objective, i.e. growth of the company. In sales, the product is forced onto the customer and marketing ensures that the right people come to your place to purchase the product you are promoting.

An ideal marketing gradually creates your brand image through advertisements and promotion that establish a necessity of your product in your market and users get attracted to your products and purchase them.

While purchasing, your sales department has a leading role in giving comfortable purchase experience to your consumers and fulfill every condition which you have guaranteed in your promotional activities.


Siddharth Rajsekar aka Sidz is a college drop-out, "musician turned digital geek", a spiritually grounded minimalist, father of 2, and husband of a loving wife. He founded the Internet Lifestyle Hub in 2018 to fix the education and employment system for good. Currently, he is helping over 11,000+ coaches, teachers, and experts digitize their knowledge. He’s an international best-selling author of the book You Can Coach and is on a mission to help 1,000,000 people live a lifestyle of freedom!

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