Marketing and Sales: Why the confusion?

July 17, 2008 Blog

All too often we work with companies that interchange the words sales and marketing when talking about business development . We view them as very different yet both crucial to business development.

Here’s how we define the difference between sales and marketing.

Sales is the art of helping a client discovering their compelling reasons for buying our service. Sales is any client interactions during official or unofficial situations that may result in new business. It also includes the activities you perform within your company to prepare proposals, bids and/or presentations.

Sales is also anytime you interact with a client when you are negotiating a project where issues are discussed and mutually agreeable resolution results.

Examples of this are:

  • Meetings/phone conversations with decision-makers
  • Meetings/phone conversations with informal decision-makers
  • Proposal/Presentation development
  • Internal team meetings to discuss account
  • Interactions with strategic alliances about opportunities
  • Meetings/phone conversations to develop strategic alliances and referral sources
  • Dealing with clients regarding current projects


Marketing is the creation of opportunities for selling situations. It encompasses many research and promotional activities aimed at understanding the marketplace, the services or products that our potential market desires or needs, the competition present in this market and finally, the prices the market is willing to pay for services or products we offer. Most importantly, marketing efforts are aimed at increasing the level of awareness of the company and its offerings. Once awareness is raised, i.e., someone calls our office, the sales process takes over. Marketing, therefore, supports sales and when successful, results in leads and incoming calls for services to District offices.

Marketing activities include:

  • Logo and Brand development
  • Developing brochures and promotional materials
  • Advertisements
  • Trade Shows
  • Educational Seminars
  • Publishing newsletters and articles
  • Sponsoring Events
  • Public Relations: letting the media know what you are doing
  • Attending Networking Events
  • Researching business opportunities


Sales is what drives bottom line results; marketing is an expense that brings buyers to the table. The skills needed to be successful in sales are very different from success in marketing; both however are necessary in business development. In the end, the skill and art of moving a buyer from interest to a ‘yes’ defines the success of the company. The best ROI you can get is to invest in developing your company’s sales skills. The next best is to ensure that your marketing efforts support your sales efforts and that you constantly measure the results you are getting from both your sales and marketing efforts.