The Thin Line Between Marketing & Sales: The What, Why & How Explained

Sales and marketing can be considered two sides of the same coin. They are similar yet different from each other in various ways. 

In most of the small organizations, both sales and marketing tasks are performed by the same group of professionals, given the common perception of people that both the functions focus on direct selling.

However, marketing is different from sales. Although both of them share a common goal of bringing revenue to a firm, yet the routes they follow are unique in their own ways. 

Question is how do they coexist in spite of being different in a lot of ways. Let’s decode the answers to similar questions by understanding the fundamental nature of sales and marketing and how they are different.  

Difference Between Sales & Marketing

Sales, as the name suggests, encompasses all activities responsible for direct selling of your products or services. On the contrary, marketing focuses on educating people about your offerings and spreading awareness in the market. 

The sales representatives assist potential customers in taking the final purchase decision, while marketing folks generate excitement about your products, and collect valuable information about your target audience. This information then helps the sales team to pitch better. 

Marketing relies on research and analysis to capture information that can further be utilized to make informed decisions. It focuses on a large group of people by launching campaigns to evaluate the needs of prospects. Sales, on the other hand, centers its efforts around a small group of people, who have a higher probability of doing business with a brand. 

These are some of the primary differences between sales and marketing. 

Time to delve deeper and look at marketing and sales from various angles. 

Sales vs. Marketing

The fact that sales and marketing are closely connected is undeniable, given the larger aim they both share. But, there are scores of differences as far as their processes and immediate goals are concerned. 

The process of effective marketing involves a plan that follows the four tried and tested Ps of marketing – product, price, promotion, and place. Marketing involves campaigns that are created, keeping in mind all these elements and identifying – 

  • what the product is about 
  • what is its price 
  • which section of the public it is meant for

On the other hand, the sales plan focuses on a small set of people and the process of how to reach out to them and sell the products. It’s as simple as that.

Marketing looks at the bigger picture and invests towards larger goals, which might take time to get realized. Unlike the sales function that is directly involved in selling, marketing works towards raising customers’ interest in your offerings. Market research and evaluating the needs of your target group play a major role in this. Marketing has far-fetched goals, and it can take months or even years to achieve them. 

Sales focuses on achieving small targets on a weekly or monthly basis. On the basis of these goals, salespersons decide how much they need to sell daily, to meet those targets. 

Here is a list of the key differences between sales and marketing that will give you more clarity regarding both the functions.


Larger and complex


Comparatively limited
Focuses on customers’ needs Focuses on the company’s needs
Follows pull strategy Emphasizes on the push strategy
Encompasses various functions including sales 

Part of the marketing function

Long-term and continuous process


The outcome of marketing activities
Customer-oriented Product-oriented
Directed at a larger group or the general public


Focuses on individuals or small groups
Involves obtaining leads Ensures the leads are turned into customers
Follows a slightly longer process of establishing brand image Involves finding potential customers only for a shorter term.
Guides the company to produce what customers want 


Motivates customers to desire what the company produces


Sales and Marketing Tools

To be effective at both marketing and sales, simply creating strategies won’t suffice. You also need to have the right tools in place that can make the work of your marketing and sales folks nothing more than a cakewalk. 

For marketing, it’s crucial that you have a powerful search engine optimization tool, project management tool, customer relationship management software, help desk ticketing system, survey maker, and content management software. These tools can give a fillip to your marketing efforts, thus ensuring that you get excellent and sure-shot results. 

As far as sales is concerned, you can have tools that take care of email management, inventory and stock management, invoicing, document management, and customer feedback. 

Having the right tools in place can bring a significant difference in the way you pursue marketing and sales, the results you achieve, and the actions you take. They give you a whole new perspective of looking at things from various angles and then making smart decisions that are healthy for your organization in the long and short term. 

Now, since we know the difference between sales and marketing, it’s time to understand how we can keep them connected and reap the rewards of a mutual relationship. 

Relationship Between Sales and Marketing

The difference between marketing and selling does exist, but the fact remains that they can’t survive alone. If your firm is good at sales but lacks marketing initiatives, you won’t be able to survive the competition for a long time. 

Why, you ask? While selling helps you fill your bank account in the present by persuading customers to buy your products, it’s marketing that does all the hard work for the future. Marketing identifies the right opportunities for you, provides you avenues for growth, and shows you the right direction to move forward. 

Sales might help you today, but marketing can take you a long way. Similarly, marketing alone doesn’t do the magic. It’s when both sales and marketing combine, that magic happens. Suppose you have a strong marketing team that’s bringing you scores of opportunities, but they are of no use if you don’t have a dedicated sales staff to materialize those opportunities. 

Sales and marketing have a long list of differences, but they are also closely linked. Understanding their differences and similarities can play a crucial role in the long-term sustainability of your brand.

Dwayne Charrington
Technical writer and customer support executive at ProProfs
Dwayne Charrington is a technical writer currently associated with ProProfs Help Desk. He possesses hands-on experience in writing for the customer service industry. Dwayne is insightful when it comes to industrial challenges, emerging customer service trends, and how businesses overcome related challenges. Dwayne likes drawing connections between different industries and entities while designing his blogs.

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