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Sales and Marketing – The Difference

What does the sales and marketing department do?

Sales and marketing are terms often used interchangeably, but they have key differences in their crucial roles. Together, they push the business growth through sales as well as marketing efforts. Without them, business growth is akin to making a car without an engine.

But what are they? This article will review sales and marketing teams, their differences, functions, and how they push the business forward.

What are Marketing Teams?

Marketing teams are responsible for brand identity and lead generation. Leads are profiles of prospective buyers of a product or service, collected when they have entered and engaged one of the marketing funnels created through marketing efforts. The following are examples of these marketing efforts:

  • Market Research – Marketing teams are responsible for understanding the target audience and market. They do this through various forms of market research that can range from establishing surveys to gathering points of concern on social media. Understanding the problems that your potential customers have, as well as their behaviours, is vital for constructing a campaign, as the main reason people spend money is to attain a solution.
  • Developing Buyer Personas – Through gathering information about prospective buyers and creating a fictional representation of said people, you’ll be able to better understand your target audience’s needs. This will inform and facilitate the backbone of your campaign, such as content creation and advert messaging.
  • Branding and Messaging – Everything from colours to font, to tone of voice/illustration will be determined by the marketing team. They are trained in understanding the power of tools such as association, distinction and articulation required in crafting a recognisable and trusted brand.
  • Content Creation – Content creation is a tried and true part of marketing strategies, allowing for useful and engaging blog posts, videos, and infographics that can pull in a wider funnel of people and convert them into a lead. Incorporation of keywords can be used to target internet searches
  • Search Engine Optimisation – Websites have rankings, and improving those rankings puts more eyeballs on said websites. Using SEO strategies such as link building, keyword research and creating content will ensure Google’s trust in the site and give it more authority.
  • Email Marketing – By understanding the target audience, a marketing team can create email marketing campaigns for direct engagement. This tactic helps build relationships between a business and potential customers.
  • Marketing Analytics – Using a variety of analytic tools that track performance in detail, marketing efforts can be constantly adjusted, allowing for wide control of campaign management. Everything from the type of browser used down to how long a person stays on a page can be viewed and analysed, to further determine how to more effectively market your services or goods.

Overall, marketing teams create the framework for business growth. They create leads. These leads are then followed up upon by the Sales Team.

Strategy at Marketing

What are Sales Teams?

Sales teams facilitate deals that ultimately generate revenue for a company or business. They take leads that have been generated by the marketing department and turn them into paying customers.

  • Lead Qualification – Not all leads are equal. The sales department is responsible for qualifying leads to find out if they’re a good fit for the service or product. They do this by cross-referencing them with pre-determined criteria, such as industry, budget and alignment with buyer persona. This is important in sales and marketing efforts, to ensure that the time of both sales and marketing teams are spent efficiently.
  • Prospecting and Outreach – A vital part of customer acquisition is reaching out to new potential customers to find leads independent of the marketing team. Cold calling, for example, involves calling customers and using oral sales strategies to create a paying customer, or through the use of a channel that exists in both sales and marketing departments, email marketing. Sales reps can also attend industry events, trade shows, etc to network with potential customers and other professionals.
  • Needs Assessment – Understanding the needs of a prospect by evaluating their pain points, goals and challenges is how you create a sales strategy. This isn’t exclusive to sales teams, but considering sales reps are usually a lot more skilled in customer engagement, they are in a position to better understand a specific customer’s need. This information can be used to ensure sales and marketing alignment.
  • Product and Service Demonstration – Sales reps should be able to use their products, or demonstration of a service, to establish direct links between the benefits and features of a product and a customer’s needs. Through good rapport building, a sales rep can identify a customer’s needs and tailor the entire demonstration to create a climax to the customer journey.
  • Negotiation – Sales professionals are equipped with good conversational skills that allow them to navigate negotiations effectively for good outcomes. The process of agreeing involves an understanding of alternatives, the prospect’s concerns and priorities, and essentially a salesperson’s ability to craft a win-win situation.
  • Customer Relationship Management – Sales teams use centralised software systems that gather vast amounts of customer data. This data includes contact information and interaction history, as well as where they are in the customer journey. This is a vital part of the sales funnel and is used for efficiency in pursuing and closing deals.

The Importance of having a Sales Department

How do Sales and Marketing Teams interact?

While Sales and Marketing teams share the goal of increasing a business’s revenue, their approaches differ.

Sales have a laser focus on immediate revenue generation and closing deals. They operate via sales targets and measure their success via short-term metrics. The marketing team plays the long game, setting up infrastructure that can facilitate lead generation that can later be actioned upon.

They interact in some of the following ways:

  • Shared Technology – Both marketing and sales teams use CRMS and marketing automation. This creates visibility of goals and information that both can contribute and form plans based on.
  • Feedback Loops – Communication between marketing and sales teams provides clear customer acquisition insights and quality of leads. Marketing needs to know what makes a lead sales-ready, and bases much of their marketing strategies on acquiring those exact leads.
  • Joint Participation – Marketing teams know how to set up infrastructure, but they typically don’t have in-depth information on every client they work for. This leads to cooperation between sales and marketing efforts, as Sales teams require knowledge of what each client offers to facilitate deals.

Building Strong Sales and Marketing Partnerships

Having your sales and marketing departments work closely together can provide exponential business growth.

  • Shared Goals and Metrics – Move beyond a target for individual teams and instead establish joint KPIs. This can align sales and marketing efforts on growth objectives, such as revenue targets, lead conversion rates etc.
  • Team Integration – Integrate the marketing and sales teams by ensuring they meet regularly, and communicate over informal channels. This can build camaraderie and encourage open dialogue about the campaign.
  • Expertise Respect – Sales reps hold valuable customer insights whilst marketers understand the research. Encouraging mutual learning sessions can lead to more informed marketing and sales activities.


Overall, Sales and Marketing teams are both vital in the revenue generation of a business. Both hit the bottom line in different ways, with one taking advantage of massive opportunities of the naturally shifting market, and the other being a long-term and stable set of practices. Only by enhancing both departments and ensuring close communication can business objectives be met. 


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