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Can Sales and Marketing Work Together?

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Written by by Emmet – Fri 28 Dec 2012

In this post, our Sales trainer Emmet guides you through the differences between sales and marketing.

A question I am often asked is which functions are sales functions and which are marketing functions; the reason being that there seems to be so much overlap.

It's not as simple as this sign makes out!

The answer to this question is not clear cut and it's not easy.

You can learn about about the role of sales with our Sales and Customer Service Training.

Big and Small Organisations

In larger organisations there is often a separate marketing department; (theoretically) they do the marketing bits and the sales department does the sales bits!

In smaller organisations there is often no separate marketing department, it's all just ‘sales' although in this case the sales team will perform many marketing functions.

Either way, there is a distinct difference between marketing and sales, whether or not there's a physical divide between the two.


It is marketing’s role to identify the customer's needs and wants. The two can be very different. Customers need food, but want McDonalds; they need shoes but want Nike.

They don’t always pick the best product. This is the power of marketing.

Marketing identifies the need and wants of a specific group of customers, and then works with Research and Development to define what the product should do as seen from the customer's perspective.

Operations is then responsible for making the product, and sales has the responsibility to sell the product to the target group of customers using the information (sales pitch) provided by marketing.

Sales then feeds back to marketing about the successes, failures, and experiences they have trying to sell the product.

Marketing then uses this vital ‘sales information and intelligence’ to refine the product specs to make it more attractive to buy, refine the target group of customers to make it easier to sell and identify the key points on how to beat the competition.

Done properly, marketing can reduce the sales effort considerably by giving sales even more desirable products and services to sell.

In extreme cases, marketing can be so effective that sales people are not needed. Look at Apple - people queue up to buy the latest iphone or ipad before anyone has ever tried to sell it to them.

This leaves sales people free to do the key critical tasks of Account Management and Business Development, i.e. growing the business.

So, how does it work in your organisation, do your sales people work closely with marketing to create a better solution for the customers so they can focus on finding new deals?

The most effective sales people know how to use marketing to increase the ‘win rate’ of their deals.

The most effective marketers use sales as a guide to future campaigns.

They are separate but together!

If you already know your sales from your marketing and are looking to progress within the industry, why not try our Sales Management Training?

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