Marketing Vs Selling - The Basics

Published: 11/12/2016 - 08:20
marketing vs sales

As a business owner, startup founder, entrepreneur, marketing professional or someone who is looking to grow their business chances are you haven't given much thought to the marketing vs sales question.  

Sales Vs Marketing

Chances are, like many, you co-mingle the concepts and think of them as pretty much the same because, in the end, the end goal of both marketing and sales is increasing revenue.

What's funny is when the entrepreneurial bug bit me over a decade ago, and I had decided to purchase the domain name 'jazzy marketing' the one concept that took a front seat was 'website development' as a tool to convey the marketing message.  I was very excited to learn Drupal, WordPress, Joomla and E107 CMS systems to build websites.  The idea to use these 'tools' to deliver clients 'message' was the main reason why the domain was selected and the company registered as 'jazzy marketing' and not 'jazzy web development firm' or something along those lines.

So, it came as a surprise to me the other day when one of the questions presented to a sales job applicant by my colleague was to write a brief paragraph explaining what a salesperson does and what a marketing person does.  In short, the answer was correct - a salesperson handles the prospect at the time of purchase, whereas a marketing person explains the product or service to the prospect in preparation for the sale.

Well, this got me thinking and doing some research for more clarity and I hope to share some of those findings below.

Chip Doyle, in his article Sales vs. Marketing -- Marketing Always Changes explained the question very concisely and to the point.

Marketing (is) one-way two-way communication designed to foster interest in a product or service.


Selling (is) a 2-way communication... but (where) people buy emotionally and justify their decisions intellectually.

The key phrase above is that a prospect "justifies their decisions intellectually", the prospects talk themselves into the purchase and all a good salesperson does is guide the prospect to ask the right questions and help them recognize their own needs and desires.

Doyle goes on to explain the part of his title where he is saying 'marketing always changes', how the concept of Congruent Behavior was exploited by breakfast cereal companies in the age before Internet to get customer testimonials and why marketing now is no longer a 'one-way' communication as the methods of delivering your marketing 'message' has changed to allow two-way communication easily.

Marketing will continue to evolve and change as technology enables new strategies and capabilities.

Doyle also has a reference to his 2005 article where he explains the differences between marketing and selling where he defines the two as follows...

Marketing is the role of identifying groups of people or companies that may be a fit with your product/service before person-to-person contact is made.


Selling is the effort applied to those “possible fits” initiated by person-to-person contact.

I hope the above introduction helps you differentiate the difference between to the two ways an organization tries to increase its revenue.  

As you can imagine, Marketing and Selling are two huge topics and something a novice like me is never going to fully understand, but there is one other big difference, and I mean BIG difference between Marketing vs Selling and I'll cover that in part two :) as it needs to be addressed on it own.



Add new comment

About Author

I have a passion for building holistic marketing strategies that focus on leveraging data and analytics to drive engagement and improve ROI and to build better business processes to improve productivity.