Difference Between Marketing and Sales

Key Difference Between Marketing and Sales

Marketing is focused on generating awareness of a company’s products in the mind of consumers. Marketing achieves this objective by planning and executing the right communication strategies ( right communication in the right channel to ensure that the communication reaches the target audience at an affordable cost )

Marketing generally is focussed on generating awareness of a company’s products in the mind of consumers. Marketing achieves this objective by planning and executing the right communication strategies.

5 Difference Between Marketing and Sales


  • The marketing function is focussed on running campaigns or promotion strategies to engender a desire to buy and/or experience a company’s products/services.
  • The marketing function is also responsible for doing marketing research to come up with the right products (First P) in the right packaging (Second P) to ensure it reaches more number of customers by offering it at the right price (third P).
  • Another function of marketing is to induce the customers to buy the product by running attractive promotions (fourth P) and campaigns on the products.

In nutshell, the marketing function is responsible for ensuring the demand generation of a company’s products/services by planning different strategies. Marketing operates in the background just helping create the right aura around products to motivate customer into buying product/service.


  • Sales function on the other hand focuses on ensuring the placement (another P) of the company’s products at the right outlets.
  • The sales of a business are focused on increasing the availability and visibility of the company’s products/services at more number of outlets/points. The more the placement of a company’s products the better chances of customers buying products this extracting juice out of every penny spent by marketing on creating awareness, interest, desire around the company’s products/services.
  • Sales are responsible to maintain adequate stock levels at different channel partners so that market is never short of products.

Sales place the product on retail shelves and marketing helps in the tertiary sale of these products from retail shelves by drawing more and more customers to shops by advertising and sales promotion activities.

If marketing is software that works in the background unseen but still performing functions, then sales are hardware where the salespeople meet the customers in person and motivate them to buy the products/services which were well communicated by the marketing dept.

Similarities between Sales and Marketing:

  • Both functions aim at promoting the sales of the company’s products and services.
  • Marketing does the “soft selling” by increasing awareness about the company’s products and services and how these products and services meet different needs of the customers.
  • Both marketing and sales engage with end customers. Marketing engaged more customers through its various marketing campaigns. And Salespeople too engage with customers on a one to one basis.

Key Differences between Sales and Marketing:

  • Marketing acts more behind the scene plotting strategies to create awareness about products and services among the customers. Mostly marketing does not come in face to face contact with end customers.

Sales acts in front by actually selling products to the end customers.

  • The marketing dept plans sales promotion strategies with clear objectives of meeting sales numbers to achieve desired profit targets.

Sales dept on the other hand implement these sales promotion strategies.

  • The marketing dept decides the Retail price, trade price of different products and services, the sales dept does not have any role to play in the finalization of final rates.

They can only offer feedback, but the final decision on the pricing is taken by marketing keeping in mind the profitability goals.

  • Marketing people more or less remain in offices and rarely visit markets but salespeople are in the field most of the time to meet distribution expansion and sales goals.
  • The marketing function is somewhat futuristic in nature, in the sense that the marketing dept has to study current and upcoming trends in markets or customer preferences and develop products and services to meet these futuristic demands/trends.

The sale is a function that is more or less steeped in the present as sales professionals are geared towards meeting current sales objectives.

  • The marketing dept is responsible for the profits on products/services being sold by the company by adopting the right pricing, packaging, promotion strategies.

Sales dept is responsible for increasing the sales, distribution and visibility of the company’s products and services, They are not responsible DIRECTLY for profits.

  • Sales function ends with the sale and thus the placement of the company’s products at the customer end and marketing function is responsible for ensuring off-take of the products of the premises of the customers.


Many companies can survive without a formal marketing dept as there are many companies in India that do not have a fully dedicated marketing dept, but not many companies can survive without sales dept, a dept which is responsible for “selling” “distributing” of company’s products.

The biggest difference in sales and marketing is that entry in marketing function is possible only with the right qualification in marketing from a premier university whereas in sales a simple basic qualification is enough to get started in a career in sales. Marketing function generates few jobs as few marketing people are needed at the corporate or head office of the company. In the sales region, more jobs are possible as more salespeople are required across different parts of countries.

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