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What’s the Difference Between Sales and Marketing?

Marketing informs and attracts leads and prospects to your company and product or service. Sales, on the other hand, works directly with prospects to reinforce the value of the company’s solution to convert prospects into customers.

While these two business functions are different, they both share a common goal: to attract prospects and convert them to customers, ultimately generating revenue. The State of Inbound Report 2018 found that organizations with a service level agreement (SLA) between marketing and sales are three times as likely to be effective — but surprisingly, only 26% of respondents have a formal SLA.

Sales is a term used to describe the activities that lead to the selling of goods or services. Salespeople are responsible for managing relationships with potential clients (prospects) and providing a solution for prospects that eventually leads to a sale.

And marketing encompasses all activities that help spark interest in your business. Marketers use market research and analysis to understand the interests of potential customers. Marketing departments are responsible for running campaigns to attract people to the business’ brand, product, or service.

There are a few general differences between marketing and sales. For example, marketing focuses its efforts on the general public or larger groups of people, while sales targets smaller groups of people or subsets of the general public.

Marketing vs. Sales

To create a cohesive partnership between marketing and sales, we need to understand the core elements of each department.


Whether you’re writing a marketing or sales plan, both will include details about the history of the company and its overarching goals and initiatives. Then the plans dive into the aspects of the plan that are specific for each department.

The marketing plan lays out what the product is, its price, who it’ll be sold to, and where it will be sold. This is also known as the 4Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion. Goals are set, marketing channels are chosen, and a budget is made for the campaigns the marketing team plans to pursue.

Sales plans include details about the sales process, team structure, target market, and goals. Plus, the sales plan outlines the action plan, tools, and resources that will be used to hit these targets.


What are the key goals that marketing and sales set? Both departments have the primary focus to generate revenue for the company.

The primary goal of marketing is to look big picture and promote the company, product or service, and brand. Marketing departments are responsible for pricing the products and communicating how the product fills customers’ needs and wants. And its goals are often longer term because campaigns can span over the course of many months.

For sales, the focus is to hit quotas and sales volume goals — and these tend to be shorter term. Sales goals are often measured month over month. Targets are defined, and sales management calculates how much their department, teams, and individual salespeople need to sell to meet the overarching goal.

Jaxson henry
Jaxson henry
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