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What is the Difference Between a Sales Led and Marketing Led Business?

Running a Business
What is the Difference Between a Sales Led and Marketing Led Business?

In this article we'll uncover the differences between being a Sales and Marketing Led company, so you can choose the strategy best suited to grow your business.

What is a Growth Strategy?

Your business has successfully operated for a few years simply from the great products and/or services that you provide, however, you now wish to start expanding your business! You also want to employ a bigger team, but you aren't sure what kind of people you should be employing to optimally grow your business.

The solution to this would be for a business to implement a Growth Strategy. A growth strategy is a plan that a company would use to identify challenges and map out its goals for its expansion. You can then use the information that has been gathered to decide what strategy would be best suited to help your business grow. Please find within this article explanations of two of the most widely used growth strategies; Sales Led Growth and Marketing Led Growth.

What is a 'Sales Led' Company?

A Sales Led company is an organisation that uses sales as its primary driver for growth strategy. This implies that they will typically have a trained and skilled sales team who will reach out directly to potential customers to sell the product/service. When a business gives its sales team the flexibility to pursue their own leads, this can be incredibly successful to increase the business's conversion rates of potential customers to paying customers who are purchasing and supporting your product/service. 

A sales led company often places a priority on growth strategy of sales and hitting short term revenue targets. This could lead to some assumptions that a sales led company only focuses on short term targets; however, armed with a well trained sales force, you will be able to quickly and effectively educate potential customers about the product/service that your business provides. A sales team that goes the extra mile to help potential customers understand the product/service will likely increase conversion, while also increasing the likelihood of customer retention.

What is a 'Marketing Led' Company?

Marketing Led companies use traditional marketing as their main tool to fuel their growth strategy. They do so by using tried and tested marketing activities such as advertising, branding or promotions.

Using a Marketing-Led strategy casts a wider net; reaching a larger quantity of potential customers in a shorter time frame. However, this can lead to one-way communication; which is where the company publicises one message/campaign about its product/service to a group of potential customers at one time. This restricts its ability to personalise messaging for each potential customer. 

Within marketing led companies, there is often a culture that encourages the understanding and fulfilment of their customers needs, whilst also creating a strong brand image with the aim of brand loyalty. To fulfil the needs of their customers, marketing led companies will use market research to develop their products to satisfy the needs or pain points of the customer with the goal to improve their overall satisfaction. 

What are the Differences Between a 'Sales Led' Company and a 'Marketing Led' Company?

If you are struggling to decide which method you should adopt for your growth strategy, it may be helpful to see the primary differences between being sales-led or marketing-led side-by-side. These differences may help you decide which strategy would work best for your business:

Sales Led Company

Marketing Led Company

  • Focuses on utilising a highly skilled sales team to close deals and increasing conversion rates of customers
  • A sales plan includes the details about the sales process being used, team structure, target market and goals
  • Sales led companies would use specific Sales Methods (value selling, identification of a Unique Selling Point, Analysing past sales)
  • A sales led company attracts its customers by focusing on locating prospects and generating sales with new customers
  • Sales led companies typically prioritise prospecting with new customers over retaining existing customers. This may be done through traditional cold calling or telemarketing for example.
  • Focuses on broadcasting the value of their product/service to new and existing customers
  • A marketing plan outlines what the product is, who the product is for, where it will be sold and its price
  • Marketing led Companies would use specific Marketing Strategies such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) & Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing
  • A marketing led company gains its customers from building a brand and bringing the information to them through advertising & marketing
  • Marketing led companies prioritise retaining their existing customers whether this is done by developing customer loyalty programs, providing them with exceptional customer service or even discount codes

Want Some More Info?

Hopefully this article has helped you understand the differences between a Marketing-Led and a Sales-Led company. If you wish to carry on reading, please dive into our Knowledge Base which has plenty of articles such as Capital Allowances to What is a Balance sheet. If you wish to incorporate a new company, you can do so by using our simple, affordable Incorporation Service on Easy Digital Company

Author: Adam Parry

Adam is one of our Digital Accountants specialising in Small and Micro Accounting and Corporation Tax. He holds a First class Degree in Accounting and Finance and is an active contributor to our knowledge base articles. When not delivering a first class service he enjoys the ski slopes of Austria, dining and also has a keen intersting in classic cars.

Read All articles by Adam Parry
This article is information only and has been prepared for general guidance on matters of interest only, and does not constitute legal, accounting, tax, investment or other professional advice or services. You should not act upon the information contained in this article without obtaining specific professional or legal advice. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is given as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this article, and, to the extent permitted by law, Comdal Limited, its members, employees and agents do not accept or assume any liability, responsibility or duty of care for any consequences of you or anyone else acting, or refraining to act, in reliance on the information contained in this publication or for any decision based on it.

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