Do You Know the Difference between Sales and Marketing

There’s a fair amount of confusion in the marketplace about what constitutes sales, as opposed to marketing. According to Vistage speaker Thomas Wood-Young , it’s common for salespeople to call themselves “marketing representatives,” while marketing managers go about their business with no clear idea about what the sales process is and how it fits into their marketing efforts. Here Wood-Young clarifies the very different roles of sales and marketing.


  • Creating Perceptions, Generating Leads “Marketing is the single most important part of any business plan,” Wood-Young contends. “It outlines how customers will come to you and buy your products or services.”
  • This business-wide strategy defines:
  • Your target market
  • Pricing strategies
  • Use of sales channels
  • Your competitive advantage
  • Your market research objectives
  • Promotional plans
    “The primary role of marketing, in any business, is to communicate your message to the target market and generate inquiries or leads,” Wood-Young says. “This is the foundation underlying all promotional activities, from advertising and direct mail to telemarketing and activities on the Web.”Marketing also creates ideas in the customer’s mind about how the company’s products or services can meet his or her needs.”Obviously, someone has to be motivated to inquire about your business or buy your product,” Wood-Young says. “The perceptions created by your marketing efforts should directly support the sales process and assist the sales representative in closing sales. Perception is reality in the mind of the customer.”

    Producing Orders, Filling a Need

    Once your marketing efforts create the right perceptions, it’s time for the sales staff to step in. “Sales reps work with these perceptions, determining how to meet the prospect’s needs through personal interactions,” Wood-Young says. This process includes:

  • Asking probing questions
  • Listening closely
  • Presenting information
  • Handling objections
  • Asking for the sales, or closing
    “How these activities are conducted should be included in the company’s overall sales strategy – which in turn is part of a comprehensive marketing plan. The entire process must be linked together and supportive in each area.”According to Wood-Young, “absolute magic” comes when sales and marketing efforts are closely coordinated and work together to generate profitable results.”The most successful companies in business today plan their marketing activities to create a source of inquiries that can be sold through the sales process. These companies are masters of marketing and sales synergy and have the profits to show for it.”

    Thomas Wood-Young  is president of Wood-Young Consulting, a Colorado Springs, Colorado-based marketing and sales training firm.

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