HERE AT EXPERT BUSINESS ADVICE, we receive numerous questions regarding the way terms and phrases are thrown around in different industries and in everyday business. We recently received an inquiry from an individual who was interested in understanding the difference between sales and marketing. On the onset, most people would probably say, “Duh—sales is sales and marketing is marketing.” This individual was probably referencing the fact that sales and marketing are commonly used together, thus, this particular individual, when asking what the difference between sales and marketing is, is most likely looking for clarity as to why they are always referenced together.  Rather than discuss the obvious differences between sales and marketing, let’s focus instead on the real question: how sales and marketing are interrelated and how, without one, the other would probably fail.
Sales and marketing are two segments of the business community that work hand-in-hand with one another.  The marketing efforts of a business typically bridge the gap for the company to sell to consumers. If the first time a consumer hears about a product is when someone is trying to sell it, they probably won’t buy it. Marketing is an extremely important step in the process of bringing a product or service to market and ultimately selling that product or service to the end user. Typically, when a small start-up business, small business, or corporation sets out to develop and sell a new product in an industry, they have to have a marketing budget prior to selling any products or services. This is where the phrase, “you have to spend money to make money” comes from. 
Organizations of all sizes have to deal with this dilemma on a regular basis because marketing not only includes the introducing of the product to the consumer, but also includes the process of developing a brand, conducting market research, beta testing, and holding trials. These types of expenses are incurred by all businesses. Entrepreneurs should remember, when creating a marketing plan, to budget for all of the appropriate expenses.  Now that the front-end loaded marketing expenses have been mentioned, understand that the next step is to implement a sales method. 
Sales can be handled in many ways. Some companies choose to engage in direct-selling. This is when the company sells its products or services directly to consumers through sales persons, electronic stores (websites), or storefronts. Other companies would rather partner with intermediaries, both nationally and internationally, to take charge of selling on their behalf. These intermediaries are commonly called distributors, wholesalers or brokers. Regardless of the way a business decides to sell its product or service, there is a heavy reliance on the marketing of that product to facilitate brand awareness, brand recognition, and trust. If the marketing departments' initiatives are executed correctly, they will yield a much greater sales conversion rate on all platforms in question. 
Similarly, if the sales of a product or service go well, the business will, in turn, have a larger marketing budget refueling the front-end of the entire process. While the literal differences between sales and marketing may be clear and unnecessary to explain, sales and marketing remain related and dependent on one another throughout the product or service’s lifecycle.