What’s the difference between sales and marketing?

by rob

Sales and marketing are the two major components needed to run a successful business. Both work together with the aim of finding, attracting and retaining customers for a company.

Yet while both sales and marketing are integral features of this overall process, they might be viewed by some as separate functions, especially if their teams work as individualised departments, each focused on its own strategies and activities.  

This can result not simply in a lack of vital streams of communication between the sales and marketing teams, but in each department failing to provide full and effective support for the other. 

What is sales?

Sales is all about every stage of the process of facilitating and completing a sales transaction, from finding prospective customers to creating conversions.

This can involve sales reps who deal with customers one to one, either in person or remotely, and even make cold calls.

The reps will be overseen by sales managers who might train them, see they have all the necessary tools, ensure they stick to the sales strategy, and meet sales targets.

Then there are account executives whose overall responsibility is bringing in new business, preparing sales proposals, meeting clients and closing deals.

Sales doesn’t only involve getting customers; it can also include the ‘customer success’ function which focuses on keeping them by developing positive relationships with existing clients and ensuring renewed sales. 

What is marketing?

Marketing is all about devising strategies that reach, attract and persuade potential customers that your product or service is right for them.

A company’s marketing department will devise a brand strategy to decide how the company should present itself – from the design of its products and website, to the language it uses when talking to customers. 

Along with this, the marketing department will conduct market research to determine who those customers are likely to be.

Next come marketing channel strategies, designed to attract the target audience using social media, email, digital advertising, direct mail, public relations, all activities that are handled by marketing team specialists.

What is the difference between sales and marketing?

As outlined above, it’s the job of marketing to build awareness with a target audience and attract leads to your business, while the job of sales is to convert those leads into customers. 

But for marketing and sales departments to work effectively together, it’s imperative that they build strong communications links to ensure that data and research are shared across the teams. 

On-going two-way-way communication and relevant timely feedback is absolutely essential so that both sides of the business equation effectively work as one – which of course they are. 


As marketing and communications agency specialists for over 35 years, Alchemis understand the nuances between sales and marketing and how the two need to work together to achieve an impactful new business pipeline.

We can help you grow if your company provides any service that would fit under a marketing, communications, creative, research or digital banner.