MANY PEOPLE often fail to adequately distinguish between sales and marketing. This is because of the close connections shared by the sales and marketing processes to the survival of a business. For starters, it’s good to acknowledge that it’s impossible to rule-out marketing because it is through marketing planning process that you can get the clear indicators of your target market; with these, projections and marketing leads can be established.  Similarly, it doesn’t make good business sense to have a great product or service, yet you are unable to move it to generate income.

Marketing activities target many people whereas selling processes target individuals and small groups. Without effective selling techniques, the business has low prospects of surviving and growing; so, the two processes are complimentary to each other and one cannot be preferred over the other.

Marketing means all activities that are undertaken with the aim of reaching out to, and convincing, the potential buyers of a product or service to buy. Sale processes often involve activities done with the expected outcome of a customer buying a product, signing a contract or an agreement, or exchanging something of value for a product or service.

The marketing process can vary a lot in regard to the product and the characteristics of the potential market. It mainly consists of the following:
  • Finding out the kind of product or service that will serve the needs of your potential customers
  • Developing the product or the service
  • Ensuring that it has the attributes which meet the need of the customer
  • Determining a fair price for the product or the service
  • Making the product known to the customer
  • Communicating why the customer ought to buy it
Promotion is done through different media platforms such as radio, broadcast services, mobile phones, and Internet-based platforms, and will include activities such as advertising, public relations, and brand marketing. The final component of the promotion process is the delivery of the product for use by the customers.

Conversely, a key difference between sales and marketing is that the selling activities largely depend on the effectiveness of interpersonal communication between the seller and the buyer. It can be said that in selling processes, the level of contact between the seller and the buyer is generally high and the difference of distance is often smaller. The duty of the seller is mainly to persuade or influence the customer to buy a product or service the seller is offering, get a contract signed, or having the customer give the seller something of value in exchange for what is being offered.

Selling is commonly done through activities such as personal meetings, telephone conversations (cold-calling), or using contacts within the social or corporate networks of the potential customer (networking) to deliver the product or service to them.

Another important difference is that the development and production of marketing materials, such as attractive packaging, brochures, or information booklets, is usually done before the commencement of selling activities. After the sale has been made, the marketing process is repeated and it is suffice to say that development of marketing materials goes on even after a sale is made. To summarize, marketing activities target many people whereas selling processes target individuals and small groups.