Sales vs. Marketing: Working Smarter, Not Harder

Sales and marketing are functions that are often confused. These departments tend to work closely together, or should, in order to succeed. Because they are often very active at the same point in the sales process, they can step on each other’s toes. Sometimes marketing is even called “sales enablement” to the chagrin of marketers everywhere. The truth is that there is a special place for both salespeople and marketers and they have their own roles and responsibilities that help to close the sale. Where does one stop and the other begin?

Salespeople generally work directly with clients to assess needs, provide product/service information, overcome objections, and make a sale. They also build relationships, provide tier-one support, and deliver presentations or demonstrations. Marketing will perform some of these functions like assessing needs or delivering presentations but instead of individuals, marketing works with a target market or segment. So, part of the difference is in the number of people each role addresses. It’s also about the timing.

Marketers are generally responsible for the brand of certain products/services or for the department or company as a whole. They attempt to connect with potential buyers to make them aware of offerings, collect their information (lead generation), and pass “warm” leads to the salesperson to then provide individual attention. They might also circle back after that lead has purchased a product or service to obtain a testimonial or review that can then be used to attract more potential customers. You can see how the functions overlap and crossover. As a result, sharing information from marketing to sales and back again can improve effectiveness, customer relationships, and revenue. Sometimes, however, a team might feel guarded about sharing too much information for fear of criticism or even job loss. But it all comes down to nurturing the customer. In order to nurture the customer, both sales and marketing need to know more information about the customer.

One of the common goals of both sales and marketing is increased revenue; nurturing the customer can help accomplish this goal. If you can understand and solve a problem for your customer with a product or service, they will be much more loyal. If you ask your customer for feedback, and implement some of that feedback, they will be much more loyal. Showing appreciation is another great way to nurture your customer and increase loyalty, repeat sales, and referrals. Both sales and marketing can nurture the same customers, as long as they keep each other informed. Then, their combined efforts work together to achieve their common goal.

Check out “Chapter 11: Nurturing the Customer,” in my book B.U.D. Better, Unique, & Desirable: The Sales Process That Gets Results for more ideas on how to nurture the customer!


Additional Resources:

Hart, M. (2021, July 21). What’s the Difference Between Sales and Marketing? A Simple & Easy Primer. HubSpot. Retrieved June 6, 2022, from,goods%20and%20services%20being%20sold

Indeed Editorial Team. (2021, November 2). Marketing vs. Sales (With Definitions and Differences). Indeed. Retrieved June 6, 2022, from

Kotler, P., Rackham, N., & Krishnaswamy, S. (2006). Ending the War Between Sales and Marketing. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved June 6, 2022, from

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