Sales vs Marketing – Why Sales is the Obvious Winner


The sales versus marketing battle is an age-old tug-of-war that permeates most corporate cultures. Everyone from entry-level salespeople to Senior VPs are familiar with the fight, and most have taken up arms to participate. In fact, joining this fight is one of the surest ways to unify a sales team, which otherwise would simply be a cohort of individuals out to achieve their own quotas. By combining efforts, a sales organization can demonstrate value as one unit rather than leaving individuals to fight alone, which strengthens its position.

According to a report from Altify, only about one-third (35%) of marketers think that their companies are effective at maximizing the potential revenue from their major accounts while those in sales roles had more confidence in their ability to gain optimal revenue (48%) than their marketing counterparts.

The sales team’s perspective is that it is the clear winner. In fact, in its mind, there is no doubt that sales will always win this classic battle!

Selling Drives Revenue

Ask any salesperson and he/she will tell you that without the sales team, there is no revenue. The sales team converts the leads that marketing brings in, which makes them the keystone of any organization.

An impeccably designed marketing campaign can only bring leads to the doorstep, it cannot invite them inside and convince them to sit down for a cup of coffee. Marketing often overlooks this basic fact when making their case for victory. Furthermore, organic leads will always exist independent of the marketing team because word of mouth referrals do not require an elaborate campaign to nurture. Marketing efforts serve to amplify the number of leads, not create them in their entirety.

Sales Teams Build Relationships

Furthermore, sales organizations cultivate customer relationships. Instead of delivering well-poised lines aimed at piquing interest and encouraging clicks, salespeople take the time to listen to customers’ individual needs. Proficient sales representatives will customize a solution that addresses a customer’s pain points, priorities, barriers to purchase, and aspirational goals. This one-on-one attention not only helps close the sale, but builds the brand experience on which customer loyalty and advocacy is built.

For this reason, customers often view sales professionals as more trustworthy and relatable than marketing professionals. Salespeople can use this relative position to garner valuable insights about audience psychographics, which can be shared with the marketing team to improve their continued efforts. In this way, the sales team aids in the very marketing efforts that generate many of their leads.

Data Proves that Sales Wins

Sales managers and leadership have a plethora of conversion data to prove the sales team’s worth and they lean on it to make strategic decisions. They focus on opportunity win rate, average deal size, sales funnel leakage, average sales cycle, and other key selling metrics to analyze and improve upon their efforts. Improvements in these areas can be directly tied to changes in revenue, which gives credence to the verdict that the sales team is the clear winner.

What is At Stake?

In the ongoing battle with the marketing team, sales personnel feel that they need to win because compensation is often tied to the victory in the form of bonuses. However, that obvious motivation is certainly not the only reason they are invested in the outcome.

Pride is also at stake, which is a driving factor for all hardworking employees, but especially salespeople who tend to be more competitive by nature. Asking them to put this aside goes against not only their natural inclinations, but also what makes them top performing employees. Personal satisfaction in a job well-done and recognition for doing so will always motivate sales teams to keep fighting until they win.

Salespeople have a tough job – they put in long hours working with leads that may not be well qualified or may have overwhelming barriers to purchase. However, regardless of these obstacles, they are expected to do what it takes to close the sale. As customer-facing employees, they put in their time in the trenches, which galvanizes their need for victory.

According to Jeffrey James, a contributing editor of, the sales team knows (or perceives) the following as truth:

  1. Marketing Acts Superior
  2. Marketing Doesn't Believe in Sales
  3. Marketing Thinks Selling Is Easy
  4. Marketing Avoids Being Measured
  5. Marketing Claims to be 'Driving Sales'
  6. Marketing Pretends It's Strategic
  7. Marketing Wastes Money
  8. Marketing Pretends It's Engineering
  9. Marketing Argues About Lead Quality

With all of this on the line, salespeople are not likely to wave the white flag without an incentive to do so. Before a sales team will give up the fight, they need to have their fears assuaged regarding compensation, job security, respect, and appreciation.

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Topics: Sales vs Marketing