From a broad perspective, sales and marketing seem to go together like two parts of a whole. To a large extent, this is true, but there are distinct differences between the roles. Sales duties start with customers, engaging them, convincing them to buy, selling to them and closing the sale. Marketing begins with the conception of a product and involves researching strategies to promote it, producing presentation materials and making presentations.

Selling to the Customer

Selling is probably the most important duty for a person engaged in a sales job. Through the use of strong oral skills, familiarity with the products or services, numerical ability, and persuasive skills, salespeople sell the company's merchandise. Good selling skills are all about convincing customers to buy what they need from store ‘X’ rather than going to the competition. Salespeople are also tasked with gathering information about customer preferences and building databases.

Customer Service

The present generation of customers is well informed and people have definite ideas of what they need and want. Convincing people to buy products and services is becoming more difficult, as is keeping them loyal. The most effective strategy to keep customers happy is to provide exceptional customer service. This is one of the primary duties of a salesperson and includes maintaining regular customer contact after the sale. Customer service is a way of showing customers they're valued.

Achieving Company Goals

Marketing is one of the distinguishing functions of a business; it's an organizational function that creates, communicates and delivers value to customers. To achieve specific marketing goals, marketing personnel focus on strategic planning, design, management, team leadership, supervision, organization and excellent communication skills. Their duties include evaluating customer research and market scenarios, researching competitor data, preparing marketing plans, supervising and analyzing marketing behavior for effective promotion campaigns, and developing marketing budget plans.

Supporting the Sales Team

One of the core responsibilities of marketing is to support the sales team. Marketing duties in this area include lead generation, brand recognition strategies, nurturing leads, gathering customer testimonials, writing case studies, and ensuring product or service differentiation from competitors. Another aspect of role to support of the sales team is advertising. Marketing involves planning advertising strategies to promote products or services through newspapers, television, online search engines, billboards, emails and product promotion launches.