How Marketing is Different from Sales

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Sales & marketing go hand in hand to create a stable, thriving business. Where most small business owners miss out is understanding that they are two distinct skill sets, strategies and sections.

If you want to create a business that grows no matter what it’s up against, it’s crucial that you understand the differences between the two, and how they work together.

When You Don’t Understand…

Not understanding sales vs. marketing properly costs business owners money.

When a business owner doesn’t understand the difference, they often spend too much time on marketing instead of sales. Don’t get me wrong, marketing is important. I love marketing! But if you haven’t hit the $200k/year revenue mark, you don’t need a ton of it. What you need is a solid sales strategy that is consistently executed. And when the focus is all on marketing, the result is a business that has limited cash-flow, a small trickle of revenue, and they are unable to maximize their marketing by leaning on opportunities that require more cash or attention.

Marketing is a big investment of time and money, and if you’re already to the point you know you can invest in that, check out my latest blog on improving your marketing skills.

And The Difference Between is...

Regardless of where you are in your business, understanding the difference between Marketing and Sales is important to create success in both areas of the business.

What Is Sales?

Sales is the conversion of a lead into a client or sale.

I. E., it is when someone goes from “I’m interested” to “Let me pay you for your service/item!”

There are a couple different important aspects of sales.

1: Human Connection

In general, sales almost always requires a human connection/conversation of some sort and is usually one-to-one where a single sales person is conversing with a single prospective buyer.

That conversation can be on the phone, through a website chat window, or in person. The reason there’s a need for a human connection, is because of the nature of our world right now. People are looking for a specific kind of product, and they approach different companies to see which version of the product will fit their needs best. The human aspect comes in to ask questions about what that person needs, and then provide the package or product that best fits their need in a way that helps them overcome their hesitation to buy.

Sales is not about dumping all the information about your products on a person. That overwhelms people into not buying. The purpose behind the human connection is to help someone discover the information they need in order to make a buying decision. And that is the whole purpose for sales: helping people buy what they need.

2: Prospecting

Sales often includes prospecting as well.

Prospecting: Reaching out to cold leads to see if they are interested in purchasing.​

People don’t always convert with prospecting. That’s a given with any sales. Sometimes prospects just don’t buy. But the key with prospecting is reaching out to people and finding out about their needs so you can fill them.

To put it simply…

Sales is the pivoting point where someone converts from a prospect to a client/buyer.

What is Marketing?

Marketing is warm lead generation, or generating brand awareness.

Marketing is more of focusing on a one-to-many approach, where even if you as the individual behind the brand puts out a story, gets interviewed, creates an ad, etc, you’re putting that message out to many people at once.

Marketing does not always require a human aspect like Sales does, because it’s not about reaching out to individual people or creating specific conversions. Marketing is about creating awareness of your brand in large groups of people who might need your product/service -- whether they realize they need your service or not.

I. E., Marketing creates brand awareness and warm leads: people who come to you saying “I want to buy from you.”

One of the biggest keys to good marketing is designing content that interests people. The whole goal of your content is to catch someone’s attention and let them know you’re here to fix their problem, so your content has to be designed in a way that grabs their attention. The content has to grab their attention, while telling them who you are, what you do, and why they should call you.

Marketing requires having excellent content as well as a plan to encourage people to reach out to you. The great thing about marketing is that it builds momentum and eventually creates a lot of business for your company, but it is a ton of work and starts very slow.

This is why I highly recommend that businesses under $200k/year wait to focus on marketing projects until they cross the $200k mark at least.

Because your sales take work, but they are manpower hours that are spent actively working on converting leads into sales. However, marketing is usually investing money on flyers, ads, booths and commercials that may or may not actually turn a sale for a few months.

When They’re Both Going…

If you’ve got marketing and sales going, they must work together like cogs in a clock.

Marketing and sales go together and work together, which is why many people confuse one for the other. When your sales and marketing are working properly, they will support one another. Marketing will hand warm leads to sales reps, who then convert those warm leads into sales.

The trouble that often occurs in relation to sales and marketing is when they don’t communicate and work well together. It creates problems like…

  1. Great Marketing, Poor Sales

    • This is where the marketing is working fantastic and giving off tons of warm leads, but the sales team isn’t converting those leads into sales. Business owners often try to funnel more money into the marketing because they assume that’s the issue when marketing isn’t producing sales. But the true issue is that the team isn’t working well with the leads that marketing is giving off. If you don’t have someone converting the leads off your marketing, marketing is just going to be a black hole for your money.

  2. Overpromised Marketing, Unable to Fulfill

    • Another common issue with sales and marketing not working well together, is when the marketing side overpromises. If marketing overpromises, the sales reps can’t fulfill the promise made in the marketing and the sale ultimately gets lost. Because even with the greatest sales rep in the world, a warm lead that has been over-promised to will balk at the lower level of return on their investment.

  3. Great Sales, Poor Marketing

    • This isn’t so much an issue unless you’re actively working on a marketing strategy. Sales can go on without marketing. But if you’re working on your marketing, it needs to be designed to hand warm leads off to your sales team. If the marketing can’t hand off warm leads to your sales team, the marketing is doing nothing for you (except sucking money from the business).

Marketing and Sales have the best relationship when Marketing is handing warm leads to a strong Sales team.

Ultimately, if you need to generate revenue within the next month, you need to focus on sales and not marketing.

Because everyone loves getting warm leads from marketing, but marketing won’t bring in the kind of revenue that is needed to sustain a business without a solid sales practice in place. Get your sales strategies going first, and marketing will be that much easier!

Ready to ramp up your marketing, but struggling to put together your marketing plan? Check out our Done-For-You Marketing Plans, designed for your business and created to give you the breathing space you need to focus on creating successful marketing!

And if you'd like to work with me directly on improving your marketing, register for my upcoming Marketing Engine Igniter course!