What's The Difference Between Marketing And Sales?

Visakan Veerasamy
Visakan Veerasamy
December 16, 2013
2 min read
What's The Difference Between Marketing And Sales?

In this article

This is part of a series of posts about definitions, because it's important to have good definitions.

It's easy to get marketing and sales mixed up.

They're both customer-facing, they both help to increase your revenue, and they're highly interrelated, too.

  • Great marketing "softens the ground", giving the salesperson a more receptive audience to work on.
  • If the story spreads effectively, a customer raving about her great sales experience can double up as great marketing.

But that doesn't make them the same thing.

Marketing, simplistically, is about generating leads.

  • Marketing deliberately communicates value with the intention of influencing customer decisions. [link]
  • SEO is marketing. Content generation is marketing. Anything deliberately intended to get people in the door is marketing.
  • Marketing is interested in brand image, public perception, blog hits, site impressions, social media engagement.
  • Ideally, marketers seek to influence every touchpoint that a customer might have with a brand: The product itself, packaging, advertising, customer support, and yes, even sales.
  • Realistically, marketers do whatever the heck it takes to get potential customers positively acquainted with their product(s).

Sales, simplistically, is about converting leads into paying customers.

  • Sales is about creating a customer experience that facilitates the final exchange of product and $$$.
  • Cold calls and product demos are sales-specific tasks.
  • Ideally, sales is intensely personal and personalized, tailored to suit the buyer's needs and preferences.
  • In ecommerce, sales is mostly about the on-site experience for the shopper. Do they have all the information they need? (Sizing, how-to, etc?)

Above All: Be clear about your objectives.

The objective of clarifying your definitions is to think more clearly and make better decisions. To do that, you also need to be clear about your unique circumstances, your objectives and how to achieve them.

  • Who are your customers, what are their needs? Both sales and marketing need to be clear (and in agreement!) about this.
  • How many leads are you getting, and what % of them are converting into paying customers? If you're getting lots of leads, then you may want to focus on improving conversions. If your conversions are doing okay, you should may want to try and get more leads. It ultimately depends on your business objectives. What's important is that you're paying attention to the data, and making sense of it.

Do you need to improve your marketing, or do you need to improve your sales? Everybody wants to do both, but how exactly should you split your time, energy and resources to give you the optimal outcome?

Take the time to think about this, and you'll find yourself in a much better position to make decisions about your ecommerce business. Work hard and kick butt!

Relevant Links:


Visakan Veerasamy
Visakan Veerasamy

Visa is ReferralCandy's former Blog Editor [2013–2018]. He also co-founded Statement.sg, a fashion ecommerce label selling witty t-shirts. He's mildly Internet-famous for his elaborate Twitter threads. He hopes to enjoy a glass of scotch onboard a commercial space flight someday.

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