Sales vs Marketing: What is The Difference Between Sales and Marketing?

The world is witnessing an age of capitalization. Everything comes with a price tag on it. There are advertisements for a diverse range of products and services around us and we are tempted to try them at least once.

While it may not catch everyone’s eye, there is a deep mechanism behind the whole process of demand creation and satisfaction. There are strategies and forces working together constantly to make production and distribution possible. Sales and marketing happen to be among them.

Although sales and marketing aren’t poles apart, there are significant differences between them. And for anyone who wishes to take on sales/marketing roles, it is crucial to understand their nuances and differences. 

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What are Sales?

The process of a transaction between a buyer and a seller where the seller gives a product or service to the buyer and the buyer gives a pre-decided sum of money or something of a similar value in return to the seller is referred to as “sales.” 

Objectives of sales:

  • To increase company revenue by increasing the sale of products.
  • To bring in new customers and work on retaining existing customers.
  • To enhance the process of sales by adopting trending practices, automating, and conducting diligent research. 
  • To increase cross-sells and upsells by regularly monitoring the company database for opportunities.
  • To increase the productivity of sales representatives by focusing on reducing cycle time and maximizing win rates.

What are the benefits of sales promotion?

Some of the benefits of sales promotion are as follows – 

  1. Increase product awareness
  2. Activate dormant customers
  3. Keeps the audience engaged
  4. Build brand reputation 
  5. Promotes ageing product 
  6. Increase sales volume 
  7. Stand out from competitors
  8. Customer satisfaction 
  9. Gain audience insights 

What are the different types of sales promotion?

Some of the different types of sales promotion are –

  1. Samples
  2. Coupons
  3. Premium offers 
  4. Free trials 
  5. Bundling
  6. Refunds 

What is Marketing?

Marketing refers to a collation of different activities that businesses embrace to increase brand awareness and the sales of their products/services while also enhancing customer-brand relationships. 

Objectives of marketing:

  • To increase the sale of new products and services.
  • To increase the profit of a company.
  • To develop an awareness of the business.
  • To maximize lead generation.
  • To promote productive relations with new and existing customers and hence, promote loyalty.
  • To increase traffic on the website and other digital platforms, thereby, increasing digital presence.
  • To save time and cost.
  • To include new markets.

What are the benefits of marketing promotion?

Some of the benefits of marketing promotion are –

  1. It helps in increasing brand awareness
  2. Attracts potential customers
  3. Increases sales ROI 
  4. It helps in standing out from competitors
  5. Improving brand image 
  6. Support other business operations 
  7. Building brand loyalty 

What are the different types of marketing promotion?

Some of the different types of marketing promotion are –

  1. Personal selling
  2. Direct marketing
  3. Public relations
  4. Advertisements
  5. Sales promotion

Also Read: Marketing vs Advertising

Differences Between Sales and Marketing

It may be confusing for the layman but anyone can tell the difference between sales and marketing if they have a slightly deeper understanding of how a business functions. 

It is easy to understand what sales and marketing represent when we look at each separately. Now, we’ll indulge in a comparative analysis of both!

1. The Meaning

The term “sales” is exactly what it sounds like. It means to give something on behalf of receiving something. Herein, two parties are involved — the buyer and the seller. There are two elements involved as well — the product or the service that is being sold and the money or something of equal value that is being offered. 

The seller sells the product or the service in exchange for money or a thing of equal value to the buyer. 

On the flip side, marketing is all about promoting sales. It is not limited to one activity; it plays several roles to promote sales. Marketing starts with sensing what the customers need and ends with safely and profitably satisfying their demands.

2. The Focus

A sales team is driven by the needs of the business. If the business needs more flow of cash, a sales team will do everything in its power to make that happen. 

Marketing focuses on the needs of the market. The team closely studies the market and customer demands and communicates the findings to the managers and senior executives who then take the necessary decisions.

3. The Orientation

Sales are always product/service-oriented. This is because the main goal here is to boost the sale of a particular service or product. 

Marketing is more customer-oriented. Today, when brands are increasingly becoming customer-centric, it is crucial to deliver stellar customer experiences and quality products. Marketing helps promote a brand’s products to the target audience and increase overall customer satisfaction. 

4. The Life Cycle

The duration of sales is short. A sales team is encouraged to reduce the life cycle of sales. Like we said earlier, sales are highly product-oriented. So, a sales team only focuses on specific sales-related tasks that last for a short duration.  

Marketing, on the other hand, is a long-term affair. From market research to after-sales services, marketing involves numerous moving parts.

5. The Methodology

Sales take a fragmented approach since its primary focus is to sell everything that has been produced. 

Marketing opts for a more integrated approach. It not only cares about selling all that has been produced but also focuses on satisfying the demands and requirements of the consumers. It integrates everything from the objects of the business to the wishes of the consumers.

6. The Target

Sales target an individual or a small group of people because that is the maximum number of people that traditional sales can focus on at a given period of time. 

Marketing is aimed at casting a net far and wide to attract more potential customers and extend an organisation’s reach to a wider audience base.

7. The Relationship 

Members of a sales team maintain a one-to-one relationship with their buyers because that’s the maximum number of people they can concentrate on while selling something, be it a product or a service. 

Marketing has a one-to-many relationship as it reads the needs of the entire market and works on satisfying them while profiting the brand. 

8. The Scope

The scope of sales is limited to the selling of the product while maximizing the profit. It is a single activity with a single aim.  

The scope of marketing is very extensive. It involves sales, advertising, customer support, and after-sales service, among other things. And each of these activities is just as important as the other.

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9. The Technique

Even though sales comprise only one activity, there are several ways of enhancing it.

This could be through:

  • Discounts 
  • Special offers
  • Price promotions, among others

However, a sales team is instructed to keep the discount and offers in check so as not to affect the profit margin greatly.  

With marketing, there is only one technique even though it encompasses a number of strategies and tasks. The idea is to foster a mutually profitable equation with the buyers by integrating the needs and wants of the brand with those of the customer.

10. The Goal

Sales have one aim and it is to maximize profit by boosting sales. This reflects the business’s objectives and interests.

Marketing aims at maximizing the profits of the brand along with satisfying the needs of the customer. The idea is to create a sustainable brand image. 

11. The Objective

The main objective of sales is to turn potential buyers into final buyers. 

Marketing has the objective of figuring out what the customers need and then creating sellable products and services to satisfy those needs.

12. The Expertise Required

To get into the world of sales, one has to have excellent conversational skills and strong persuasion and negotiation powers. 

Marketing professionals must be proficient in market-research. They must also possess analytical, social media, project management, automation, and CRM (customer relationship management) soft skills.

13. The Rule Followed

The Caveat Emptor rule is followed in sales. It implies that it is up to the buyer to ascertain the quality of a product, defects (if any), and warranty instructions before making a purchase. 

The Caveat Venditor is followed in marketing. This frees the buyers of the burden since the onus is on the suppliers to inform customers of the quality of the product or cover the product under warranty if such a situation arises. 

14. Operation

The sales process is simple – transactions are made between buyers and sellers. 

Marketing is more about identifying and satisfying the needs of the customers.

Approach the difference between sales and marketing with the example

Sales Marketing
Present situation centric Future situation centric
Delivers short-term advantage Delivers long-term sustainable advantage
Human interaction driven  Metrics-driven 
Focused on one-on-one transactions Focused on one-to-many transactions
Close leads Generate leads
Communicate with potential prospects Communicate with the market

A soft drink brand advertising on billboards, TV, and social media to spread awareness about their product is an example of marketing. Whereas, the selling and purchasing of the soft drink would be considered as an example of sales.

Skills difference between sales vs marketing

The skill difference between sales and marketing is depicted below

Sales Marketing
Product knowledge Analytical
Customer service Leadership
Data analysis Public speaking
Upselling and cross-selling Competitive Research
Negotiation skills Search Engine Optimisation and Marketing
Prospecting AI and Machine Learning
Emotional intelligence Content Strategy

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Soft skills in sales vs marketing 

Although there are sales vs marketing differences in hard skills for both fields. Soft skills also differ but there are some common requirements for soft skills for both fields. Some of those are mentioned below-

  1. Management and leadership
  2. Design thinking
  3. Creativity 
  4. Critical thinking 
  5. Collaboration
  6. Adaptability 
  7. Emotional intelligence
  8. Persuasion 
  9. Sales skills
  10. Social skills 
  11. Communication skills 
  12. Multitasking 
  13. Willingness to experiment 
  14. Quick learner

Also Read: Sales Interview Questions and Answers

Top MBA Skills


For any organisation, it is important that both its sales and marketing teams work in tandem to attract more leads and revenue. As per a recent study, companies whose marketing and sales teams work in alignment with each other witness 20% revenue growth. Whereas companies that don’t ensure this experience a 4% decline in their revenues. 

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Is it necessary to have sales experience to get into marketing jobs?

No, it is not necessary to have sales experience to enter marketing roles. However, having some experience in sales could be invaluable to those who wish to grow their career path in marketing roles. This is because a sales background could give you valuable insights into the way customers think, what customers look for while making decisions to purchase a product or service, how to get insights into the competition, and more. On the other hand, you can easily get marketing roles if you pursue an MBA in marketing from a good institute. Depending on their interest, domain skills and the organisation’s requirements, many people even move laterally within the organisation into marketing roles.

Does marketing pay more than sales?

Not necessarily. Both sales and marketing are pivotal roles in any organisation, and each has a well-defined function. Sales jobs are more about directly selling the organisation’s goods and services to customers, as well as managing new requirements from existing customers. On the other hand, marketing jobs involve using different ways to identify target audiences, inform them about products and services, and then convince them to visit the organisation’s various channels to enquire or make a purchase. Thus, sales jobs may initially start with lower salaries, but depending on one’s talent, it is possible to earn a very good amount through incentives or commissions and grow quickly in their career. Marketing jobs may have better-starting salaries, which could plateau after a certain point.

What is better for a corporate career – sales or marketing?

It depends on your interest and how you envision your career path. If you like meeting new people every day, respond well to targets, are ambitious and competitive by nature, and have excellent negotiation skills, a sales job would be an excellent choice. It is also a very good idea to work in sales if you plan on eventually starting or managing your own business. On the other hand, if you are creative by nature and have very good analytical & communication skills, a career in marketing would be a better choice. A lot of people interested in marketing or business strategy also begin their careers in sales.

Do marketing and sales work together?

Yes, marketing and sales work together. Both of these aim to achieve higher revenue and work with leads. Both teams work collaboratively in order to achieve the destined aim. Marketing is aimed t better strategy development, whereas the sales team works towards implementing those strategies.

What are the 7 P’s in marketing?

The seven P’s of marketing include - product, pricing, place, promotion, physical evidence, people, and processes.

What are the skills required for sales and marketing?

The skills required for sales and marketing are mentioned below- 1. Sales - Prospecting, Product awareness, Communication, and Active listening. 2. Marketing - Lead generation, Product, branding, Technical skills, and Critical thinking.

What is the first rule of sales?

The first rule of sales is always to know your product. The other rules of sales are - Change your vocabulary, Identify the prospects,First apply your head and then take it forward with your heart, Focus on relationship building, and Focus on closure.

What is the first rule of marketing?

The first rule of marketing is to be found. The other rules of marketing are - Behavioral segmentation, demographic division, Integrate channels, Data-driven marketing, and Forming continuous relationships.

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