Are sales and marketing the same thing?

If you work in a large company, there is sure to be a marketing and a sales department. Both may act quite independently of each other. And each side thinks that one is serving the other.

The mindset that Marketing and Sales two completely different things are considered obsolete. We explain why this is so here.

What does marketing mean?

Marketing is an important part of corporate strategy. With it you direct your products or services towards the Wishes of your customers out. Appropriate planning, implementation and monitoring are necessary for this.

What does sales mean?

The sales department ensures the products and services of your company to sell targeted to the customer groups. Distribution generates sales and thus sales.

Are the definitions of these two terms correct?

In the specialist literature you will find numerous explanations of what the tasks and goals of marketing and sales are. Accordingly, there are innumerable interpretations. However, a picture emerges: Marketing versus sales - this way of thinking is outdated. Because sales is part of the marketing mix, also known as 4P.

The 4P stand for:

  • Product: Product policy

  • Price: pricing policy

  • Place: distribution policy

  • Doctorate: Communication Policy

If you deal with the marketing mix, you will quickly discover two important things: Marketing is much more than “just” advertising (promotion) and sales are part of distribution policy.

Another explanation of what marketing and sales are all about is the AIDA formula. Marketing is mainly responsible for A (Attention), I (Interest) and D (Desire). With the second A (action), the purchase, sales come into play.

In other words, sales and marketing are not two different things. Instead sales belong to marketing and vice versa. One cannot do without the other.

Marketing vs. Sales: Differences and Similarities

While marketing and sales are closely intertwined, there are things in which the two are different. This gave rise to the historical perspective and thus the formation of two departments in companies.

Let's start with the Differed of marketing and sales:

  • Marketing has a broad field of vision. It looks at everyone as a whole Plans and strategiesto develop, market and sell products. To do this, for example, you need a focus on your submarket in the overall market: You analyze your competitors and the chances of standing out from them.

  • Marketing also looks at the (potential) Target groups and personas. It also influences the design and implementation of a product.

  • Marketing is also about generating an interest, a demand, and a desire to buy.

  • One of the goals of sales is to deliver the finished product to the customer through various strategies and measures for sale. The Sales department and its salespeople therefore act at the forefront, directly with the customers. The Sales goals specify which sales and turnover quantities the salespeople have to achieve.

To the Similarities of marketing and sales include, for example:

  • There are always those Focus on customers, just from slightly different angles. The target groups should be reached as well as possible, satisfied and bound to the company.

  • Marketing needs the know-how of sales and vice versa. Just by one collaboration they can achieve the desired goals such as sales.

  • Both departments act so that the whole company like it benefits.

How do you achieve better collaboration between marketing and sales?

Lots Marketing activities are preliminary work for sales, everyone involved should always be aware of this. If this is clear, you can work better together on so-called sales enablement. For example, content and inbound marketing measures ensure that colleagues in sales receive better leads.

Marketing and sales need common goals. You can record this via an SLA (Service Level Agreement), an internal service agreement.

Both areas should use the same or at least strongly interlinked tools. For example, a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system ensures that marketing, sales and support also use a customer database. This makes the processes in the company more efficient - and thus faster, more cost-effective and more customer-friendly.

Coordinate closely when purchasing new programs or when commissioning external service providers (e.g. agencies). Set up a buying center (purchasing committee) to find the optimal solution.

If an SLA has been concluded, the one that applies agreed goals and key figures (KPIs: Key Performance Indicators) to evaluate and evaluate. In this way, find out how you can improve collaboration.

Hand in hand instead of against each other - that is the motto. Modern technical language knows two terms for this, but they mean the same thing: smarketing (sales + marketing) or marketales (marketing + sales).


Stop looking at marketing and sales as two strictly separate areas of expertise. Sales is not an appendage to marketing, nor is marketing a service provider for sales.

So don't ask yourself what the differences in sales and marketing are, but what both departments have in common: How can they come together in such a way that it becomes a uniform marketing mix with four equal “P”?

Cover picture: fizkes / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Originally published February 2, 2021, updated February 02, 2021

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