A widespread confusion among business owners and entrepreneurs is understanding the difference between two essential concepts: marketing and sales. When someone is confused about these terms, the way we know is when they use them interchangeably—and this happens a lot. The truth is that marketing and sales are two similar functions that complement each other to help you earn revenue, but each is distinctly different. To grow your business, you want to have both, but first, it’s essential to understand the difference between them.
What Is Marketing?
The goal of any business is to increase revenue, and that happens by attracting customers. But no one becomes your customer without first knowing who you are and how you can help them. Knowing these personas is the function of marketing. Marketing is essentially any action or messaging that introduces your business to prospective customers and educates them about what you do to make them desire your product or service. Hubspot puts it succinctly: “Marketing encompasses all activities that help spark interest in your business.”
It’s important to understand that marketing isn’t a one-and-done deal. For marketing to work, as marketing expert Carlos Sapene says, “your marketing must have cohesive, consistent and most importantly, persistent messaging.” That way, people become familiar with your brand name and what you offer when looking for something the product or service you may be selling. Marketing expert Dr. Jeffrey Lant talks about the “Rule of Seven,” which suggests you need to make at least seven “touchpoints” with a person before they buy from you. Other researchers say it can take as many as 20 touchpoints!
What Is Sales?
If marketing aims to generate interest in your company, the goal of sales is to get people to buy from your company. Sales is the process of creating specific offers to exchange value—namely, the value of your product/service for the money you’re asking the customer to pay. For sales to be successful, you need three things to happen:
- The potential customer must already have an interest in your product/service (which is accomplished through marketing);
- They must believe what you’re offering will meet their need and solve their problem; and
- They must accept that the solution you’re providing is worth the money you’re asking.
How Marketing and Sales Work Together
One of the best ways to understand the difference between marketing and sales is to see how they function together to produce results for your business. Now that we’ve defined these terms separately, here are some easy ways to remember how they relate to each other:
- Marketing is about generating leads; sales is about converting those leads into customers.
- Marketing creates interest in your company; sales creates interest in a specific product or service your company offers.
- Marketing is about getting people interested; sales is about getting them to commit.
To gain an even deeper understanding of the differences between marketing and sales, be sure to check out the Wicked Marketing podcast on “Why Marketing Is Confused with Sales.” To learn more about how to increase revenue through marketing, reach out to Wicked Bionic today.