Sales vs Marketing Jobs — What’s the Difference?

Both the Sales and Marketing departments aim to increase awareness in a brand and sell products. That said, the way each department goes about doing its job is very different. This article explains the difference between the two roles and pros and cons of Sales vs Marketing jobs.

The Role of Marketing

The Marketing Team’s job is to raise awareness of a brand by communicating to consumers how a product satisfies their needs. In doing so, they convert consumers who have never heard of a product into people who might consider buying it. In commercial terms, we call these prospects.

Marketing teams focus on long term campaign planning which aims to turn people who are entirely unaware of a brand into loyal advocates of its products.

Take the iPhone for example, before its release nobody even realised they needed a smartphone. However, Apple’s marketing campaign created such a desire for the iPhone that within one year, it sold one billion devices. What’s more, to this day, many Apple customers remain fiercely loyal and will upgrade to the latest iPhone whenever a new one is released.

Marketing Team planning their next campaign
Marketing does a great deal of research into who their customers are and their interests. This enables them to understand where they can be reached and what will grab their attention.

The Role of Sales

The sales peoples’ job is to convert these prospects into people who will actually purchase the product. The sales process is short term. A Salesperson will often speak directly to potential customers and either through product demonstrations, trials, or a simple conversation will convince them to make a purchase.

If we think of the role of the two departments as push and pull, marketing pulls consumers in, while Sales, on the other hand, pushes products into potential customers’ direct line of vision.

Marketing invites individuals to make informed decisions about a company’s products by ensuring they have all of the information available to do so. The Sales Team then puts the product in front of a customer and directly asks if they would like to buy it.

For example, once you’ve seen the latest iPhone ad, you will undoubtedly want to know how you can get your hands on it. You might then search the internet for online retailers or walk into a high street store where you can purchase the device.

However, when you arrive in the store, the Salesperson might have a target to sell more Samsung devices. Therefore, they might use special offers or throw in a free pair of wireless headphones to persuade you to change your mind.

Salespeople speak to customers directly, demonstrating the benefits of a product enables them to assist people to make buying decisions.

The Difference Between Sales and Marketing Jobs

Students commonly come across job adverts with vague job descriptions and job titles such as ‘Direct Marketing’, ‘Sales and Marketing’ or ‘Events Marketing’. A deeper look into these opportunities often reveals that they are nothing more than door to door selling or handing out flyers to promote nightclubs.

Genuine Marketing and Sales jobs will have more specific job titles such as Sales Executive or Social Media Assistant. Upon reading the job description, there will be no doubt which is which. Below is a rough guide of what you might expect if you accept a role in either of these departments.

The Job

Marketing

A Marketing Team works behind the scenes of a business and very rarely meets its customers. Marketers do a great deal of research into who their customers are, what they do, where they go to find information, and their interests.

Armed with this information, they can create written content, social media and advertising campaigns targeting those people. What’s more, Marketers know which marketing channels and social media platforms to publish their content to so that their target audience sees them.

A lot of marketing is about conducting experiments and studying analytics. For example, a fashion brand might show the same social media campaign to two different audiences. If one is more successful than the other, Marketers will switch off the less productive campaign. Being able to measure success in this way is highly empowering and rewarding.

Sales

Speaking with customers, whether over the phone, face-to-face or video call, is probably the most significant part of Salespeoples’ jobs. The pace at which they speak to customers is fast too. As soon as they finish a conversation with one customer, they move straight onto the next.

Sales vs Marketing employees doing their jobs in very different ways
The Marketing Teamwork in the background creating campaigns to generate awareness and desire for a product. While Salespeople speak to consumers directly and persuade them to make buying decisions.

Their Targets

Marketing

Although both teams aim to drive sales, Marketing targets more commonly focus on achieving long term goals. For example, running an email marketing campaign to improve sales of men’s bikes by 30% during the summer season.

While their team might be set targets, there is rarely a financial reward for achieving them. Instead, Marketers set these targets for benchmarking purposes by which to measure the success of a campaign.

Sales

Sales Managers also set targets for their teams to beat. These might include minimum call time, or the number of appointments staff must make per day. However, these are not just for benchmarking and beating them comes with a financial reward.

Salespeople are often highly competitive and thrive on beating these targets — their own and each others’.

The Environment

Marketing

Marketing Departments are usually very creative spaces designed to encourage ideas and collaboration. While this is a great environment to work in, Marketers often get the opportunity to work remotely. Where this is the case, they will often use video calls to share and discuss ideas with the rest of their team.

Sales

A Sales environment is often no more than a basic room full of desks and phones. Far from boring, these environments are usually fun and lively places with a real buzz around them.

Alternatively, representatives can be field-based. In which case, their car, mobile phone, and laptop might serve as a portable office.

Happy employees celebrating success
Sales Team congratulating a colleague on making his latest sale.

The Financial Rewards

Marketing

The basic salaries of Marketers are often much higher than those of Salespeople. However, they don’t usually come with any bonuses on top. Although, some companies reward their staff with additional benefits such as life insurance or gym membership.

As an example, entry-level marketing roles in the north-west offer salaries in the region of £18,000 — £25,000.

Sales

While the salaries of Salespeople are seemingly relatively low, their earning potential is often only limited by their performance. Remember those targets we mentioned earlier? Beating those targets and making sales often comes with a substantial reward on top of your basic salary.

As an example, entry-level sales assistants in the north-west can expect to earn between £12,000 — £19,000 as a basic salary. However, these jobs will usually come with the potential to earn commission on top.

A Few Final Thoughts on Sales vs Marketing Jobs

You may have noticed at the beginning of the article; we said we would explain the pros and cons of working in these two roles. However, as you’ve read through the article, we have merely pointed out the differences between the two. That’s because depending on the kind of person you are, you might be more suited to one or the other. Therefore, what might be a pro in one person’s eyes, could be a con to someone else.

However, we hope that after reading this article, you have a better idea of which role might suit you best. Either way, we wish you the very best of luck in your future career!

Be sure to check out our latest jobs page to get an idea of what kind of Sales and Marketing vacancies are available. And if you found this article useful, please feel free to share it on social media.

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Adria Solutions | IT Digital Marketing Recruitment

Hi there! We are the Marketing Team at Adria Solutions. Here's a curated selection of our articles. You can read more on https://www.adriasolutions.co.uk/