For any company selling a product the concepts of marketing and sales are very important as they can mean the difference between success and failure. While they are often used interchangeably or grouped together they are two different concepts and it is important to understand those differences. This article will help you understand both concepts clearly when it comes to Marketing vs. Sales.
Sales refers to the short term need to close a sale, get an agreement signed, or ultimately do what needs to be done to sell whatever it is you are selling. Sales techniques and strategies are really based on what it takes to 'close the deal', which is crucial to any business. If you get customers in the door but cannot get them to buy a product, there is a problem with your sales strategy. Sales strategies are focused on the individual buyer and what needs to be done for them to pull out their wallet, or click on the buy button when it comes to online selling. Companies typically set sales volume targets for a period (weeks, months, and quarters) and have strategies in place where the individuals responsible for actually selling can make those targets.
Marketing is a longer term concept than sales and relates to forward looking strategies to understand customer needs, influence customer perceptions, and identify how a company can capitalize on that. The end result of the marketing process, and what it directly supports, is making sales easier. Marketing techniques and strategies are really based on what it takes to identify the right product mix, the prices for those products, and what needs to be communicated to target customers (via advertisement) in order to ensure successful sales. One of the key aspects of marketing strategies is building a brand identity for what a company is selling and this varies from company to company. McDonalds obviously brands their food and advertising far differently than a luxury steakhouse would do. While sales is really the 'push' to buy the product once the customer is there, marketing is the 'pull' that gets the customer to you in the first place. When marketing is done effectively it can also make sales a far easier job for a company, as the customer can already be convinced and ready to buy by the time they actually enter your store (or website). Sales can still succeed without very effective marketing but it certainly makes the job more difficult.
When considering marketing vs. sales the important thing for any business owner is to ensure that you are considering both aspects of your overall sales and marketing cycle. With many businesses, marketing and sales are both managed by the same department or even the same individuals due to the fact that they need to be closely related. For example, sales strategies need to incorporate the same messaging as the marketing messages in order to be effective and maximize the chances of successfully making a sale. Focusing on both the 'pull' and the 'push' effectively will ensure that your business is positioned to succeed.