Sales and marketing are both necessary processes which allow all business ventures to succeed. However, they are used together so frequently that their individual meanings tend to get muddled together. Both terms so interdependent on each other that defining one term often requires comparing it to the other.
For small and medium enterprises, these two processes tend to be performed by the same individual or the same group of personnel, which is why they are often confused as one process. The boundaries between the two terms (or business departments) often overlap, but this actually makes them both more effective. It should be mentioned that a marketing plan without a complementing sales process would render the entire plan useless, while a sales process without any marketing plan would hardly produce satisfactory results, if any at all.
Of the two terms, marketing has a broader definition. Marketing is how you present your products and services to your prospects and is done so that the sales process can proceed much faster and eventually end in a closed sale. The marketing process includes market research, design, packaging, pricing, print advertising, direct mail, TV and radio advertisements, online marketing, pay per click, banner advertising, email marketing, organic search (the use of SEO to rank high on search engine results), use of social media platforms, etc. Telemarketing is a form of marketing, but is also used to close sales. The former is usually outbound telemarketing, while the latter is mostly inbound telemarketing.
In all essentiality, marketing is everything you do to place your products and services on the market. A sale can never happen without some form of marketing preceding it, and it is sufficient to say that a large number of qualified sales leads from a lead generation campaign is the product of highly effective marketing strategies.
The sales process, on the other hand, is a personal interaction with your sales leads or prospects where you convince them that your products and services is the answer to their problems or that their life will be much easier when they avail of your business offerings. The sales process or sales cycle is usually broken down into several steps intended to eventually lead to a closed sale. The steps on the sales cycle varies from one marketer to another, but usually includes the following steps more or less: initial contact, pre-approach (includes planning the sale), approach, need assessment, presentation, meeting objections, gaining commitment, and follow-up.
An effective amalgam of sales and marketing is important to be able to pull off a successful lead generation campaign. After the sales leads have been qualified, the team responsible for appointment setting comes in to initiate the actual selling process. Especially for business to business companies, the sales process will be difficult to complete unless business appointments are made to initiate contact with the prospects. Most entrepreneurs run their business without a clear knowledge of how these two processes interact. However, knowing how to differentiate sales and marketing will help your business in developing effective strategies to maximize profitable results.