Article written by Raja Idris Kamarudin

Many people do not seem to know or understand the difference between SALES and MARKETING.

How often have we heard a Salesman describing himself as a Marketing Executive?

A salesman is a salesman and a marketing executive is a marketing executive.

A salesman’s job is to sell his company’s products and services, whereas a marketing executive’s job is to gather product and market information on his company's products or services and his competitors’ products or services.

Generally, Marketing Executives do NOT sell any product. They focus on gathering market information to assist the company and the salespeople to better understand the market and their competitors.   

However, in order for salesmen to do a good and comprehensive job, they need to carry out market researches on their products or services in relations or comparison to their competitors products or services.  

They also need to understand what the market wants and needs and how their products or services measures up to these wants and needs.

For example, if the prospect needs a lightweight and small footprint laser or inkjet printer for mobile and travelling purposes, it is no point to introduce your printer that can print up to an A3 format with individual colour cartridges and is a monster of a machine at 20kg.

So your product would be a good fit, in let’s say, an Accounting Firm, where they need to print Annual Accounts in A3 format for their clients, so that all the figures and columns and rows of the spreadsheet can be easily read and all the charts will be in colour for clarity.

So knowing your product and how good your product is is not good enough. You also need to know what your competitors are offering and more importantly, what the market wants or needs.

Too many salespeople feel or even believe that selling is all about achieving target and quotas set by their management and head office. What they fail to understand is that selling is about fulfilling a customer’s needs.

And if your product does not meet these needs, then the customer will find no reason to buy your product and you would definitely lose the sale.

Sometimes, salespeople spend too much on selling and very little time on marketing and understanding the product’s features and unique selling propositions (USPs) as opposed to the customers’ wants and needs.

So to describe a salesman as a Sales and Marketing Executive may be accurate but you cannot describe a Marketing Executive the same.

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