Sales Vs. Marketing: Same Thing?

Sales Vs. Marketing: Are They The Same Thing?

As long as there’s been a debate on the pronunciation of potato and tomato, there’s been a debate about Sales and Marketing. Aren’t they the same? If you answered yes, then keep reading.

In many companies and organizations I see Sales and Marketing as a combined job. On the lowest levels it’s companies praying on those fresh college Marketing students who want a job. They say if they market correctly, then they will make a commission on the sale. What they don’t tell you is that its a commission only job – a sales job.

Marketing is a hard one for companies to swallow. They see it as this pit that sucks up resources and money, with no immediate returns. They’d much rather have a Salesperson making those calls and getting in orders. It’s easy for them to calculate an ROI on Sales. Joe makes $100K a year but brings in the company $1,000,000 a year. I’d happily exchange $100K for $1MM.

On the surface, these two jobs do come off as the same. I’ll even go as far to say as they are very closely related by working together to accomplish each other’s goals. However, they are definitely two different entities of business.

In short, the Marketers goal is to raise brand awareness – to get that product in front of people. The Salespersons job is to then take that lead created by the Marketers and complete the sale.

Breaking Down Sales Vs. Marketing

The problem usually arises from two different scenarios. First is the small entrepreneur who was doing both these jobs themselves and didn’t realize it’s a task that should be split up and focused on seperately. The second is those people who are just too ignorant and like to give blanket job descriptions to employees so they can pay one employee for five different jobs.

People only buy for two reasons. First, it’s a necessity. People will automatically buy toilet paper, eggs, and other necessities for life. The second and more important, is good feelings. People buy things because it makes them feel good. Do they really need that ’66 Mustang? No, but it makes them feel good inside.

Marketers jobs are to tap into those good feelings and help those people. That’s through the exercise of brand management and advertising. When properly done, potential customers are aware of your brand, have a good image in their head of that brand, and know your product.

At that point, it’s the Sales persons job to come in and complete the sale. This might be through pricing negotiations, letting the client know why their product is better than a competitors, or any number of details. They too have to tap into those good feelings to let their potential customer know why they want this product. I always say they need to help somebody. In my experience I don’t sell – I help. I’m helping them purchase something that I feel they need. I’ll never sell somebody something they don’t need or want. Going back to my previous post, don’t tell the customer how great your grass seed is, tell them how great their lawn is going to look. If the marketer has already done their job, they already know about your grass seed.

As you can see, the jobs between a Salesperson and Marketer are vastly different, yet tie into each other on a deep level. They rely on each but aren’t related. Think of a car’s wheels. The rubber tire needs the steel wheel to work but the tire is doing a much different job than the steel wheel. You need both the wheel and the tire to go smoothly down the road. Sure you could not use a tire, but how smoothly will your car drive with just steel wheels and no tires?