BUSINESS COACHING & GROWTH STRATEGY for purpose driven women entrepreneurs

BUSINESS COACHING & GROWTH STRATEGY for purpose driven women entrepreneurs

Marketing vs Sales: Which Is the Answer for Business Growth?

The HEART Sell Blog
with Dora Rankin

Prior To The Advancement of Digital Marketing How Did Businesses Grow?

It can feel like digital marketing is the only way to grow your business these days. You may (like myself) have invested thousands in programs, courses, and coaches to learn how to build a business online. Only to far too often be left feeling like a duck out of water - which is ironic (and extra frustrating) after spending years mastering your profession and honing in on your expertise. Understanding marketing vs sales is key to thriving on your own terms and owning your economic power. 

The truth is, you don't need digital marketing to build your business. You can even grow a business without social media. It truly is up to you. You are more powerful than you know.

To answer the original question, we need to return to business fundamentals.
The simplest answer is before digital marketing businesses had two teams solely focused on growth. A sales team and a marketing team (I know, because I built and led the sales teams). And they still do! Even today, the most successful Fortune 500 businesses and the most successful VC backed high growth start-ups have sales and marketing teams.
So why so much talk about online marketing being the answer to growth? Well, digital marketers are good at their job. Let me start off by saying, I'm not anti-online marketing, heck I'm writing a blog to discuss it. However, when you are growing your business you MUST have both marketing and sales.
In this article, I will discuss what all of this means for women like you and I. Women who have big goals and are running a solo or small team supported business. Women who need to manage both marketing and sales to reach, and exceed, big goals. 

The Role Of Marketing In Business Growth

Since marketing requires people to find you it means you're testing your audience to see who responds. I like to call this the inbound approach. Marketing is made up of SEO, your website, newsletters, direct mail, email campaigns, billboards, social media posting, ads and blogs to name a few.

The primary role of marketing is to nurture your sales process and add credibility. Marketing is NOT your sales process. Marketing isn't directly connected to revenue like we think it is. Sales is directly connected to your revenue. 

Marketing is a long game. You typically need 12-18 months to see consistent results with your marketing. This is why you can exhaust yourself keeping up with marketing and still not know where your clients are coming from or how to find them. If you want to get off the revenue roller coaster, you need to have a sales process. When you learn the skillset required to create a sales process for your business, you can create a steady flow of quality leads and amplify your income and impact in just 3-6 months. 

What Is Sales?

Marketing is how your people find you. Sales is how you find your people.
The major difference between sales and marketing is sales is proactive. With marketing, you invest time and energy creating only to hope the right people will find you. With sales, you have control. There is a process, and a formula to success.
In the world of marketing and sales, sales can get a bad rap. There's so much talk about sales being sleazy that it stops us from selling. We lean too heavily on marketing because it feels safe. Remember, most successful businesses have both marketing and sales teams and strategies. The most successful entrepreneurs and founders do as well. Even if YOU are your sales team, you must not leave out sales!

Dora Rankin Coaching Sales vs Marketing Comparison Table

The Role of Sales Strategy In Business Growth

What is a sales strategy? In my 25 years of experience building and leading sales teams and advising women in business, I have found that very few people understand what a sales strategy is. Which makes it impossible to implement one! Think of marketing as behind the scenes (counterintuitive as that may be) and your sales strategy as the front line. Sales is outbound. In The HEART Sell Course I teach the four ways to get sales. Marketing is only one of them. 
In addition to marketing, you need a strategy for direct outreach to your ideal client. You need to understand your audience from not only a marketing perspective, but (most importantly) a sales perspective. You also need to develop outbound centers of influence and get strategic about partnerships and building an ecosystem of authority - so you don't find yourself stuck relying on (unpredictable) referrals and word of mouth.
When done properly, sales is all about authentic relationship building. In today's world, with all the noise and hyperactive marketing tactics, relationship driven sales is a novelty. If you put relationships (and people) first, you can make life changing amounts of money while living your purpose. You can go from no business to $60k contracts like my client Lauren, or create your first million dollar year like my client Amodhi (learn more about their journeys here). 

Why Is Online Marketing The Popular Focus for Business Growth?

Online marketing has become popular because it is accessible and exciting. It is easy to get online, follow the trends, and feel like you are building a business - while hoping you will be the next six or seven figure success story. There is that word again, hope. Hope is not a strategy! I have been building businesses long enough to know that the trends are just trends. They aren't proven long term methods. The modern marketing landscape changes so rapidly that you can lose steam just trying to keep up. Large businesses dedicate entire teams and sizable budgets to manage their marketing machine. Yet one person within the sales department who follows the sales process can bring in revenue. THAT is the power of sales!

In The HEART Sell Course and with my private coaching and advisory clients, I teach women how to spend less time on marketing while increasing their revenue and influence (where it matters). Think 80% sales, 20% marketing. 

Marketing is more than social media - but I have found that social media, in particular, gets the most qualified of experts stuck trying to keep up. Some of my most successful clients spend little to no time on social media, their focus is sales and relationships. Social media trends are fun, and you should use the ones you like - but they aren't the answer to your revenue growth.
Those with hefty marketing budgets can afford to spend time and energy on marketing. But when you are a solo or small team supported female founder, coach, or consultant, your time and energy are your greatest assets. You have to manage them wisely. Following a sales first, less is more marketing approach will free up space for you to master relationship driven sales.
The ROI on elevating your sales skillset is infinite.
Your ability to build relationships, activate sales through proactive lead generation, and develop systems around your sales process and skill set will benefit you for life - and for any business. It's a forever strategy.

Why Sales Should Be The Focus for Business Growth

When you develop a sales strategy based on The HEART Sell, the sleaze and the creepy cold calling and DMs are only your assumption, they aren't real. But be careful, because we often actually use those thoughts to keep us from building out a sales strategy at all! 

If you didn't already, you may now agree that sales is important. But you have very likely experienced sales in a way that doesn't feel good and makes it challenging for you to commit. Or maybe you are committed to sales, but somehow it just isn't working. Either way, you are in the right place. Firstly, The HEART Sell is all about putting people and relationships first. Secondly, there are processes you can follow to make it work. 
Below is what I DON'T let my people do:

    I don't want you playing the 'numbers game' and cold calling a bunch of people with knots in your stomach
    I don't want you digging through social media for prospects and sending DMs that make you want to hide under the covers after you hit send
    I don't want you pitching unless you are 100% certain you can help someone and they are ready to invest in solving a problem 

I want you to build relationships. That's it! I want you to stop waiting for people to find you and start finding your people. In a way that feels good to you! I DO want you to learn to love, and lead, NON SALESY sales calls. My FREE HEART Sell Non Salesy Sales Conversations Guide will show you how!

When you love what you do and why you do it, it is your job to create that same energy for your clients. The founder of Spanx, Sara Blakely was so passionate about her product that she ran around for an entire year wearing her Spanx shirt and building real relationships with her buyers, she used the HEART Sell without even knowing it!

How To Add Sales Into Your Business Growth Plan


Where should you start? Always start with a mindset shift. If you're reading this and feeling resistant, acknowledge it and ask yourself why? Follow that up with what the tangible goals are for your company and addressing the honesty of knowing where your strengths and opportunities are within your business.


Begin by looking at your buyers from a sales perspective not just a brand and marketing perspective. In The HEART Sell Course we walk through an audience audit. Inside the book, The Widest Net, Pam Slim talks about four questions that will help you identify your audience. Using those questions and a series of my questions you can start to develop your ideal client profile(s) from a sales perspective


You want to grow your business - in a way that feels good to you. You want to reach, or exceed, your revenue goals. A sales strategy can actually get you there.


If Sara Blakely can run around for an entire year building relationships so can you. I promise I'm not going to leave you hung up to dry. Inside The HEART Sell one of the most pivotal pieces of the puzzle is the actual conversation. The art of how to have a non-salesy sales conversation (grab the guide - FREE). When we realize every conversation can be an opportunity to solve a problem for someone we like, doing what we love, we see sales through a different lens. An authentic lens. A lens with integrity.


No one likes a greasy car salesman. Haggling and hustling, and not leading with mutual best interests at heart is just gross. The HEART Sell, and the skills I teach and coach around it are the only sales strategy you will ever need.


Many business owners wonder how to find prospects or leads. Not understanding your audience from a sales perspective and being unsure where to find them is one reason we revert to relying on marketing - leaning on things like lead magnets and paid ads to draw people in. The problem with relying on the inbound marketing approach is you don't control getting in front of your buyer and you need a large audience (either earned with time or money) to make it work.
Prospecting without the pitch is an ingredient inside the HEART Sell that does more then create connection. When done with integrity it's well appreciated. So many times I hear from clients how surprised they were to NOT feel sold to when they were on sales calls with me. Relationship building, showing up leading with service, and the sincerity of truly wanting to know your buyer makes both you and your prospect more comfortable. Want to know how it's done? Download The HEART Sell Conversations Guide!

How Does Sales and Marketing Work Together?

One of my favorite examples of a business who successfully executed a sales and marketing strategy is The Little Words Project. The founder began by designing and creating bracelets in her home with her family. She started selling them at farmers markets and throughout her local area. Her sales strategy was led by her family. Her business was wrapped around her family. Her parents helped her make the bracelets and her husband worked on the operations.
For several years Adriana stole the show sharing how important building relationships using her bracelets could be. What happened? She landed a contract with 700 Nordstrom stores. What else happened? In 2023 she went viral on the MTV Video Music Awards when Taylor Swift gave The Little Words Project a shout out when she won the award. See the connection? Marketing wasn't the driver of going viral, sales and relationship building was the foundation that got her there. Pretty amazing huh.

The Bottom Line

The reality is that it is all too easy to have shiny object syndrome and waste time and money looking for a magic pill. Remember the days of infomercials and QVC. Just replace them with TikTok and Instagram. It's a trend. Growing your business with long term proven methods is always a smart move. Relationship driven sales has been around for ages. It is timeless, but it can feel foreign to those of us building an online business. I know you can learn the skills needed to make six figure quarters, months, and contracts a new reality for you because my clients do it all the time - either by working with me privately, or by taking The HEART Sell Course - where I teach you everything you need to know in just three weeks! 


Hey, Dora here!
Leveraging my 25 years of sales and business development experience and my signature HEART Sell method, I help women in business build relationship driven, revenue rich businesses they love without relying on social media or paid marketing. If you think you may be ready for 1:1 support, I recommend checking out my work with me page or booking a call with me here.
If you want to dabble in my world a little bit, my favorite two resources, The HEART Sell Course and The HEART Sell Conversations Guide are linked below!
Thank you for being here.