You Ask, I Answer: What's The Difference Between Marketing and Sales?

Mallory asks, “In your honest opinion, what is the difference in marketing and sales?”

The short answer: creation of demand versus fulfillment of demand. We see this most in examples where demand exists – sales are effectively order-takers and marketing is minimal. On the other hand, if demand doesn’t exist (but the product is ultimately solid), marketing has to be robust in order for sales to do its job. Even if sales is cold-calling, if there’s no demand, cold-calling is ultimately fruitless. Watch the video for full details.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode, Mallory asks, in your honest opinion, what is the differentiation in marketing and sales? What’s the difference between marketing and sales? Well, the short answer is creation of demand versus fulfillment of demand.

marketing’s primary goal is to create demand.

And by that we mean people who want to do business with the company in some form or fashion, they are aware of it.

They are considering it.

They’re considering the company and they may even want to talk to somebody to buy something.

Now, there are different types of companies and companies will differentially invest in marketing or sales.

A company that is very sales heavy, will invest heavily in sales staff they may or may not invest heavily in marketing.

And sales is going to be doing a lot of cold calling.

You know if you want a really good example does any any real real estate company is super heavy on the sales side.

And the realtors if they don’t already have their existing book of business are cold calling, you know knocking on doors, things like that.

On the flip side companies there are companies that are essentially giant marketing organizations and they may they may or may not even do a whole lot of sales they may function as a marketing organization.

Many affiliate marketing companies are like that I worked at a financial services company that was a marketing organization on behalf of another company.

There wasn’t a sales process other than one person going around brokering deals for this type of affiliate marketing and so as a pure marketing organization if you think about the creation of demand, and the fulfillment of demand as like a two by two matrix, then in the lower left hand corner where a company doesn’t create demand doesn’t fulfill demand they’re going out of business, right? Sears is a really good example.

This Sears has used to be very good until the current CEO who has essentially driven the company face first into the ground.

No investment sales, no investment in marketing, and the company is just in terrible condition.

It’s been bankrupt many, many times, and eventually it will just go away because the fundamental underpinnings of the company are so badly broken, that it will take if a company could recover, it would take decades.

A company where there is creation of demand but no fulfillment.

There’s not a robust sales organization.

That’s actually a place where many startups run into trouble where they’re, they’re good at marketing, but they’re not good at sales.

And when they hit success, they struggled again.

up with a struggle to meet the demand that they’re creating, or that already exists and that they’re amplifying, traveling.

But a good example of that in the early days that was Amazon, being able to, to keep up with the logistics of just how successful the online model was a company where there’s no creation of DRAM, but there’s fulfillment.

That’s many cold calling businesses.

Again, real estate agencies are good example.

In some cases.

Think back if you don’t have as much gray hair as I do have made maybe impossible to think back this far.

But in the 1970s this was Xerox Xerox before its patents expired on this photocopiers were was essentially an order taking organization the phone would ring and say I want five of these things and the salesperson really Yep, got it.

And and that was that would be that they had so much demand.

And that they didn’t really need the market all that heavily.

And their organization was purely about fulfilling the demand that existed.

They had a rude awakening when their patents expired, and other competitors came into the space.

And suddenly the phone stopped ringing Canon and all these other emerging companies jumped into the fray.

And at that point, they struggled pretty heavily to try and figure out how to deal with an environment where there was still demand.

But they were no longer the sole brand.

And debatable about how will they fulfill that certainly other emerging companies have done very, very well, like cannon over the years.

And finally, a company that creates and fulfills demand.

Well, that’s any successful business, right? That’s everything from Amazon, to Walmart to Apple to Google.

that’s fundamentally a successful business.

So that’s the difference between marketing and sales.

In terms of how you understand this difference, that’s a lot more squishy because the customer journey inside for company will not necessarily map to its marketing operations or its revenue operations.

At a small company, they may be one person whose job is marketing and sales.

And one of the most difficult things to figure out is as a company grows and scales, how do you break up that role? What does that person who’s doing that role better at so that you can hire for the thing or less better at and ultimately level up your talent pool? from a job assignment? perspective? marketing and sales are separate skill sets.

And one of the things that companies do really wrong is they confuse the two and they assume that somebody who is a good marketer would make a good salesperson and vice versa.

It’s not true creation versus fulfillment.

Demand are very, very different capabilities particularly in the digital age.

So an important consideration for a lot of companies is what? What do you have for talent? And then where are you weakest and the higher up, you create or build new town rather than trying to move existing talent around I, I totally get it.

There’s a lot of incentive to do more with what you already have people wise, but if you want to grow a lot of the time, it requires you getting better skills than you possibly have, rather than training somebody up, train somebody up as a good long term investment.

But if you need to grow quickly, you need to hire it.

And finally, the the understanding of the difference between marketing and sales is most critical when you are dealing with the customer journey and understanding where the customer journey where the customer is in their journey.

If you think they’re still in the demand creation space, but they’re Really the demand fulfillment phase? You’re going to leave them frustrated, right? Like No, I just leave it something.

The opposite is worse, which is someone is still in the demand creation phase like still exploring, still learning still talking to friends and reading reviews, and you got a salesperson pestering them, Hey, if you’re in b2b, this is virtually every b2b company that is saying, okay, you want to buy something, hey, you want to buy something, hey, you want to buy something? And we know as people as consumers, that’s a turn off.

So it’s really important to know where the customer is in their in their demand fulfillment.

Where where they are in their demand cycle, if you will, so important to know the difference so that you can treat the customer better you can hire effectively and you know how to structure your operations.

Good question.

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