One of the biggest mistakes first-time microbusiness owners make is not understanding the difference between marketing and sales before they begin marketing their business. Maybe you had a brilliant business idea, joined a direct sales company, or decided to monetize your hobby. No matter how your microbusiness came to fruition, one of the first steps you likely took was to begin marketing your new endeavor. That’s what all the experts said, right? Shout it from the rooftops, they said. If you start marketing, the money will just roll in, right?

Marketing and sales often get lumped together, but they serve different functions for your business.

While we love to gush over marketing, it exists primarily to support sales. Why? Because sales are the most important function of any business; even non-profit organizations need sales (AKA donations) or they would cease to exist.

So What is Marketing and What is Sales?

Marketing encompasses all the activities that attract prospects to your business. Someone was out in the world, doing her thing, when Marketing showed up {and glowed up} to get her attention. Marketing gave her a sweet pick-up line and got her number, promising to text her the next day.

How do you do all the things needed to make a successful business? Learn our tips, and what is the difference between marketing and sales?

Sales are the activities that work directly with the prospect to convert her into a customer. Sales texted homegirl the next day and invited her to coffee.

Without marketing, sales wouldn’t have the number. And without sales, homegirl would be waiting by the phone, wondering if she had spinach between her teeth because she thought they had a real connection.

Marketing needs sales. And sales needs marketing.

When you first start a business, it’s easy to jump first, plan later. But marketing without a sales plan, and adopting a something is better than nothing mentality, can be dangerous. Sometimes, something is worse than nothing.

Imagine that every day, you were exposed to some sort of ad for an amazing new soft drink. Day after day, on TV, on billboards and on social media, you viewed ads of people being refreshed and happy. All thanks to this magical new elixir. So, on your next trip to the grocery store, you searched high and low to find the drink, but it wasn’t anywhere to be found. So you went online to see where you could buy the product, but couldn’t find a website for them. Dejected, you bought a different soft drink and the magical elixir company left a bad taste in your mouth {pun intended}. Marketing did its job. Sales dropped the ball.

Ok, I get it, but I’m just one person, man

Gurlll, I feel that in my bones. The struggle with seeing sales and marketing as separate functions is more difficult when we are wearing both hats for our microbusiness. But, the good news is that most of what we consider marketing content is, by design, a hybrid of a marketing and sales message. A Facebook post may tout the benefits of a new product {marketing message} and include a link where you can purchase {sales message}. A customer testimonial {marketing} with an opt-in to your email list {sales}. Heck, a website is a full-blown collaboration between Marketing You and Sales You. 

But, even though sales and marketing work together, marketing’s role is to support sales. Your marketing goals and initiatives are created after, and in an effort to reach your sales goals. Vanity social media metrics (Likes, Retweets), blog pageviews, email click-thru rates, can be beneficial to monitor for anomalies, but they are not effective ways to gauge if your marketing is effective. The true test of your marketing is if you are hitting your sales goals. 

The Takeaway:

Understanding the difference between marketing and sales is critical to be successful in your microbusiness. The two work hand in hand, and neither can be successful without the other.

Windy Lawson - Difference between marketing and sales

After two decades as an entertainment marketing executive, Windy Lawson traded in her backstage pass for yoga pants, and spends her days helping female microbusiness owners define and then achieve success on their terms. Part life coach, part business coach, part cheerleader, part pit bull. Because women are complicated and business is complicated. But success, that’s not complicated. And it feels freakin’ good! Goals are her love language, time management is her specialty and her mission is helping you with your mission.

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