What’s The Difference Between Sales And Marketing?

What’s The Difference Between Sales And Marketing?

I get this question a few times a week.

So, what’s the difference between sales and marketing?

In simplest terms, it’s like the difference between:

o Attraction and persuasion.

o Process and interaction.

0 Relationship and transaction.

o Lead generation and lead conversion.

o Many and one to one.

I like this perspective of James Heaton.

“Marketing should put forth an offer that meets the buyer’s needs right at the place and time of sales opportunity. The most effective marketing is therefore about communication, not manipulation.”

And I add that marketing is about education, information, engagement and when appropriate entertainment.

This chart that I modified goes deeper into the differences.

  Marketing Sales
Definition Attracts buyers to sellers Transacts or gets money for products or services
Approach Devises price, product and performance strategies to fulfill current and future needs Matches customer demand needs with products and services you are selling
Focus Identifies audiences, walkaways, channels, goals and story

Targets largest market

Sales volume goals

Interacts with individuals or a small group of prospects

Process Evaluate, innovate and orchestrate analysis, channels, competitive pricing products and services, sales tracking and investment Usually one to one
Scope Advertising, PR, social media, content, influencer and digital marketing, etc. When product, price and performance created; sales persuade customer to buy
Horizon Longer-term Short-term
Strategy Pull (attract) Push (persuade)
Priority Reaching and building customer relationships Selling is the endgame for marketing
Identity Builds brand identity that matches need fulfillment Meets need in an opportunistic, personalized way via human interaction.

Ability to meet need at right place and right time.

Goal Generate product interest and creates leads via actions like ads, PR, social and digital marketing, etc. Converting prospects to actual paying customers and direct customer interaction to persuade purchase.


Chief Outsiders believes the difference between marketing and sales are:

“Marketing is bending the product and service towards the mind of the customer while sales is the bending of the customer toward the product and services,” marketing expert John Edmonds believes.

“Marketing taps market understanding to determine product, channel, price and plan to attract and convince customer. Sales sells what’s in stock,” believes Art Saxby, founder of Chief Outsiders.

Here is the definition of effective marketing that I have been trying out with clients, prospects and referrers.

“Creating the most relevant and compelling story and telling it effectively and efficiently to attract and motivate the right people — who are ready, willing and able to buy.”

So, do you think you can benefit from marketing or need help determining if you do?

Take this assessment, send me the results and let’s start a conversation about how I can help.  

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