Many small business owners and entrepreneurs in start-up mode are unclear about which business building activities qualify as ‘marketing’ and which are classified as “sales.” The purpose of this article is to define the line between ‘marketing’ and ‘sales’.
There are hundreds of definitions for the terms “marketing” and “sales.” In my experience, marketing is composed of all those activities which grab the attention of your product’s or service’s ideal client, and compels those ideal clients to do something that starts a sales cycle. Sales are initiated when the qualified prospect contacts a representative of your business and starts asking questions about the product or service. Note: the length and complexity of the sales cycle is different for each product and service.
To illustrate the definitions above, I will use a simple example. Let’s say you need a new cell phone. You have seen the ads on television and know of friends who have seen the most recent ads on Facebook and YouTube for the cell phone you want. Then you go into your nearest electronics store and ask for further details about the cell phone you are seeking: pricing, features, rates & talk plans, internet or instant messaging features, etc.
Which of the activities in the above paragraph would you call marketing and which would you call sales? Take a minute and think about where you would draw the differentiating line, then read on and see where it is.
The activities that fall under marketing are: television ads; Facebook and YouTube ads.
The activities that fall under sales are: the sales clerk in the store answering your questions about the phone you want and asking you if you would like to purchase a phone today (or asking which plan you want to sign up for).
In a more generic sense, marketing includes those activities you do that raises your ideal clients’ awareness about your product or service and gets your ideal clients to ask for more details about your product or service. Sales include activities which move the buyer to make a decision about purchasing your product or service.