Sales versus Marketing

We offer this short article in light of many of our subscribers being first time business owners. The line between Marketing and Sales has always been unclear to many of those not working in those areas, and today that line is even more blurred. So some explanation may be helpful to business owners for when they are considering how to expand their businesses.

Marketing is when you are reaching out to a large number of people simultaneously, and then waiting to see who responds. Tradition marketing would include advertising in newspapers or magazines, or possibly on the radio or TV. Having an entry in the Yellow Pages also counts.

With the advent of the Internet, marketing would include paid advertising with search engines or social media. The common thread through all of these is the mass communication.

Once people do respond to a marketing campaign, the Marketing Department hands them off to the Sales Department who follow up. Sales work in turn is divided up into ‘Inbound Sales’ and ‘Outbound Sales’. In this case your potential clients would be considered Inbound, since the term is from the perspective of the actual sales person (who didn’t personally start contact with the potential client) as opposed to the perspective of the company (who did reach out to the potential client via Marketing).

The Sales Effort is more one-on-one, yet can still use automation. For instance, at this point, the potential client may receive a series of emails which are in fact automated, but now the emails will appear to come directly from the sales person, using their ‘from’ address, being signed under their name and with their contact info.

Outbound Sales is when the initial contact between the company and the potential client happens by the Sales People reaching out to the potential client. Sales may have purchased a large list of potential clients from services that sell such lists.


As a small business looking to expand, you will want to understand these terms when hiring people for Marketing or Sales roles, whether on a contract basis or as an employee.