Difference between Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing are the two functions within an organisation, which directly impact its revenue generation. The sales of a company depend largely on how its products and services are marketed to potential customers; thus presenting marketing as an inherent catalyst for generating sales.

While these functions are closely intertwined, there are several differences between sales and marketing. However, before delving further into their differences, it is first crucial to learn some more about what each of these terms implies for a business.


What is Sales?

A sale refers to a transaction between multiple entities (a minimum of two, a seller and a buyer), where the buyer acquires tangible or intangible goods and services in lieu of money. Sales can also refer to a contract between a seller and a buyer, with regards to the value of a security.

How does It Work?

In the context of sales, the seller who is the provider of goods or services has to complete a sale to acknowledge the requisition, acquisition or interaction with the buyer at the point of sales. 

This process involves the passing of ownership of said property, alongside settlement on a price by both parties. In this regard, it is crucial to remember that typically a seller executes a sale, and it may be completed before the obligation of payment by the purchaser.

However, in the context of a business, a sale involves several steps, wherein the goods and services are transferred from the manufacturer to a distributor, a distributor to the wholesaler, from wholesaler to retailer, and finally from the retailer to a customer.

What are Some of the Activities that can Strengthen Sales?

For any organisation, sale is perhaps the most important function that leads to revenue generation. While it might sound easy on paper, every business must undertake strategies that can help to boost the sales of their product and services. Without effective strategies in place, it becomes easy for a company’s products to get overwhelmed by competition, ultimately leading to the organisation’s loss.

To prevent this from happening, the following are a few ways through which a company can strengthen its sales – 

  1. Setting Specific Goals

To ensure maximum return of investment, it is crucial for a business to define their objectives. It is not always beneficial to set lofty goals. Instead, it is much more effective to analyse and set achievable targets that can help the company reach the target sales without a hitch.

  1. Analyse Past Sales

Analysing past sales record aids to evaluate their company’s performance effectively. This is key to setting realistic goals for the company in the future, through which they can maximize their sales for a year.

  1. Researching and Understanding Target Customers

It is not enough for a company to merely produce the best product they can, and expect a boost in their sales. It is also crucial to ensure that their products and services are relevant to their customers. Therefore, one of the most important strategies to boost the sales of a company is to analyse and understand the requirements of potential customers and pitch these products to them accordingly.

  1. Employing Marketing Strategies

Marketing is the function through which a company can make its products distinguishable from its competitors. By adopting marketing strategies, companies can boost the visibility of their brands among consumers and thus make way for an increase in their sales.

Herein lies the most significant difference between sales and marketing - Marketing is one of the strategies through which a company can increase its overall sales among customers.

However, before venturing into more sales and marketing differences, here is a broader look at what marketing ensues.

What is Marketing?

Marketing constitutes the activities that are undertaken by a company to promote the purchase and selling of their products and services. Advertising, selling, as well as making products deliverable to consumers are few of the activities that are included under marketing. 

The professionals working under a company’s marketing team employ measures through which they analyse the requirements of target consumers. In line with that, the company advertises its products to capture the attention of potential customers. 

Few of the common marketing strategies include – endorsements by celebrities, branding a product by using memorable packaging or designs, using catchy phrases, as well as, overall exposure to media.

What are Some of the Activities Undertaken for Marketing?

For a company, revenue generation depends largely on the efficient marketing of its products and services. Marketing allows the goods and services of a company to be distinguishable from its competitors. It also makes sure that the target customer is privy to the features and benefits that they can avail from said goods and services.

Following are the steps that companies undertake to market their business – 

  1. Conducting Market Research

Conducting extensive market research is the most important part of a comprehensive marketing strategy. By conducting market research, a company can collect information that helps them to acquire an insight into their customer’s buying patterns, thought process, location, etc. Market research, further, can allow a company to perform a sales forecast, alongside monitoring market trends.

  1. Profiling Target Customers

Segregating a customer base instead of promoting the products and services for everyone is much more cost-efficient and effective. Companies profile their target customers based on factors like location, behaviour, demographics, lifestyle, etc.

  1. Identifying the USP

USP or unique selling proposition refers to the factor that sets a company’s products apart from its customers – it helps the business to stand out from the crowd. It is thus crucial for businesses to define their USP and present the same to their customers, to provide them with a reason to choose the company’s products or services over others.

  1. Developing a Brand

Irrespective of their size, every business should establish itself as a brand in the market. Branding involves undertaking measures like creating a logo, adopting a colour scheme, or penning down a catchy tagline. With these few tricks, companies can make their products memorable for potential customers.

  1. Choosing Marketing Avenues

With the emergence of the digital platform, marketing has become much easier and cost-effective. Businesses can easily promote their goods and services through social media platforms or by creating a website and reach out to a wider customer base. Other traditional marketing avenues include handing out brochures, print advertising, etc.

  1. Ensuring Customer Satisfaction

Marketing does not merely encapsulate selling a product; it also involves following up with after-sales services to retain customers. Communicating with customers, delivering on promises and providing benefits to exceed initial expectations are some of the ways through which businesses can ensure optimum customer satisfaction. 

  1. Monitoring and Reviewing

Monitoring and reviewing marketing activities help to ensure that they are producing the desired result – an increase in sales. Reviewing marketing strategies on a regular basis allows businesses to avail real-time updates on whether they are effective, and make changes accordingly.

These are a few steps through which businesses market their products and services to potential customers, which leads to their sales.

Now that we have learnt sales and marketing meaning, the following is a look at the differences between them.

What are the Differences between Sales and Marketing?

Following is a table illustrating a comparison between sales and marketing that can demonstrate their differences with ease – 

Parameter

Sales

Marketing

Definition

Sale refers to the transaction of goods and services between two parties, where the purchaser receives tangible or intangible goods, services or assets in exchange for money.

Marketing refers to the systematic planning and implementation of activities that can help a buyer pitch and sell their goods/services to potential consumers.

Approach

For sales, a business’ primary objective is to ensure that its customer’s demands match the products that it currently offers.

Marketing involves undertaking a broader range of activities that can help to sell a company’s goods and services. It also helps to analyse the future needs of customers and adopt strategies to meet these needs and establish a relationship in the long term.

Scope

The scope of sales is limited to creating a product as per a customer’s requirements and persuading customers to purchase said product.

The scope of marketing is quite varied. It involves market research, sales, advertising, establishing relations with customers and ensuring customer satisfaction.

Focus 

To fulfil sales related objectives and boost sales volumes to generate maximum revenue.

Marketing aims to promote goods and services, price them, and fulfil the needs of customers through their distribution. Marketing also involves providing after-sales services to ensure that customers are satisfied with the products or services.

Process

Sales involve passing down of a product from a manufacturer to distributor, distributor to wholesaler, wholesaler to retailer and finally from retailer to customer.

Marketing involves analysing and researching the market, competitor products and services, distribution strategies, etc. It also includes pricing items, keeping track of sales and market share analysis.

Time-horizon

Short term process

Long term process

Priority 

Selling the product or service is the ultimate goal of marketing.

Marketing prioritises reaching out to a broader customer base and eventually establishing a solid relationship with them.

Identity

Sales simply include meeting the needs of customers and, in turn, generating revenue for the business.

Marketing involves the establishment of a brand’s unique identity so that customers can easily identify it for fulfilling their requirements.

Cost

Sale is the process through which the company generates revenue. However, the process leading up to the sale of goods and services involve substantial capital investment.

Even though the goal of marketing is revenue generation through a boost in sales, the process of marketing, in itself, can be cost-intensive. A business has to be prolific while investing in marketing strategies to ensure that they bear the desired results.


The above are the primary marketing sales differences in various strategies adopted by businesses. 

The difference between sales and marketing strategies can also be illustrated through a comparison between the activities undertaken to implement them. For instance,

  • Marketing Activity – 

The primary objective of marketing is to generate interest among potential customers regarding a product and create prospects surrounding it. Thus, marketing activities can include – 

  • Research on consumers

  • Development of the product

  • Advertising the product to inform potential customers

  • Pricing products as per their demand and supply for generating long-term revenue.


  • Sales Activity - 

The activities undertaken for sales focus on conversion of prospects into revenue through paying customers. Some of the sales-related activities include – 

  • Setting targets

  • Analysing past sales

  • Employing marketing strategies

  • Monitoring sales

While there are inherent differences between the two functions, the ultimate goal of each is to maximise revenue generation for the company.

To learn more about the difference between sales and marketing, alongside other topics from commerce, refer to our extensive online study material. We, at Vedantu, aim to provide a comprehensive view of each topic that can help you fetch the best grades in your upcoming examinations! You can also enrol in our live classes for a more detailed discussion on such topics. Make Vedantu your companion today for a more structured approach towards learning!

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is Marketing?

Ans. Marketing refers to the activities undertaken for the management of exchange-relationships. This involves the processes of identification, anticipation and satisfaction of a customer’s requirements by a company. These processes are implemented to attract potential customers and boost the sales of the company’s goods and services.

2. What is Sales?

Ans. Sales refer to a transaction between two or more parties, where the buyer receives tangible or intangible goods, services or assets in lieu of cash from the other party. Sales can also refer to an agreement between buyers and sellers regarding the price of a security.

3. What is the difference between Sales and Marketing?

Ans. Sales and marketing are functions within an organisation that leads to revenue generation. However, sales refer to the activities undertaken for selling goods and services; whereas marketing refers to roping in potential customers for the sale of said goods and services.

4. How is Sales Different From Marketing?

Ans. Sales refer to the activities undertaken for selling goods and services to customers. Marketing is one such activity undertaken for sales and involves reaching out to potential customers to generate their interest in the goods and services offered by the business.