Before we start off, let’s take a small quiz and see how well you know the difference between sales vs marketing:
If you are new in the industry and confused between sales vs marketing, you are not alone!
And if you are confused, you also get bombarded with information from everyone around you, telling you which field to choose as a career!
Sales and marketing are closely related and it is natural to be confused…
With a lot of luck initially, I landed a job as SEO lead for a Samsung India campaign, wasn’t my choice at that time but it led me to become the marketing guy.
Ironically today my working title says – Marketing & Sales Head | TeleCRM.in
In the sales team, I’ve had the opportunity to lead some talented people, who helped us cross the milestone of 100 paying companies in a little over three months.
To give you a little perspective:
For any saas company first hundred customers means the opportunity and license to survive
And based on my experience here is an honest attempt to reduce some of that confusion for you!
So grab a coffee, relax, and enjoy a comparative analysis of both departments.
First of all,
Are marketing and sales the same thing?- The core difference between sales and marketing
Sales vs Marketing (B2C)
Marketing means identifying the right target audience and making sure that more and more people in the target audience know about your brand.
On the other hand, sales/selling is the process of turning that popularity into hard cash.
Sales vs Marketing (B2B)
The marketing department’s job is to generate and nurture leads (prospective customers).
And sales department’s job is to convert those generated leads into revenue for the company.
Even though they are different in sales and marketing or not independent. Instead, they are interdependent!
For example, the sales team provides marketing team insights on consumer preferences and queries that become part of the marketing strategy.
The marketing team provides a clear understanding of the brand so that the same brand image is retained throughout the sales process.
Understanding the role of the sales vs marketing department in the customer’s journey
As we can see in this picture, the customer journey from becoming aware of a particular brand to becoming a loyal fan and advocate for that brand has several steps.
The stages in the customer journey
- Awareness: This is where a customer comes to know that the brand/product exists. Ex – “iPhone 13“
- Interest: This is where the customer wants to buy.
“I want an iPhone 13.”
- Consideration: This is where out of all the options the customer decides to choose this particular brand.
“Sure Samsung Galaxy Z is good but an iPhone is an iPhone”
Up to this point, it’s majorly the job of the marketing department. And this is where the job of the sales team starts!
- Purchase: This is where the actual transaction happens!
“I want an iPhone real bad but can’t afford it do you know any doctors who deal in kidneys?“
- Advocacy: This is where the customer becomes satisfied with his purchase and advocates for his friends and acquaintances to buy the same product.
“Yeah sure I saw the kidney to get this iPhone but it’s worth it! And I suggest you do the same!“
What does a career in marketing and sales look like? Are marketing and sales the same?
Career in Marketing
If you’re someone who is looking to build your own digital marketing company then the basic job of a marketer is to generate and nurture leads (prospective customers) for their product/company.
In simple terms, marketing is the “face of the organization” as it tries to understand the market, consumers, their problems, and their pain points!
Then it creates content, advertisements, campaigns, product events, etc to show how its product solves these problems.
Branding is also a vital part of marketing any product.
Branding simply tells the consumers what to expect. For example –
Even if you don’t know anything about the next iPhone you will know that it will be expensive and it will be well designed because that’s what the Apple brand stands for! And it’s the marketing department’s job to create and set that expectation and brand image in the minds of the customer!
The marketing department also establishes external relations and collaborations, generating brand partnerships and tapping the current trends to promote the company’s products.
Apart from that, the marketing department is responsible for new product launches, just launching a product in the market is not enough and it’s the marketing department’s job to make sure that when the company launches a new product, people want it, and lineup outside the stores to buy the product!
Career in Sales
On the other hand, the work of the sales team begins AFTER the generation of leads.
A salesperson’s job is to persuade interested leads to take action. To go ahead and BUY their product. This involves
- Addressing the individual concerns and queries of the prospects.
- Customizing the product and its value proposition according to the customer’s needs.
- Showing the customers why this is the best choice for them.
- And showing them how this is the right time for them to take action.
While marketing is the face of an organization
The sales team is the cash cow that generates the revenue, on which the business survives and thrives.
If you were planning to work for a larger company the difference between sales and marketing is far more as smaller companies tend to hire all-rounders who work in and do well across multiple departments!
Job Profiles: Marketing vs Sales
Marketing Job Profiles
Marketing jobs are booming. These days companies with a good marketing strategy are visible across all social media channels and perform far better than the ones where the marketing department isn’t central or developed.
Some of the most popular marketing job profiles are
- Market Research Analyst [starting salary range: -25k-30k/ month]
It involves researching competitors and finding out insights on where the company should focus! It’s ideal for you if you like to dig up stuff. It involves long hours in front of the computer.
- Digital Marketing Specialist [starting salary range: -25k-35k/ month]
These are the people responsible for creating and maintaining the digital presence of the company. They come up with marketing and campaign ideas to promote a company’s brand, products, and services. It is ideal for people who have an understanding of digital platforms and like to utilize their creative mindset and content curation skills.
If you want to pursue this as a career, check out the best digital marketers to follow.
- SEO Specialist [starting salary – 20k-25k/ month]
An SEO specialist identifies strategies to maximize the number of visitors to a website from Google and therefore generate more relevant leads for an organization. If you are a techie in the world of marketing and you like to learn and tap on ongoing trends would fit perfectly for this role.
- Content Manager/ Digital Copywriter [starting salary -25k-30k/ month]
If you think you can promote a company’s products and services by coming up with ideas and creating content then this is your go-to job profile.
Example: Zomato on Instagram after the BJP won the 2019 elections – a very good example of content marketing.
- External Relations Manager [starting salary -30k-35k/ month]
An external relations manager is responsible for bringing in collaborations for a company to enhance its market presence and branding.
If you have good communication and negotiation skills, and you like to deal with people but don’t wanna do sales, you will fit perfectly into this role.
Sales Job Profiles
A career in sales gives you a chance to deal with different kinds of people and devise strategies to portray your product in the best possible manner for different people facing different problems!
Here are some of the sales job profiles that are currently in high demand
- Sales Manager [starting salary- 35k-40k/month]
A sales manager is responsible for promotions, sales, and campaigns on local and regional levels. They also hire and train new sales representatives.
If you want to pursue a career in sales and you are good at managing and leading people then this is an ideal job profile for you.
- Sales Representative [starting salary- 15k-25k/month]
Sales reps serve customers by selling products and showing how the product or service meets the customer’s needs. They provide post-sale services to existing customers, take orders, and create new sales opportunities by creating a daily work schedule to filter and call existing prospects and convey the value that the product has to offer for them.
People with an extroverted personality and good communication & negotiation skills are apt for this job role.
- Sales Operations Strategist [starting salary- 30-35k/month]
Sales reps do the selling, and managers manage sales reps, Which markets should they target? Who are the customers that will be easiest to sell to? How to improve their pitch and strategy? It’s the sales operations strategist’s job to find the answers to these questions.
If you like to look at and analyze hordes of data to find insights and create strategies that will affect the future direction of other entire sales teams this is the right job for you!
- Customer Success Manager [starting salary- 25k-30k/month]
Closing the sale is not the end of the sales process! In fact, in most businesses, the majority of the revenue comes from selling to existing customers. It’s the customer success manager’s job to make sure that the people who buy the product adopt, use, and continue using the product so that they will renew, and repurchase entry for the product to their friends and acquaintances.
If you genuinely enjoy helping them and you’d love to see them grow and succeed, you will enjoy working in this role!
Based on your interests which field should you choose?
Choosing a career is scary and difficult!
What if I enter a field that is not that suitable for me?
Am I making the right decision to choose this field as I have very little experience in this field?
What if lack of research ends me up in a field that doesn’t yield good outputs for me?
Both marketing and sales demand a varied set of skills.
Marketing needs you to understand and tap into the target audience and their needs.
Sales need you to have exceptional negotiation and communication skills.
Are you like Mr. Prasoon Joshi?
Who transformed the marketing culture with taglines like,
Thanda Matlab Coca Cola.
He aced in his work by being able to connect with the Indian audience. He utilized the emotional aspect of a consumer’s psychology.
Or are you more like Suman Julka?
She is the director of sales and marketing for the Leela Palaces and has succeeded and excelled in sales with her inspirational leadership style. By developing a cohesive culture in her team and enabling them to initiate actions and foster innovation.
If you prefer creative tasks and research work, marketing is a better option for you.
On the other hand, if you are persuasive and like directly interacting with people then you should choose a career in sales
According to your skills which is a suitable career? Sales? Or Marketing?
To choose the right career path, you need to begin with understanding the pre-requisites of both fields and see which one is the best fit for you.
Soft skills needed for sales roles
- Time Management
This is a key skill and without this sales, roles can become overwhelming and frustrating really fast. An affordable online course from Udemy should give you a good headstart with time management
How do you show the customer that what he wants and what your product offers are the same thing? In a sales role, you will have to face and solve this and many other such problems on a day-to-day basis. If you are fairly good at problem-solving then the role itself gives you the necessary practice to improve your problem-solving skills and abilities.
- Conflict Management
This is the biggest prerequisite for a sales role. How do you handle miscommunication? Mistrust? Pissed-off prospects? Because a sales job means facing conflicts day in and day out. The exact scale you can learn on the job but you need to have patience and the ability to give the prospect the benefit of the doubt.
The prospect agrees that your offer is valuable but he wants a 20% additional discount. How do you convince him that he should focus on the value and make sure that you close the deal without actually giving that additional discount?
This is just one of many examples of negotiation in a sales career. Inherently good negotiators at the job done teach them how to take their talent and turn it into a honed and perfected skill
- Rapport Building
How do you turn a random stranger into someone who trusts you and your advice to make a purchase? That’s where rapport building comes in. And you don’t need to be a professional salesperson to build rapport. If you have ever convinced a stranger to do a favor for you then you probably already have experience in rapport building.
Hard skills needed for sales roles
A sales career doesn’t just mean picking up the phone, calling a random list of people, and asking them to buy your product. Unless you find the right prospects to call you will waste a lot of time and energy working but will not get the expected results in terms of sales or deals closed.
- Data & CRM Management
If you want to do better in sales then it means you will need to handle at least 50 – 100 fresh prospects every single day. And you cannot rely on you’re on memory or even Excel sheets for handling more than four or five new prospects every day! You will start forgetting the information that people had shared with you earlier, follow updates, and there will be no clear pipeline or course of action! You will end up doing a lot of the hard work but due to all the leakage from forgetting and missing out the results will be mediocre, and you will start losing valuable leads that convert into sales! This is why the most valuable skill in sales is learning how to manage your data and Sales CRM so you interact with hundreds of customers every day and yet each and every prospect is personally cared for!
- Social Selling
It’s not possible to physically reach each prospect in your target audience which is why you need your message to reach and spread among your target audience. One way to do that is through social selling. Here is an amazing example of the same from Dollar Shave Club!
These are highly technical aspects, we will soon be bringing a course to cover all the hard skills required for sales jobs
Soft skills needed for marketing roles
- Creative Thinking
A simple question: What is the difference between marketing and sales that turns into a full-fledged 4000-word career guide? If you see yourself flowing like this wherever creativity takes you then you are a natural marketer
Both in marketing and sales, you understand a problem and try to solve it and the key step in solving any problem is to be able to communicate the solution effectively to the audience. The medium could be videos, articles, blogs, vlogs, and whatnot but at the end of the day, it’s all communication! If this is something you like to do then Marketing is where you belong.
- Analytical thinking
What are the different ways that somebody who is just starting can look at his options when choosing a career? That analysis is what led to this complete guide. If you possess such analytical skills there’s a place for you in the marketing department.
- Leadership Skills
This is kind of common in both marketing and sales. As Steve Jobs once said – Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.
And this ‘team’ functions cohesively only because of a capable leader. And if leadership is your strong suit then it gives you a natural edge in the marketing department!
- Problem-Solving Skills
In both sales and marketing yourself problems but because Marketing is one too many the implications of the problems that you solve our huge in the marketing department. And if you want to make a huge difference with your problem-solving skills marketing is the right choice for you.
The list of dream companies to sell or market for becomes an idea for a collage. Now to turn that idea into reality, I must go to Canva and learn how to create a collage using the company logos. That’s just a small example of adaptability. Similarly, if you can adapt to any change to create the best version of an idea, then you can make a huge difference in the world as a marketer!
Hard skills needed for marketing roles
Whether it’s a video article or musical sequence no matter what your marketing material is going to be always start with pen and paper (or screen and keyboard). For many people, this is an impossible battle but if you have fought and won the battle then you can win marketing!
- Data Analysis and Analytics
The CEO wants more deals closed, the sales team wants 5X the number of leads but how do you decide on actionable steps that you can take to reach those destinations? That’s when things like data analytics come in. Our target audience is salespeople. Here is the keyword that 10,000 salespeople search for on Google every month so our next article will be about –
That’s just a small preview of the power of data analytics for you.
The thing is you can’t reach all of your target prospects physically but that’s the best part you don’t have to anymore. When people have questions they go to Google. You just have to figure out what questions your target audience asks. And how you can rank your website on top of Google for those particular questions. That’s it they come to you and that’s when you can start educating and eventually selling them your product or service. That’s a brief overview of SEO for you!
It’s vast and technical but once you learn it it’s like you have a magical superpower!
- Project Management
How do you make sure that an idea gets published on time and within budget instead of getting stuck in an infinite loop of creativity? That’s called project management! Without this crucial skill, most creative people would never finish or release their work. Hence to put it simply, if you have finished complicated tasks on time in the past then you are going to be an amazing project manager!
How does anyone with not very deep HR experience write a 4000-word career guide? Through research! It is with research that you can find and share insights with your audience that was really hard time solve the problem.
Marketing is all about finding and then sharing those insights with a huge audience at once.
- Website Management
Fixing meta-description, keeping the colour profiles updated, adding the Facebook integration so that people can see who has liked our Facebook page, and making sure that we have the latest trends on the homepage. These are some of the aspects of maintaining the website and making sure that it is always updated and useful for our visitors. Obviously, it doesn’t happen automatically. There are people whose job is to make sure that these updates go out accurately and on time. The people who stand at the crossroads of creativity and technology are the best suited for this particular aspect of digital marketing!
- E-mail Marketing
The thing about selling is you might be running a campaign today. But what if the customer doesn’t need it today? How do you make sure that three months down the line when he needs your product is still remembers you? The simple automated solution is email marketing. Of course, that’s easier said than done! But if that is something that’s always fascinated you. Then you can start exploring it further by simply googling ’email marketing’ and pretty soon you will get a clear idea as to whether you want to pursue it further.
- Social Media Marketing
How do you do something like this?
The name of the game is social media marketing! It’s very popular and potent! Heck, these days it’s completely essential!
And the people who can do something like this or are more powerful than black magicians lol!
Deciding based on personality type
To understand which field suits you the best, you should also be aware of your personality type, its strengths, and its weaknesses!
Deciding based on the actual workflow
Skills personality type etc. are one thing, but to make the right career choice, it’s also important to understand the actual workflow involved in these fields.
How does the marketing department operate?
- Market Research to analyze the market and its needs.
- Segmentation of the target audience to be able to focus on the right audience and design strategies to attract the same.
- Creation of a Marketing Strategy that needs to be in line with the needs and convenience of the target audience.
- Implementation of the marketing strategy and ensuring appropriate marketing channels.
- Reviewing the effectiveness of the marketing strategy and input from the target audience.
- Upgradation of the marketing strategy with the market environment and modification of the marketing channels.
How do sales departments operate
- Prospecting – Finding leads and confirming if they need the product that the company is selling.
- Preparation to make the initial contact with the customer. This involves research of the market and the product itself.
- Approach- Make the first contact with a client.
- Presentation of the product w.r.t. the needs of a customer and their background.
- Handling objections that the client might have.
- Closing and Follow-ups.
- Take referrals to generate more leads.
Deciding based on the dream companies:
Dream companies to market for:
Dream companies to sell for:
Choosing a career path can indeed be a very difficult and scary task for anyone. It’s kind of a permanent change. It ends up shaping and transforming your life completely.
Both marketing and sales are like the 2 legs that any company stands on. These two departments work on different aspects of a consumer’s journey.
Which part of the journey do you relate to combined with total awareness of your skills can lead you to a perfect decision for your career choice?
With this article, I hope we’ve given you an idea of both the fields’ significance and role.
The next step is to identify your alignment with your personality type.
Every individual is unique and has a varied skill set.
Plus most of the skills that you will use as you move ahead in your career will be things that you will learn on the job.
Hence, the most important part of choosing a career path is to
Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.Mark Twain