The Sales-Marketing Spectrum

The Sales-Marketing Spectrum

Where your company falls on the sales-marketing spectrum matters. Here’s why.

Whether you realize it or not, your company falls on a sales−marketing spectrum. And how you handle where you fall on this spectrum matters a great deal to your company’s growth prospects.

Here’s why:

The Sales Far Side

On one end of the spectrum: Companies that only need sales efforts supported by what people in the marketing world call “marketing communications”—in other words, sales collateral, spec sheets, and the like—and by help with developing sales presentations and proposal writing.

Who falls on the sales far side? Companies that only need sales, and no marketing, are companies that get most of their revenue from a handful of clients. With the company’s senior leadership and one or two salespeople involved in a sales effort that focuses on only a few people, these companies don’t need the widespread reach of a formal marketing effort.

The Marketing Far Side

On the other end of the sales−marketing spectrum are companies like fast-food restaurants and e-commerce companies, which may have representatives to directly manage massive corporate accounts, yet do not have salespeople out prospecting among the possible-consumer masses. These companies bring in the bulk of their revenue almost entirely through marketing efforts.

When’s the last time you ran into a McDonald’s salesperson? How about a salesperson from Amazon? Exactly.

These companies need the reach formal marketing provides to build awareness and drive interest among broad-swath, disparate consumer groups, as they require numerous small transactions to hit their revenue targets.

The More Common Middle

Most companies fall somewhere in the middle of the sales−marketing spectrum. Some have heavier sales needs over marketing requirements, and some have the opposite requirements to hit revenue goals.

To add another twist, some companies even need to cover more than one point on the spectrum.

The latter types of companies include firms with resellers or brokers: They need to build their reseller or broker networks and then need to supply their resellers with marketing materials to reach an even broader swath of customer targets. Another example in this company type: Enterprise software firms that sell to large corporations yet need to engage a broad swath of end users to meet their clients’ targets.


If you’d previously figured that sales and marketing were mostly the same discipline, you have company. Though sales and marketing both drive revenue and growth, they serve different functions and, as tools in the growth toolbox, have different value to a company.

Sales is a direct medium: Salespeople and prospects have individual, personal interactions. Marketing is a broadcast medium: Marketers develop efforts that reach the largest possible percentage of your target market in the most efficient and effective way they can.

Most companies need both; typically, marketing casts the net, reels in the prospect, and hands the fresh catch over to the salesperson to do final wrangling until it’s landed.

Marketing efforts maximize the time of a sales team through raising market awareness, building understanding of the company’s offerings among key target audiences, shortening the sales cycle, minimizing true “cold” contacts, reducing price pressure, increasing margins, providing market and target data valuable to sales efforts, generating leads, analyzing prospect behavior prior to sales interaction, and beyond.

Sales teams help marketing teams through providing feedback on the resonance of messages in individual sales conversations, the nature of their direct conversations with target audiences, the sales funnel and sales process, the value of leads marketing provided, and beyond. Marketers then use these on-the-ground sales-team insights to tweak and adjust their marketing to provide ever better value.

Unless you’re far on one or the other side of the sales−marketing spectrum, sales and marketing work best in tandem.

How Do You Calibrate Your Marketing?

How much marketing you need and what kind of marketing you need depends on where you fall on the spectrum. Without this understanding, you can waste considerable time, money, resources—and lose opportunity and revenue in the process.

Need help knowing where your company falls and how you should adjust your marketing accordingly? Contact FrogDog.

Image courtesy of sscreations at

Posted: Feb 14, 2017
Updated: Aug 19, 2020
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