Sales vs. Marketing: Who drives revenue?

Ah, the age-old question – whose job is it to bring in the moolah? Sales or marketing?  

Well, that’s a loaded question. The answer is both, but also one sometimes and one another.  

Sales is the team actively earning and maintaining business, so it sounds like sales is responsible for revenue. But sales couldn’t do that without the brand awareness efforts of the marketing team. 

This feels like a chicken and egg scenario. Which came first? I’m not sure, but we do know one thing – they are both delicious, and so are profits.  

Marketing Makes Money 

Have you ever heard the expression, “You have to spend money to make money”? My guess is that it was first spoken by a marketing. Marketing is not generally considered a revenue-generating department on the business’s balance sheet. Doing research and development, running advertisements, paying graphic designers; none of that makes money.  

So how can we say that marketing drives revenue? Well, that’s because marketing drives business to the sales team. Take an SaaS company for example – it’s uncommon for an organization to find these providers organically. Instead, SaaS companies need to pump money into digital advertising, outbound email blasts, and other marketing efforts in order to gain brand awareness. Once companies are familiar with you, they are able to buy from you. Without these efforts, sales has nobody to sell to. 

Marketing is imperative to the success of a business, and allows sales teams close business.  

Sales Makes More 

I am biased. I have spent over a decade wheeling and dealing my way into roles. I have personally managed customer budgets exceeding $2 million, leading my department in upselling and consistently hitting all measured KPIs.  

But this isn’t my resume, and this isn’t about me. It’s about how sales teams are the real money makers. The one’s on the front lines literally generating revenue as opposed to marketers who drive in the customers.  

Marketing does a great job of creating relevant content and targeting it towards buyers who then work with sales. That said, salespeople are the ones who actually explain the features, advantages, benefits, and rewards of purchasing the product or service to potential customers, walk them through the entire sales process, close the deals, and follow up to continue the relationship.  

That sounds like generating revenue to me, don’t you think? 


Teamwork makes the dream work. There is no I in team. And a hundred other old adages regarding teams. That’s the marriage of sales and marketing.  

In all of the years I have been a sales professional, I have always benefited from a marketing team who did what they could to drive customers my way. Without their leads, their social media posts, their email blasts and more, I probably wouldn’t have gotten half the amount of business I generated.  

That said, without sales, marketing gets no fun money. Sales has to generate enough revenue to cover marketing expenses since marketing itself doesn’t generate any. Someone has to pay for those graphic designers, so without sales, the entire operation falls apart.  

Sales and marketing both play a huge part in generating revenue. Who do you think contributes the most? 

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