What is the difference between sales and marketing?

The objective is to understand the difference between sales and marketing in order to grasp how working together will improve your sales revenue at a profit. 


Audience: Owners of Survey Firms / Sales and Markeitng Managers of equipment sellers


Marketing and sales play a very important role within ANY business.  In a nutshell, they should attract more of your best type of customer, ya know the ones who pay well, don’t fuss and let you get on with the job!  The ultimate goal of both is to bring in more revenue at a profit.



Firstly we need to understand the full customer journey, the whole parts of the journey.  From the pre-buying journey where the prospect doesn’t even know they have an issue, let alone know who you are – to the buying journey when they know they have an issue and are searching for a solution.  

Hear me out… 

Understanding the full customer journey is key to understanding the sales and marketing roles.  How they work together to close the gap and win business.

The Geospatial Sector is what I call a “heavy sales-led industry”.

Sales-led is the growth strategy where your sales processes and team take the driver’s seat to grow your revenue, according to YAAGNESHWARAN GANESH.  

Meaning the company’s success depends on how well the sales team performs. 


Our Industry and the Survey Profession are very similar.  It doesn’t matter if you are selling a tool or a service; the sale is complex involving multiple buyers. 


Sales folks use tactics like cold calling to fill the sales pipeline.  It is heavily person to person interaction.   When said prospect is hooked, it’s up to the seller to convince the buyer to purchase. 

Sound familiar?  (especially for those product sellers out there)

This is very traditional and the way we have always done things within the Survey Profession and overall Geospatial Industry.  

It’s ingrained

It is in our blood

So why am I harping on about Marketing if the Industry is sales-led and it works? Or does it? BIG FAT QUESTION MARK???


Sales and marketing both impact the business in lead generation and revenue.

Sales refers to all activities that lead to the SELLING of your stuff!  Like picking up that phone, answering an email request or meeting someone at a show.  It’s the after part of the customer journey.  The prospect knows what they want to buy.

The Marketing element is the PROCESS of getting people EDUCATED and INTERESTED in your stuff before they know they have an issue.  Educating them on the problem and how to solve that said problem.  

Marketing warms up the market you are targeting. 

It is not advertising alone

It is not designing a brochure alone

It is the things you do to close the gap between the problem the audience has and the thing you are selling to solve it. 

By visualizing the full customer journey first it is much easier to understand where both subject matters fit within the journey.  How they intertwine and how they work TOGETHER on the leads.

When this is understood, sales-led organizations will improve their overall sales revenue and profit. 

So what is Sales and Marketing?

In simple terms; 

Sales refers to activities that lead to convincing a prospect to buy your product or your service.   For example, the prospect already knows they need a scanner, so they search for manufacturers who sell scanners and enquire about the laser scanner.  They speak to a sales person and decide on multiple factors which one to purchase.

The prospect is now in the buying journey phase (sales pipeline) which is important to note as how did they find you? What triggered them to the buying journey in the first place? 

This is where Marketing kicks in.

Marketing is all about generating prospects for the sales team by communicating the brand values (why X brand solves Y problem) to the marketplace. 

Most importantly focusing on attracting the right kind of customer by presenting them with a solution (known as problem-centric selling/ solution selling).

Marketing is building awareness of your organization and brand to potential customers starting in the pre-buying phase of the customer journey.

Why is this so important to note?

Because 99% of Geospatialers are marketing and selling in the buying journey.  

You have to get smart if you want to stand out!  Stop doing the same old shit and start to think about your customer, not selling them your thing!

“Sales is turning that viewership into a profit, by converting those potential customers that marketing has generated into actual ones” (www.uschamber.com)

Geospatial Organizations should take heed of how marketing and sales fit together.  Not only to understand but to improve their overall process thus improving that bottom line.

“Understanding the differences and then where they fit into the customer journey will have a huge effect on your business”. 


The Customer Journey Map and How Marketing and Sales Fit

The customer journey is complex.  

But its not hard to understand when you think about the way you go about buying something complex. 

In today’s world there is a blurring between physical and digital words – just think how you see, hear and feel brands nowadays

During the customer journey the customer will come into contact with your brand several times (touch points) through several different ways for example; in person, advert, on LinkedIn, a forum etc.  

These touch points should be positive representations of your brand.

Marketing’s role is to develop positive experiences (touch points) through the tools they use. 

So if you are a River Surveyor, for example, where will your customers (prospects) come into contact with your brand first?

An ideal way to think about how marketing and sales work is to map it out on the customer journey map paying particular attention to the touch points.

Taking our customer map from the previous stage, let’s look at this in a little more detail addressing each part of the customer journey:

1). Problem Not Aware

1. Marketing along with Sales identify the key buyers the company is targeting in order to produce the right content for the right audience – they want to attract the ideal buyer!

2. Marketing plays a huge role here identifying influences of your buyers and producing content (Content Marketing) that address underlying problems that may rear their ugly head.  No mention of who you are or your product/ service as you want to capture attention through their pain only

3. Marketing use for example articles, blogs and short form video to address underlying issues like why water authorities need to test for phosphates in our rivers thus educating the public which reduces any conflicts with water based companies changing the river dynamics – see Storms post here . The goal is awareness and education. 


2). Problem Aware

1. Marketing addresses questions and answers in blogs and socials posts to raise awareness and attract prospects towards their brand.  Again no real mention of the product or service they are offering but answering questions potential clients have thus building a trust in the brand.  You are not shoving your sales pitch down their throats. 

2. Sales reach out to buyers on LinkedIn via liking, commenting and addressing questions through their postings, reactions to other posts etc.  Sales then can link with potential customers but no mention of the product unless prompted.

3. Sales add contacts to their LinkedIn platform, knowing there audience will see their content addressing questions and keeping brand top of mind

4. Marketing builds awareness that the company will be exhibiting at a show and to find out how to solve X problem. Marketing produces educational materials like videos, short stories about potential problems their audience face.


3). Research

1. Marketing produce more in depth content relating to solving those problems (thus nurturing a cold audience), inviting them to download white papers or attend exhibitions

2. Sales are hunting (prospecting) but not necessarily shouting about their products or services… subtle information is spread but answering questions they might get asked

3. Sales pass on questions and answers to marketing which in turn they will produce Q&As they can post as blogs and articles.  Providing more in depth information which in turn will speed up the sales process because they are more knowledgeable and waste less time in the sales cycle 

4. Marketing invite prospects to watch a webinar or download a white paper that is gated meaning the prospect has to include their contact information (thus list building for later nurturing by marketing)

5. Marketing sends out in depth information about webinar and further insights via list of contacts, via socials and on website

6. Prospect liaises with Sales person with questions.  Sales feeds back to Marketing thus improving the content sent out and upping the overall level of brand awareness and educating the audience therefore always looking to speed up that process. 


4) Consideration

1. Marketing works with sales to produce FAQs, in depth white papers, webinar content and share this out – the aim with gated content is to build a list of the right kind of customer (hence why measuring your open rate is key to knowing if you are targeting the right buyer!) 

2. Sales contact their LinkedIn friends and reach out to contacts inviting them to the webinar etc

3. More in depth Q&A via videos, case studies and testimonials is used to help the prospect make the best decision.


5) Purchase

1. Marketing work with sales and support on content that address buying processors, how to guides to reduce the stress of purchasing and after sales care


Take away points from this blog:

1. By working in conjunction with each other you improve your brand

2. Marketing needs sales to get client feedback and input for a better understanding of the customer

3. Marketing needs sales to identify the right buyer personas so they can produce content for that persona thus attracting the right kind of buyer

5. Sales need marketing to build a strong brand, attract the right buyer and make the sales function smoother thus closing more sales

6. Marketing can warm up leads that are cold before handing them over to sales and sales converting more due to higher quality 

7. Sales get highly qualified sales leads that they can then add further person-to-person value with supporting content to add value to the customer

8. Sales can give feedback on marketing efforts from feedback from customers and the market

9. Sales and marketing work in tandem to make the customer experience as smooth and easy as possible