Marketing equips your team to build lasting relationships

The crucial difference between sales & marketing

Are marketing and sales the same thing?

Most people in the business world do not actually know the difference between sales and marketing. That’s crazy when you know 66% of small business owners owners are personally responsible for marketing and sales in their business.

Let’s just get something straight right now. Sales and marketing are not the same thing. They’re not even close.

Here’s a great explanation from Gary Vaynerchuck about the differences between sales and marketing. Should they work together? Absolutely. Do they work together? Usually not. Should they be judged the same way? Um, no.

Sales: Direct Outreach

Sales means direct outreach to people who you suspect need what you have, now, or in the near future. Sales involves activities designed to start a conversation with a specific person right now.

Sales activities are things like phone calls, one-to-one emails, LinkedIn messages, one-to-one video messages, customer relationship management, and follow-up.

When done correctly, sales activity generates conversations and new business over shorter periods of time with people who are in the market to buy from you now. Sales also take the leads that come from marketing and turns them into new business.

Marketing: Indirect Outreach

Marketing is indirect outreach to people who you want to sell to. Marketing should illicit an emotional response in your potential customers and interest them in your products and services.

At it’s most basic level, marketing is education. Education on why a person wants or needs the thing your business is offering.

Marketing activities are things like one-to-many emails, blogs, guides, podcasts, videos on your website and social media, LinkedIn posts, LinkedIn Live content, Google Ads, social media ads, radio, podcast and TV ads, and billboards.

Marketing activity, when done correctly, generates long-term emotional attachment to your business and attracts your perfect customer.

How is marketing different from sales?

Business Development

Too many people are using the word “marketing” when what they really mean is business development. “Marketing” does not mean any kind of activity designed to potentially find a new customer. Sales is not a function of marketing, sales is an entirely different aspect of business development.

Sales and marketing are connected and cannot be separated, but that doesn’t mean that sales and marketing activities look anything alike.

Marketing Activities

Marketing activities have the purpose of generating leads. That means they attract a person to your business who may be interested in buying from you. There are business leaders who think that a lead is someone who is pre-qualified and wants a proposal. This does not align with the way marketing views a “lead.”

If a potential customer is pre-qualified and ready for a proposal, they’re more than halfway through the sales process. This person is not in your marketing funnel at all, aside from the fact that you still want top-of-mind awareness with them. At this point, marketing has done its job and sales is responsible for the outcome.

So many businesses are struggling because they don’t understand what they need, and they’re using language incorrectly to define their success.

There is a tremendous amount of confusion in the marketplace right now about what marketers do. The idea that the only marketing efforts that make sense for small businesses are ones the result in leads next month is really hurting companies.

There are tons of marketing activities that are very difficult to tie directly to results, but offer tremendous opportunities for business growth. These methods are being ignored and put aside because we “can’t see the ROI.”

Sales Activities

The purpose of marketing is to fill the sales funnel, but marketing and sales activities are vastly different. Unless they are very specific inside sales reps, salespeople don’t just sit there and wait for leads from marketing.

Sales people have suspects and prospects, these are the specific folks they are actively pursuing to start a conversation today. Marketing supports these efforts by making sure that salespeople are equipped with high-quality, engaging content to share with their prospects.

Sales people need to be hyper-focused on solving specific problems that their prospects are facing. The value of a salesperson is the ability to review a potential customer’s situation and introduce a solution that is designed specifically for them.

Related: What is marketing?

How sales and marketing work together

The real magic for any business is when sales and marketing teams work together. Marketing attracts the ideal customer and brings it to the business. Sales builds a one-on-one relationship and closes the business.

This relationship is a very powerful mechanism for business growth, when it’s functioning in a healthy way. In order for this to happen, both sales and marketing need to understand their own roles and work together for the benefit of the organization.

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John Welch

Hi, I'm the fast-talking co-founder of Skymouse Studios. As an extrovert, I love helping people communicate better. I'm a Musician, Loving Husband and Father. At the moment, I'm cooking up my secret recipe for eggs benedict.

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