Apr 14, 2021 | Marketing, Sales

ABC Sales 101: The Fine Line Between Marketing and Sales

Laura DeVries

Laura DeVries

In the business industry, many disciplines overlap, including sales and marketing. But what are the differences, and who decides those differences?

Each branch of business has specific purposes and the standards by which we define them. For example, sales have ABC sales, and marketing has the marketing funnel.

Below, we’ll explore the fine line between marketing and sales so that you can decide how they’re related—or not. 

Traditional Definitions

It’s not surprising that when one thinks of the term “sales,” we revert to thinking about telemarketers cold-calling our landlines or promotional agents accosting by passers on the street. Frankly, sales have a history of being impersonal and pushy. 

Sometimes the strategies work; after all, when you approach customers with the quantity vs. quality mentality, it does seem easier to call or email until someone responds. However, nowadays, sales are more complex. Rather than using apparent tactics and persuasive gimmicks, sales agents and small business owners listen to consumers. 

Similarly, marketing practices used only print resources. Yet, since accessibility for the internet has become more widely available in recent decades, marketing has expanded online as well, creating a whole new industry called “Digital Marketing.”

Marketing with only print and in-person practices may still work for some, but the industry is changing as fast as the internet. Defining marketing by its traditional definition is no longer an option.

Contemporary Practice

In the modern age, the sales industry is more sophisticated. Small business decisions are more calculated, and efficiency is targeted for specific results.

Meanwhile, business marketing tries to figure out what does and doesn’t get customers’ attention. Business owners and marketers alike are developing skills to stay relevant on the digital and print front.

But flip these definitions. Replace the words “business marketing” and “the sales industry” in the sentences above. Does it really change the meaning of the sentence?

No! That’s because as we try to optimize our businesses, the line between sales and marketing becomes blurry.


When it comes to defining sales agents’ and marketers’ key actions, it can be hard to tell the difference. Both want to increase traffic and revenue while driving engagement. They also aim to retain more customers.

Gone are the days of quantity over quality. Now, businesses can focus on retaining and growing their client base. 


Conversely, there are still some key differences in each department. Sales and marketing employ significantly different software and technologies to compel results. Each one has been tailored to meet the specific requirements of that department and its common purpose. 

They also use different growth and measurement models, though even these models can be tweaked to serve the other’s purpose. 

Do I Have to Choose Between ABC Sales and a Marketing Funnel?

Depending on how you choose to look at each discipline, they could be the same or completely different—so no! 

If ABC sales tactics work for your marketing department, go for it. You would rather use the marketing funnel to attract sales leads? What’s going to stop you?

While both sales and marketing have key similarities and differences, it’s important to note that there could not be one without the other. That’s what makes each discipline so effective—and hard to define.

It’s up to you to find the fine line between marketing techniques and sales.

If you’re looking for a marketing service that creates innovative results, contact us at CommCore Marketing. Our service is defined by your success.

Laura DeVries

Laura DeVries