Which comes first: Sales or Marketing?


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This is yet another ‘which is first: egg or hen’ debate. Let’s first acknowledge the false notion about one of them being second to the other. A successful business is one where sales and marketing work hand-in-hand. Though this pretty much concludes our discussion, it is necessary to state both sides of the argument and prove our claim.

Sales is the process of selling a product or service to a customer. It can be likened to the ‘science’ of converting a potential lead into a customer. Marketing on the other hand is the process of generating potential customers through advertisements and other campaigns. Very often, marketing is expressed as an ‘art.’

The debate between which must be more appreciated arises because of the close-knit activities of these two interdependent fields. For instance, say your company invests highly in marketing and has an excellent marketing strategy, however, the sales team is failing in converting these leads into actual customers.

Picture another scenario where there’s a company bustling with sales potential, but the marketing is too weak and isn’t able to garner any customer attention at all. These two scenarios point out the obvious fact that sales and marketing must work in cognizance.

Why Sales?

The reason people side with sales is that it is the direct contributor to the revenue of a company. Their activities affect the company financially and tangibly.

Also, salespeople are the ones who meet with potential customers. They are the ones that most often face the brunt of the market. It is not easy to convert a sales pitch into a successful deal. A salesperson not only requires business acumen and expertise, but is also judged personality-wise.

The toughest yet basic job every sales team faces is to rightly answer the question “What’s in it for me?” Not a single lead even pays heed to the product until the answer to this question is satisfactory as per his/her ideals.

Owing to all these factors, and the many other nuances linked to the sphere of sales, many opine that sales is more valuable than marketing.

Why Marketing?

While it is true that salespersons have to face the perils of an unsatisfied customer, marketing professionals peer through the stress of getting the attention of an overwhelmingly occupied potential lead.

Consider all the avenues of products and services we have today. A customer, sitting on top of all that has only one perspective, “If not here, somewhere else.” With such stringent competition and no luxury of loyalty, marketing is a tough nut to crack.

Convincing a person in an actual conversation is easier compared to getting them to proceed with a call to action online. We know for a fact that the focus span of online audiences is highly volatile.

In such a short while, when every other business is also using the same space to call out their attention, marketing teams have it hard to bring a product to a potential lead, make them take interest in it, and hopefully become a customer.

There is a popular notion that ‘if you’re aiming for a profitable present, invest in sales, but if you’re eyeing a future growth, invest in marketing.’ 

Though this is true to some extent considering that marketing plays a stronger role in shaping your brand image, it must also be kept in mind that the present is the foothold for the future; if you keep walking with your eyes towards the shy, you might trip and fall.

So, no matter the argument, the conclusion we arrive at is sales and marketing are both mighty forces in the market; strip away one from another, they both lose their promise.

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