What is the Difference Between Marketing and Sales?

Author : , Date : November 19, 2014



“What is the difference between marketing and sales?”


This is a question that many business owners and even marketing and sales people struggle with inside their businesses.

For too many, the lines are very blurred and in too many instances sales are lost because of a lack of understanding how these two inter-related subjects complement one another yet are very different.

What if we could really understand what the difference is between marketing and sales? Would it make a difference and would you actually increase your sales?

Those are the questions we are going to answer in today’s episode of Q&A with Don.


Now that you’ve got an idea of the difference in the relationship between marketing and sales, leave a comment below and let me know how you perceive the difference between marketing and sales. 

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Don Purdum

Don Purdum

Don works with businesses to help them discover who their customers are and what business they are "really" in. He is an award-winning blogger and branding / marketing consultant.
Don Purdum
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54 thoughts on “What is the Difference Between Marketing and Sales?

    1. Hi Robert,

      Thank you for taking some of your valuable time to watch my video. I’m so grateful it you found it helpful!!!!

      Tough questions… our businesses can’t be all they can be without them. It’s the answer though that is hard. But, when you do find them it will change your business forever.

      Thank you so much for commenting and telling me what you thought! I just posted another video yesterday titled “How Do I Build a Business When I Feel Like I’m Always Failing?” I hope you’ll check it out!!!

      I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving Robert! Thank you again for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon!

      ~ Don

  1. Don,

    This was very, very helpful. Your explanation makes perfect sense and will certainly help me to better strategize as I build an online presence. Thanks so much for the great content.


  2. That makes perfect sense Don. As you were talking about the differences I started to think about how I react to salesmen when they’re marketing when they should be selling. When they start to push, I pull back.

    Great explanation as the two are lumped together so tightly that it can be hard to tell the difference.


    1. Hi Lea,

      Many do lump them together. I think my next video will be explaining this practically from a training experience with a car dealership. It really illustrates the point so I hope you’ll watch for it this week?

      Thank you so much for visiting and leaving a comment.

      Have a great week and a Happy Thanksgiving!

      ~ Don

  3. Hi Don,

    A bit late here, as I was out town this week.

    Very good points and I recognized everything you’ve already told me during our Skype conversation. You are certainly saying true stuff here that most people are totally oblivious of, and that’s why they have hard time selling.

    I agree that if you market still to those you need to sell (at that point) you are losing them and you are showing a lack of confidence that they can pick up even if not consciously, I’m sure they do subconsciously, and the next thing you know is that you’ve lost them, and then you’re wondering why.

    Thank you for this great detailed explanation in your video. Sharing now.

  4. Hi Don,

    A bit late here, as I was out town this week.

    Very good points and I recognized everything you’ve already told me during our Skype conversation. You are certainly saying true stuff here that most people are totally oblivious of, and that’s why they have hard time selling.

    I agree that if you market still to those you need to sell (at that point) you are losing them and you are showing a lack of confidence that they can pick up even if not consciously, I’m sure they do subconsciously, and the next thing you know is that you’ve lost them, and then you’re wondering why.

    Thank you for this great detailed explanation in your video. Sharing now.

    1. Hi Sylviane,

      Welcome home! It’s always nice to visit and better to come home, isn’t it?

      Selling is really a challenge for many because they’ve never learned how to allow people to buy. Companies are constantly pushing for the next sale, get profits up, and they neglect to teach or train their sales team.

      I have an article I want to do on a car dealership training experience I once had. I think I’m going to talk about that one soon as it really illustrates the problem between marketing and sales.

      But, I agree… insecurity and fear in ones subconsicous will drive sales away because they are forcing it and marketing instead of just allowing people to buy and building their confidence.

      Thank you for your kind words as always Sylviane. I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful week!

      ~ Don

  5. Hi Don.

    What a great video!

    That’s the best example that I’ve experienced thus far of someone explaining the difference between marketing and sales.

    It was very comprehensive and well-explained. In fact, I’m re-designing my website, and your four questions will be very useful as I plan my content.

    Thank you for sharing this important topic.


    1. Hi Nathan,

      I really appreciate your comment and kind words!!! So many people confuse marketing and sales and have a bad habit of blending them together.

      I’m so glad I am able to help and bless you through the questions. I look forward to seeing your website. Please let me know when it’s done. Okay?

      I hope you have an awesome week!!!

      ~ Don

  6. Hey Don,

    This was a great break down on the difference in Marketing and Sales. You know as I was watching this, I was thinking back on all the mistakes I made in network marketing. When it came to the sale I kept on marketing as you mentioned. This really turned a lot of people off.

    You start off with how competent you are and then make that transition into asking persuasive questions. When you ask those question that’s really the start of building a strong relationship with potential clients.

    Why? Well just from reading books like The Magic Of Thinking Big and How To Win Friends And Influence People, you learn that people like to talk about themselves more than you talk about yourself. Simple, but powerful lesson!

    Thanks Don for the share!

    1. Hi Sherman,

      I’m so glad you made those mistakes and then learned from them! Just think of how many more opportunities and money you’ve made because of them.

      You said it well and I couldn’t agree more! One thing I teach my coaching clients in sales is to allow your prospect to talk at least three times more than you are.

      Your job is to ask questions, learn and then offer solutions. It’s a funny thing, the more people talk and the less you say the more of a connection they feel they make with you. It’s tried and true.

      Like I always say, sales is just a process that allows people to buy.

      We shouldn’t get in the way of that, should we?

      Have a great weekend Sherman!

      ~ Don

  7. Hi Don,

    Excellent video! 🙂 Me and my prospect client were just talking about the difference between Marketing vs. Sales. Like you, he’s been a Business Consultant for more than 20-years. We talked on the phone for a long time just talking about this.

    He said that in Marketing is where you set your campaign, it is the high point ray. It is the introduction for your business. It is when you tell your story which arouses interest what your business is all about. It gives a sense of possibility what your business can do for them. When trust is establish, it transform to Sales. Sales is the “call to action”.

    Anyway, Don, I keep returning your call but seems like we’re always missing each other. One day we will connect. Next week we will be with our family celebrating Thanksgiving and so it will be busy…busy…busy…Plus, I’m still trying to finish this “Marketing Video” for a client. If I don’t see you before Thanksgiving, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

    God bless,

    1. Hi Angela,

      That’s definitely one way of looking at it, but I think that is really old school. As I said in the video, sales is the arena where you develop competency by solving problems or meet needs. It is the introduction to your product or service but it’s not about the product or the service, it’s about the consumer.

      That’s the real difference between what I think and what your consultant was saying. When you telling your story who is it about: you or your prospect (reader, viewer, listener)?

      Just based on what you wrote, it’s my opinion as I said in this article ( http://www.unveiltheweb.com/articles/will-your-real-target-audience-please-stand-mass-media-vs-new-media-marketing/ ) that many marketers are stuck in the mass media marketing format that is focused on self instead of on others.

      That’s the distinguisher and the focus on the consumer is the massive change marketing is going through.

      We have to redefine a lot of meanings in my opinion. There is no trust or relationship before competency. It doesn’t matter how nice or smart you are if you aren’t talking to me and making a difference for me.

      All business relationships start and end with competency, not relationship. Where relationships are helpful is if you’ve done a good job and built a lot of good will and then make a mistake is buy you some time to fix it.

      But, I guarantee you, if you make too many mistakes and cost a company too much money they will find someone else. It won’t matter how much they like you!

      I hope that makes sense?

      I did get your call, however, I’m a very busy person and have to schedule my time. I’ll message you on Facebook and see if we can schedule a call soon!!!!

      Have a great weekend Angela!

      ~ Don

  8. Hi Don

    I must say that this is the most enlightened information I have come across that talks about the difference between Sales and Marketing. I just had to take notes and I love the video too

    I think the biggest problems that people face is that they don’t have an idea what business they are in and what problems that they are solving for clients. I like the fact that you talk about one message one problem one client, the reason is that I see the correlation with blogging. Sometimes we want to reach to everyone but if we could solve one problem and talk to one person, we won’t be disturbed by writer’s block.

    Thanks for sharing an awesome post. Thanks

    1. Hi Awazie,

      Thank you for the incredibly kind words. I really appreciate it.

      I think you are exactly right! I talk with a lot of small business owners and people who are in marketing and sales and it is something they all struggle with yet expect their sales to be up.

      Unfortunately, it does not work like that! You do the hard work “on” your business and the stuff happening “in” it will be easier. That’s especially true if you do really good marketing… sales ought to be easier!

      Thanks again Awazie! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

      ~ Don

  9. Hi, Don,

    Very well done, my friend, and it’s such a joy to see how much you’ve grown over the last few months. Your videos have grown as well, and you’re doing an awesome job!

    I think your Q&A series is a great idea, so congrats with that. Providing answers to what folks are wondering about via video is a great way, and I wish more marketers would use video. There’s nothing to be afraid of, and people like to consume information in different ways so why not appeal to more folks?

    Thanks and talk to you soon,
    – Carol

    1. Good Morning Carol,

      Thank you for the very kind words! I’m excited about the Q&A and what might come out of it six months and a year from now as it grows and improves.

      I love video, it’s just a little time consuming. It’s takes about a day to one of these videos by the time I think through my answers, shoot the video, edit the video and then save the video.

      So, I can see why some don’t want to do video. I also had one person on LinkedIn say they wish it were text. But, that would defeat my purpose, wouldn’t it? To be more personal.

      Appeal to more folks, exactly!!! Be different… you know I try, lol…

      Have a great weekend Carol!

      ~ Don

      1. Awesome, Don. Well, the purpose (in my opinion) is to provide the information in many formats to appeal to different people. That’s why when I shoot a video I get the free transcription from Google (clean it up) and have the text on the post as well. Helps folks who prefer text, and also helps rankings. I’ve also provided it in PDF download (for opt in) for those that want to read later. Have an awesome day. 🙂

          1. I realize you will take out the link, but here’s an example. I have a page for them to go if they’re interested in the PDF transcription, then a page where they actually download the zip file of the PDF transcription once they’ve opted in. I still provide the text on the page, as people want the convenience of having the PDF, so opt in anyway. http://www.carolamato.com/how-to-avoid-making-the-biggest-rookie-mistake-with-images/ 🙂 Have a great day.

  10. Awesome video Don!

    I just saw this post on AhaNow blog community and came here.

    You have explained very nicely about the difference between marketing and sales. We should focus on the understanding client’s requirement. So, it can be increase our sales and profit.

    It is all about understanding the client’s needs and serving them better.

    Thanks again for making us clear here. Have an amazing day!

    1. Hi Nisha,

      Thank you for stopping by!!! Marketing and sales are there own unique pieces of a puzzle that compliment one another.

      If you try to make them one piece, it just doesn’t work!

      I appreciate your comment as always and I hope you have an amazing upcoming weekend!

      ~ Don

  11. Hi Don,
    This is amazing,
    Well said, the four questions are really a thought provoking one
    Good one. I learned something special today.Thank you Don.
    Hey I am here via AhaNOW forum page via Vinay
    Thanks for your time
    Keep going
    Good Wishes
    ~ Phil

  12. Hi Don

    You really hit the nail on the head with that article. I marketing manager for a startup and it sometimes feel like I am doing more sales than anything else.

    The problem is, I am good at marketing, but terrible at selling things (getting better everyday though). Those have always been 2 very different things for me. Of course they are linked and work together, but they are different.

    Thanks for the great video 🙂

    1. Hi Aurelie,

      Sounds like you are really feeling the pressure of the two converging on one another Aurelie. Here is the key to sales, as I said in my video if you’re marketing is done right then your sales ought to be easier.

      Sales is nothing more than offering people the ability to buy. It’s your marketing that is building the competency and giving them the reason. Not that it doesn’t happen in the sales cycle but it ought to be a minimum. They should already know they want to buy so you just have to make it easy for them, relate to them, and show them they are making a good choice.

      I hope that makes sense?

      I hope you have an awesome finish to your week Aurelie!

      ~ Don

      1. Makes a lot of sense.

        I have a big problem with sounding too salesy when doing marketing (especially content marketing). I remember reading once, “if you don’t sell to your readers, you’ll make a lot of friends, but won’t get a lot of customers”. I think that’s my problem.

        The key is to find content that talks to the right audience and support the use of the product you sell. As you said, people should already want to buy when they transition from marketing to sales.

        Thanks for your reply, I hope you have an amazing end of the week as well!

        1. I agree, you don’t want to come off a salesy when marketing. You are not asking them to buy in marketing, unless you’re in retail but even then there is an art to it.

          In your marketing at the close (especially in blogging, video, podcast, etc) you should have a closing call-to-action. Tell people what you want them to do with what they learned.

          In my case I offer a free 30 – 60 minute consultation. I’m not selling you anything. I direct the reader to a landing page with the service I’m recommending based on the article content where they can learn more about that service and fill out the form for the free call.

          It works GREAT!

          Well, the weekend before Thanksgiving is already upon us and the cold is setting in… I’m ready for the holiday season now! I hope you are as well?

          ~ Don

          1. I like the idea of having an offer that comes and complete the article but is not a pure sales pitch. I might try to do just that with what we have.

            It’s getting pretty cold here too, and I am definitely ready for the holiday season!

            Let’s see how the year will end this year

            Thanks for all the good advice,


  13. Hi Don

    Very impressive! Love it, love it! Again I am looking at this from the perspective of how this fits into blogging, especially the ones like mine that are not in it to make money but is proving a service and publishing contents that help people to improve and live a better life.

    It is key to understand what problems that we are solving, who exactly are we solving the problems for and so on. It is also about establishing relationships with clients.

    Thanks for sharing and for making the distinction between sales and marketing. Have a great day.

    1. Hi Yvonne,

      So glad to see you here as always!!!!

      I love what you are doing and your blog. I need to visit a little more frequently than I do, so you can count on that from me!

      Let your blog do the marketing and let your landing pages do the selling. It’s really not that hard in concept but you have to have your act together if you’re going to be successful in this arena as I said in the video.

      As I said to Harleena in her comment, of course you’re in marketing and sales! It may not necessarily be asking for money? But you are asking people to use your awesome website!!!!

      Thank you so much for commenting and I hope you have an awesome finish to your week!

      ~ Don

  14. Hi Don

    Very impressive and well shot video in a professional way. Its contents are equally awesome.

    Once again you picked a very important topic to elaborate with the blend of your practical experience in the fields of both sales and marketing. Obviously who can know better than you even the thinnest difference between the two.

    Most marketers fail because they act as sales person and in very first meeting try to confirm the order from the client.

    On the other hand most of the sales persons fail because they try to act as marketing person though their marketing department people have already done the work which they arbitrarily are trying to do. As a result they fail to convert higher number of clients and many clients shift to their competitors.

    Being online marketer we need to be very clear on difference between the two. If we simply place an add at the sidebar of our blog this is sales and not the marketing. For marketing we need to build our blog community and then tell them how they can solve one of their problems with the product that is displayed at our blog.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this very thought provoking video post.

    1. Hi Mi,

      Marketing and sales as topics are two of my favorite topics. Without them, business does not exist. Believe it or not I’ve had people argue the point with me in the past that their product sells them and they don’t have to do anything else.

      Okay, then if you’re that good you are only 1/10th of what you could be, at best! However, they is like one in 10 million…

      Regarding online marketing, the principles are still exactly the same. But, as you said, we cannot blend the two together in any one space and overlap them. That’s a recipe for failure.

      Let your blog do the marketing and let your landing pages do the selling. It’s really not that hard in concept but you have to have your act together if you’re going to be successful in this arena as I said in the video.

      Thank you as always for such a well thought out comment Mi! I always appreciate you!

      ~ Don

  15. Hi Don,

    That was a lovely video, and you look wonderful – as always 🙂

    You know I am not into marketing nor sales, but yes, just a little wee bit one’s started recently, so a lot to learn from you and so many of my other blogging friends, who are so much into it all.

    But I do know that your clients and what they want is the real key, so if you market your product in such a way that they love what you offer, you are on the right path to getting a lot of sales. More so, once we hear people, and really listen to them and make efforts to make our product better, the sales would always get better too.

    Love the new look of your blog too – great going, and thanks for sharing this with us. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

    1. Hi Harleena,

      Thank you for the kind words.

      Of course you’re in marketing and sales! It may not necessarily be asking for money? But you are asking people to use your awesome website!!!!

      The principles are the same. Why should someone visit and use Aha-Now and what are you asking them to do?

      It’s obvious to me you’ve that through because your website is AMAZING!!!!

      AND… The value you offer is the BEST!

      Listening is always the key and online it happens through our blog comments and social engagements. Sometimes, what is not said is more important that what is said.

      Thank you for the encouragement and kind words as always Harleena!

      ~ Don

  16. Hi Don,

    Love it! Ad-finding folks need to have that competency question answered to get their faith in you up, enough, to continue learning more about you. It’s a challenge.

    SO telling on the business question. Many tell what THEY do, but forget WHO they’re selling to. You can’t sell yourself. Or, you can’t sell to yourself, because if you send yourself money, net gain-net loss, and vice versa.

    I have tried taking money from myself to pay myself, and trust me, it doesn’t work lol 🙂

    Listening to clients or customers, or prospective clients, is truth serum. We think we know what folks want from us but people don’t have blinders on. They know us, better than we know us, in many cases, because they clearly want one thing from us. They want nothing else. Whereas most of us want a few things from people. Change perspective by letting go outcomes, and by listening to what prospective customers, and blog commenters, and all types of social buddies are telling you.

    Feedback can be pure gold when you get clear on your solution by listening to what folks are telling you, via their feedback, about your solution.

    Thanks Don! Awesome video series. I’m looking forward to future updates.

    Have a fun weekend 🙂


    1. Hi Ryan,

      It’s really an interesting thing to observer if you go business casuals, chamber meetings and mixers or networking events…

      Many don’t want to be there because they don’t like going through the hassle of “it doesn’t work” and it’s a waste of time….. Whatever excuse you can come up with, right?

      And, you can tell who they are because they are miserable, lol…

      If we can teach people to start thinking like their prospects think and give them what they need in their communication, it would make things so much easier.

      The problem is we are not trained for that. We are trained to talk about us first and then ask if someone wants to buy. I don’t know if you see the theme or not, but I see it a lot even in blogs.

      The formula is something like:

      Tell you what I do + ask you to buy = hope that you might buy

      But it’s the wrong formula. And that is the problem!!!!

      I love it when my clients have to go back to their customers and ask them “what problem did I solve for you?” Almost every single time, they get a perspective they never once thought about! It’s exciting and fun to watch.

      Thanks for such a great comment Ryan!

      I hope you had an awesome day.

      ~ Don

  17. Don,

    This might be the first time I’ve visited since your redesign. I noticed your ad for your show on Facebook, what a great idea! I’m excited to see what else you’ve been cooking up!

    We still need to chat about business-y stuff, too! Hope you and the family are doing well as the holidays get closer.


    1. Hi Brittany,

      Thank you for stopping by! Lot’s and lot’s of ideas are being cooked up and ready for implementation.

      I would still love to chat. Feel free to email me and let me know of some opportunities you have in your calendar.

      Definitely looking forward to turkeys and I love the holiday season!!!

      Have an awesome day Brittany!

      ~ Don

    2. Hi Brittany,

      Yep, lots and lots of ideas are being cooked up and this is just phase one. Excited about what’s coming throughout 2015 and beyond.

      I would still love to chat! Please email me a couple of opportunities in your calendar we could chat.

      We are doing AWESOME! It’s our favorite time of the year as a family. My youngest son turns 13 on Dec 5th and we are taking him to NYC. He has always wanted to go and now that we are close we are going to take him for his birthday.

      Hope you and your family are doing well!

      ~ Don

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