Marketing and sales people are different

If men are from Mars, and women are from Venus, marketers are from Jupiter and salespeople are from Neptune. Here three other ways you are different.

  1. Marketers are rewarded by process, sales people are rewarded by product. Many marketing firm leaders started out as creatives and so they hate doing the same thing over and over. The are rewarded by the creative process and the opportunity come up with something new. Successful sales people will endure an unbelievable amount of repetition in the form of research, rejection and relentless follow up, because their reward is the product (sale).
  2. Marketing firm leaders do not want to be perceived as pushy or rude. Most marketers people equate selling with interruption and annoyance because of repeated experiences with aggressive, transaction-driven salespeople. In fact, most have interacted with talented relationship-driven salespeople before, but they do not count those interactions as sales because they did not feel “sold.”
  3. Marketing and sales are different disciplines and attract different types of people. As creatives, marketers can be sensitive and even a little introverted. The do not like to hear the word no as they interpret it as a potential strike against them in the relationship. Sales people firmly believe they know what’s best for you, so when you say “no” they hear “I don’t yet understand the value of this thing you’re talking about.” Relationship-driven sales people will do whatever it takes to educate you in a way that feels comfortable and beneficial to you so that if it’s truly a match, you eventually will see it their way and sign on.

All businesses need a passionate champion and activist in the form of the sales role to nurture, cajole, educate and help prospects buy. The question is whether or not it should be you.

Assignment: Get honest about how well you really can fulfill the sales role in your firm, then act accordingly.


  1. Helena B says

    Jeff, Thanks much for your comment. I totally agree with that there are indeed a select few — like you — who wear both marketing and sales hats and operate in both worlds equally well.

    For optimal performance, as you know, you need both.

    I’m a bass player so I think of it like this. For maximum groove you want a solid drummer laying it down beat after beat(sales) and a bass player with a deep pocket making everything feel groovy (marketing). There are some players that play both well (bass great Jaco Pastorius was one) but they are few/far between, because the roles are not the same.


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