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Marketing vs Sales: What is the difference?

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

Marketing and sales are the essences of a business. On the one hand, marketing helps your company create awareness and lure customers into making a purchase. On the other hand, sales are the final part of the marketing process and help your company continue regular operations and generate more revenue.

Marketing vs Sales

Unfortunately, many companies do not respect the differences between these two departments, and it becomes a friendly company battle, marketing vs sales. These departments should not fight each other. They need to work as a team to ensure a company's success.

In this article, we'll explore the differences between these vital departments. Both functions are critical to the buyer's journey. By acknowledging that the alignment between departments is vital, you will understand how marketing and sales are distinguished. This knowledge will give a clear view of a company's selling process.


Before diving into the battle of marketing vs sales, we need to understand the definitions of each one. Starting with marketing, we will use Investopedia's definition. According to Investopedia, marketing refers to activities a company undertakes to promote the buying or selling a product or service. Marketing includes advertising, selling, and delivering products to consumers or other businesses.

With the definition in mind, we can now explore a little bit more of this subject. Marketing is a discipline that involves all of the actions a company undertakes to get its product to its target audience. To put it on the simplest terms, marketing seeks to match a company's products to customers who need (or want) those products or services.


Sales are what move a company forward. A sale is a transaction between two or more parties in which the buyer receives tangible or intangible goods, services, or assets in exchange for money. To complete a sale, both the buyer and the seller must agree with the terms of purchase. These terms include price, quantity, and delivery.

For example, if you are buying two gallons of water from your local market, the marketplace determines the price. You agree to the cost of one gallon of water and decide to take two; this is the quantity. Finally, you carry the products to the register, pay for them and take them home. This last process is the delivery.

Marketing vs Sales

Now that you have understood both concepts in their entirety, we can look at their differences. To differentiate marketing sales, we must look at different aspects that make them stand apart. These aspects include Goals, Strategies, Prospects, and Tools. You can find the characteristics of each one below.


The first thing a new company has to have are goals. Goals help a company improve a company's effectiveness while keeping track of different metrics that allow you to measure success. The marketing team's primary objective is to see the big picture and explain how their products benefit the widest audience possible. Marketing generates leads.

In contrast, a sales team must base their goals on the number of products sold. Sales goals are usually measured in a shorter time than marketing goals, like months and financial quarters. The sales team is responsible for selling the company's product or service to keep the business operational.


Strategies are what define a business. They help their workers create a plan to attract more customers or persuade consumers to become buyers. Marketing strategies gather information about their targeted audience to see which type of content they are more attracted to. Once this process is settled, the team will test those strategies via advertising, surveys, newsletters, and blogs.

Sales strategies work differently than marketing strategies. The sales team must connect with potential buyers, listen to their needs and concerns, and transform them into loyal paying customers. They also use sales channels to effectively perform their strategies, such as phone calls, client nurturing, and sales agencies.


Prospects are the consumers' candidates to buy a product or service from your company. These candidates are responsible for buying your products and keeping the company afloat. The difference between marketing and sales prospects is apparent. While the marketing department scours the internet or the local market searching for new candidates, the sales team is responsible for delivering the product to the new candidates.

In this particular case, we can see how the marketing and the sales team work together. First, the marketing team will launch a campaign to attract potential buyers and convince them to try a particular product or service. Second, the sales team is responsible for completing the purchase with reasonable pricing, discounts, and upselling techniques.


Last on this compare and contrast article; we'll be looking into the tools each department uses. Both teams will have a database that will help them manage relationships with contacts, no matter where the customer is currently positioned in the buyer's journey. One of the most important tools for both departments is social media.

Social media is a channel that engages audiences from all over the world and can help a company interact with its current customers and potential buyers. You can use it to promote sales and discounts or use it as a part of your social selling strategy.

Below you can find other examples the marketing and sales teams use.

Marketing Tools
  • Conversion Rate Optimization

  • Search Engine Optimization

  • Project Management

  • Data Reporting Software

  • Content Creation

Sales Tools
  • Documentation

  • Meetings

  • Email management

  • Invoicing Software

  • Point of Sale Systems

Eliminate the Marketing vs Sales Battle

Now that you have learned the specific differences between marketing and sales, it is time to get them working together. You must create a plan of action that includes both departments and open ways of communication between them.

One great way to accomplish this mission is by setting an agreement between both parties. This agreement will help you and your teams understand the necessities of each department and plan strategies that will help the company achieve its goals in all fields.

When marketing and sales are aligned, the business will attract more potential buyers through the marketing team. After generating those leads, the sales team will be responsible for persuading the potential customers to become loyal clients of the company.


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