Speaker ~ Trainer ~ Consultant | Marketing, Communication, Relationships, Strategy & Planning

Sales or Marketing?


I was recently asked to kick off a telesummit about marketing. When I asked the host why she selected me to do this (btw, this is one of my standard questions to assess all incoming opportunities), she said that I have an understanding about marketing and the ability to explain it that most people need to hear.

I have realized that she is right–most people do not understand what marketing is, how it is different than sales, and how they all relate. So here is a quick overview to give you an idea.

Marketing is the activity that builds awareness, credibility, and traffic to your event and/or your website. Marketing can include networking (online and offline), attending events, advertising, press releases, speaking, direct mail, search engine optimization, joint ventures and many more tactics.

Sales is the process of converting your “people”. This conversion is sometimes a money interaction, but not always. The request for the sale is often referred to as the “call to action” – or what you want them to do next. Sales include converting people from your website onto your newsletter list or your Facebook page is a form of a sale. Sales also include picking up the phone and having a strategic conversation.

If you are trying to combine your sales and marketing, you are probably often frustrated with your results. And I can assure you, you are annoying your potential clients. More to come on this later.

Also note that a good marketing campaign is not usually an over-night success tactic. Unless you are a “wham-bam-thankyou-maam” sales person (who does not care or want to see the customer the next day), then be committed to spending time building relationships, visibility and trust.

Good marketing allows the sale to be an easy process. Often, the right marketing attract the best sales.


  1. March 12, 2013    

    Hi MaryPat,

    I completely agree — there is a difference between sales and marketing and so many business owners incorrectly assume they’re the same.

    Marketing is about ongoing education, teaching others while sales, as you noted, is about taking the next step (whether signing up for a program or joining a list).

    Great distinction,

    With abundance,

    Sandy :-)

  2. March 12, 2013    

    I completely agree. It’s awkward when people’s marketing is just pushy sales, or they’re all marketing and no sales.
    Sales and Marketing need to have a good relationship so they can help one another.
    Often I’ll see beautiful marketing material, but it turns out they’ve targeted the wrong customer and sales is ignoring them and just going after the people who convert.
    Hopefully you’ll be able to convert your listeners to embrace the other side and appreciate the differences :-)

  3. March 12, 2013    

    Marketing and sales are not the same in the same way dating and sex are not the same. One may lead to the other eventually, but if you try it too early it backfires.

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