What's the difference b'ween Sales & Marketing?

Anita asks a question that I think resonates with many out there. She asks, 'What's the difference between Sales & Marketing? Kotler does not talk about it at all; n' according to a coupla websites, Marketing is all those activities u perform, to reach a sale; such as: Advertising, cold calling etc.. My contention is, how about those activities that occur post sale, such as CRM, after sales service etc? I guess Marketing encompasses them too?'

Ok, here goes.

The difference between Sales and Marketing is steeped in the difference in the approach to what one terms a 'sale'. Before I explain what I mean, note this: What's common is, both a seller and a marketer look to securing that sale. Its just that the mindsets differ. The seller approaches a sale from a 'transactional' perspective, whereas the marketer looks to building 'relationships'. To the Seller, the sale is the culmination of his efforts. To the marketer, it is the beginning. That is, the seller evaluates a sale with respect to his earnings from the transaction. The marketer on the other hand, looks not just to earnings from a sale, but to 'future earnings' from that very same customer. To the marketer a sale is the beginning to a series of possible transactions in the future, all of which entail earnings. His perspective is driven by the concept of 'Life time value'.

So you see, Sale's an important 'act' within a gamut of activities, clubbed under 'Marketing'. The sale's what gets the moolah in. But to keep the moolah rolling for a longer period of time, the seller-marketer has to build 'relationships' with customers. To do that he must know the customer better than his competitors (Customer Research helps); he needs to design, price, distribute and communicate (cold calling is the 'crude' way to try and do this) the 'solution' (to consumer needs) that he has created for the customer he targets, in a manner where there is delivery of 'value' to the buyer, when the latter engages in what is called a 'purchase'. Post purchase (sale), he must engage with the customer (after sales service) to ensure that the latter's experience with the product is a delightful one, ensuring a possible second sale when the customer considers one, and so on.

Remember, Sales is transaction oriented, Marketing is relationship oriented. That's the critical difference. Also note, 'Selling' a.k.a. 'Sales', is very much a critical activity within a 'Marketing orientation'.


Hi Sir,

Such a timely clarification (seeing the placement scenario around) about the most likeliest of all questions in an interview.

Thank you for this detailed explanation. :)
Unknown said…
a million tahnks for the illumination professor!
Ray Titus said…
Deeptaman, Anita, Most welcome...appreciate the comments :)

Karthik Murali said…
Sir ,
I actually notice an irony in that question.

Probably it is meant to be asked as , "whether any such difference exists between sales and marketing, atleast in the Indian scenario ?"

I presume every company is trying to hard sell their product in any way possible. Building relationships is actually going apart , after the "impersonal" giant stores cropped in replacing the small kirana and medium sized stores. Relationship building is not neceassarily about post purchase.It must actually start from ensuring the shopper has enough parking space,providing a delightful experience in the store to assuring a faster billing process and checking upon his post purchase.
One look at several stores in the country can assure us , its not even remotely close in the offing.
The Big Bazaar in T.nagar,Chennai ,has a parking space for 2 cars, and its termed a "hypermarket"

Popular Posts