What Is the Difference Between Sales and Marketing?

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The sales and marketing divisions within a company can be viewed as the fraternal twins of the business world. They share the same corporate parents, fight over who gets the upper hand, and wonder which one their corporate and board of directors chairman and chairwoman likes best. Each division has its own character, life, and identity. Like good parents, the best corporations institute best corporate practices to make sure they both get along and work together collaboratively to ensure that the company achieves its objectives and goals.

The Role of Marketing: Finding Opportunities To Generate Revenue

Marketing takes a holistic view on how to position products, brands, and services to create a need that results in an increased number of purchases or clients. The sales division takes identified needs and directly presents the product to the business targets to achieve sales orders. At the end of the day, marketing looks at the world of possibilities to generate revenue. Sales develop tactics to close orders and achieve the revenue goals.

The marketing department of an organization sets the overall strategy to achieve set goals and provides leadership and guidance to the sales department. Marketing personnel identify the target customers and clients for the company’s brands or services and the best retail, distribution, and advertising channels to reach the targets in order to get them to buy products or become clients for the company’s services.

The Role of Sales: Is Revenue the Same As Sales?

Achieving set and assigned sales revenue goals is the primary role of the sales department and staff. Goals are established for the sales team to achieve in terms of the number of products sold, customers or clients gained, and sales revenue on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis. ‘¨’¨ For example, the marketing department can set a goal to achieve distribution for a line of spaghetti sauce in 500 stores that sell food products. The sales department then initiates efforts to achieve the goals and identifies the best opportunities to reach the goals (grocery stores, convenience stores, “big box” superstores, and more).

Collaboration: How Marketing and Sales Work Together To Achieve the Same Goals for an Organization

While the lead role of a marketing department might seem dictatorial, in practice, it is not. Marketing departments rely on feedback and insights from the sales department to assess marketing strategies and to identify opportunities for improvement. Under best practices, the sales department should then use this guide to contribute ideas and strategies to maximize the fulfillment of the overall goals and objectives of the organization.

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The sales department essentially “owns” the direct relationship with retail buyers and a closer understanding of consumer and end-users purchasing behaviors. Sales team members are inside of stores and meeting with buyers on a day-to-day basis. They are also aware of what competing brands and service providers are doing in the marketplace in terms of pricing and promotions. This enables the sales force to provide highly instrumental marketing information to assist and improve overall marketing efforts.

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Sales Members Are the Marketplace “First Responders”

Sales team members are inside of stores and meeting with buyers on a day-to-day basis. They are also aware of what competing brands and service providers are doing in the marketplace in terms of pricing and promotions. This enables the sales force to provide highly instrumental marketing information to assist and improve overall marketing efforts. For example, the sales team might provide information that prices need adjusting for a specific retailer or within a retail channel like grocery stores or pharmacies to increase sales orders. This information is used to readjust pricing, sales projections and develop incentives to exploit opportunities to increase sales based on what retailers want.

Marketing Directs Strategies To Drive Revenue and Increase Sales

Meanwhile, members of the marketing team have direct relationships with brand managers and decision-makers who usually do not have direct contact with consumers and product users but have direct responsibilities to make sure that overarching corporate goals and objectives are met. Marketing team members serve as a “brain trust,” utilizing their knowledge of corporate goals, industry trends, and high-level client expectations to develop actionable strategies. A difference of a tenth of a percent in market share points can equate to millions of dollars in losses for major corporations. Marketing team members are ultimately accountable for devising innovative and corrective strategic actions to increase a company’s market share and kick dust in the face of competitors.

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