Are Sales and Marketing the Same? Here’s Why Coaches Need Both

sales and marketing

Marketing vs sales – which should you focus on to grow your coaching business?

This is actually a trick question. The truth is that sales and marketing are equally important for coaches who run their own businesses. 

And too many coaches fall into the trap of believing that marketing and sales are interchangeable. 

So… are marketing and sales the same? If not, what is the difference between marketing and sales? Keep reading to find out:

  • What is the difference between sales and marketing?
  • How marketing and sales work together
  • Why your coaching business needs both marketing and sales

What Is The Difference Between Sales and Marketing?

Have you ever wondered if sales and marketing are words that describe the same thing?

The simple answer is no. They’re two completely separate tools that you need if you want to grow your coaching business. So, let’s go into the definition of sales and marketing to understand the difference.

Marketing acts as the megaphone for your coaching business. Your marketing showcases the value of your coaching programs to your target audience. 

But marketing isn’t solely about the promotion of your services. It’s a strategic process that digs deep into market research, product development, pricing, distribution, and communication. 

The ultimate goal of the marketing process is to understand your audience’s needs so you can position your coaching services effectively and stand out from the crowd.

But don’t mistake marketing as a one-off event. It’s a continuous process that requires a steady hand to:

Whether through social media, content creation, email marketing, or other strategies, marketing aims to make your coaching expertise a hot topic of conversation among your dream clients.

Let’s see what marketing can look like in action. Pia Edberg is a self-publishing coach for non-fiction writers. One of her marketing strategies is to create posts on Instagram, such as this one:

sales and marketing

This post is effective because it addresses an important pain point that writers often struggle with: 

Limiting beliefs. 

It provides value to potential clients by giving them an exercise they can work on. But, at the same time, it builds trust and credibility by showing how she has helped existing clients, too!

Now, let’s switch gears to the second half of the equation – sales. 

Sales is the master of transformation. It turns curious leads into satisfied clients happy to work with you. 

This process includes activities like: 

  • One-on-one consultations and discovery sessions 
  • Persuasive communication
  • DM conversations
  • Objection handling
  • And much more

Sales is a relationship-driven process where your goal is to understand the needs of potential clients and demonstrate how your coaching services can meet those needs. Instead of simply building awareness, like in marketing, you’re showcasing how your coaching packages can work on an individual level – for every single potential client.

But sales don’t stop at closing the deal. The goal is to build long-lasting relationships with clients. Over time, your best clients can give you amazing testimonials and send business your way through referrals, too!

So what can “sales” look like? If you want an example, consider any sales call you’ve had with other coaches (or that you’ve given yourself). 

But sometimes, a piece of “content” can be sales, not marketing. Let’s look at an example.

Tracey Sofra of WOW Women is a financial coach and advisor from Australia. She provides a short 10-minute training as a lead magnet.

sales and marketing

Although the training does provide some value by showing the “what” of how her program works, it mainly operates as a sales tool. The video is meant to be a persuasive tool to encourage viewers to book their free retirement planning session.

As such, this is a sales tool – not a marketing tool. In this instance, the marketing tool would actually be the lead magnet opt-in page!

Imagine marketing as the initial spark and sales as the fuel that keeps the fire burning. Both are vital parts of running a successful coaching business. While marketing draws attention and garners leads, sales takes those leads and transforms them into paying clients.

When you make sure that your marketing and sales efforts work together in harmony, you can create a seamless journey for every potential client that goes through your coaching funnels. This alignment between marketing and sales means you get visibility to the right people and focus your energy on the best possible leads at the right time.

How Marketing and Sales Work Together for Online Coaches

Now that you understand how sales and marketing differ from each other, let’s explore how they truly come together to help you get new coaching clients.

Marketing is your ticket to reaching your dream clients. It’s your vehicle to get more people to know who you are.

With marketing, you can create content to meet several stages of the buyer’s journey, including:

  • Awareness: The potential client realizes they have a problem or desire and discovers your brand as a possible solution. During this ‘awareness’ stage, your job is to make a memorable first impression and spark their curiosity. You can use any platform, such as TikTok, LinkedIn, blogging, and more.
  • Interest: Now that they know about you, they may follow you or join your email list. At this ‘interest’ stage, keep feeding their curiosity with engaging, valuable content that sets you apart from the rest. 
  • Consideration: Potential clients are seriously considering your coaching services as a solution to their problem or desire. They may come across a piece of content where you describe a client case study.

Let’s say you’re a fitness coach. You could whip up a blog series on workout routines, nutrition tips, and mindset strategies. Share the good stuff regularly, and fitness enthusiasts will flock to you. 

You’ll be seen as a reliable coach who understands their needs and challenges.

Once you’ve grabbed your audience’s attention, it’s time to roll out the sales funnel… especially when they’ve reached the consideration phase. With personalized conversations and a thorough understanding of your client’s pain points, you can showcase your unique value and guide them to become paying clients.

Let’s say a potential client reaches out after listening to several guest podcast episodes featuring you. They’re interested but a little worried about committing to your program. They may have some limiting beliefs or objections about investing to work with you.

At this point, you can use your sales skills to soothe their concerns, highlight your flexible programs, and share success stories of clients who achieved massive transformation with your guidance.

Your marketing efforts can reel in the leads, and your sales skills can turn those leads into loyal clients. When you combine marketing and sales, you create a smooth buyer’s journey that takes every step into consideration.

Some of the best sales and marketing examples come from ad coach Laurel Portié. We can see how both work together in the strategy she teaches, which involves video content in both organic and paid content.

Her marketing videos capture the attention of new people who haven’t seen her brand before. This is marketing.

sales and marketing

Then, her sales process happens in two ways:

First, she’ll encourage people to contact her in her DMs if they want a free resource mentioned in her marketing videos. When people reach out, she’ll talk with them and see if it makes sense to get on a call. This is sales.

Second, she’ll retarget people who watched a portion of her videos with sales ads. These types of ads invite people to join her coaching membership. 

Effective marketing strategies hook your target audience, build credibility, and reel in the leads. Then, your sales skills nurture those leads, soothe client concerns, and seal the deal. You can create a successful and sustainable coaching business by making sure you leverage this dynamic duo.

Why Your Coaching Business Needs Both Marketing and Sales

sales and marketing

Some coaches may think that focusing solely on marketing or sales is sufficient, but both are essential for sustainable business growth. Here’s why.

1. Increased visibility to your ideal clients

Want to be seen? Marketing is the way to go. The more you use various marketing channels, the more potential clients you can draw in – even those who had no idea your coaching services existed.

Imagine running a coaching business tucked away in the shadows, known only to a select few. Without marketing strategies, your potential clients might miss out on the game-changing guidance you offer. 

But with a well-thought-out marketing plan, you can stretch your reach and make sure that your coaching services catch the eye of a larger audience.

2. Establish your credibility

When potential clients catch sight of your worthwhile content and expertise, they’ll start to see you as a trustworthy guide they can lean on when they’re eventually ready to hire a coach.

Building credibility isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have for every coaching business. 

Clients are looking for coaches with a solid track record and the ability to walk the talk. But without a solid sales and marketing strategy, establishing that credibility is almost impossible.

3. Generate a consistent flow of leads

Marketing makes you more visible and establishes credibility… great. But it also helps you add leads to your sales pipeline.

And without that flow of leads… your sales pipeline will dry up eventually. While some coaches build a thriving business from referrals alone, this method alone isn’t as reliable as having a predictable number of leads coming in every month.

4. Convert your leads 

Solid sales with a dry pipeline sucks. But the opposite is true, too. A pipeline full of leads won’t help you if you don’t have a sales process.

That’s why generating leads is just the first step. The real magic happens when you convert those leads into paying clients. Sales techniques play a crucial role in this process. By understanding the needs and desires of your potential clients, you can tailor your sales approach to address their specific concerns and showcase how your coaching services can help them overcome challenges and achieve their goals. 

5. Sustainable business growth

Building a successful coaching business requires a continuous flow of clients. Establishing a synergy between marketing and sales creates a sustainable system that consistently attracts new clients and retains existing ones.

Plus, what you learn in your sales process can improve your marketing content! For instance, you’ll learn about pain points and objections, which you can then reflect on your marketing.

This means you’ll never go stale and always stay on top of your game. 

Sales VS Marketing: Start Doing Both To Grow Your Coaching Business

You need both a sales and marketing strategy if you want a successful coaching business that doesn’t fizzle out in the long term. While marketing creates awareness and generates leads, sales convert those leads into paying clients. 

And by harnessing the power of both, you can build a strong online presence, attract your target audience, and grow your coaching business! Want to streamline your coaching business so you can focus on crushing your marketing and sales? Why not try Paperbell? This all-in-one coaching business app allows you to run your business the crazy-simple way. Grab your free account to try it out!

sales and marketing
By Charlene Boutin
Charlene is an email marketing and content strategy coach for small business owners and freelancers. Over the past 5 years, she has helped and coached 50+ small business owners to increase their traffic with blog content and grow their email subscribers.
October 27, 2023

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