The difference between sales and marketing

I’ve spent over 25 years working in and around marketing and have been asked a great many times what the difference is between marketing and sales. I’ve also heard lots of different answers to the question from both marketing and sales experts.
Before I even try to answer the question, I generally respond with my own question – “why do you want to know?” In many small and medium sized businesses sales and marketing can be seamless both within the company and to the customers. When combined well, they should work together to take a potential customer or prospect on a journey from unaware of the product or service to a loyal customer.
If I’m pushed into an answer I generally try to keep a fairly simplistic response – marketing generates demand, whilst sales converts demand to orders. Now I’m sure there will be lots of examples that can contradict this, but I find it’s often a useful start point.
In the businesses I have been employed by and the businesses I now work with I’ve also seen occasions where the difference between marketing and sales can cause disagreement and even conflict over actions and priorities.
I read a good anecdote earlier today that gave me an interesting example of how the different role of sales and marketing can result in a very different approach to a business situation.
Company X has built a social media presence resulting in 5,000 fans or followers. The marketing director plans to create stories, options and benefits for this group which will naturally lead them to share them with their friends and family and grow the fans and followers to 25,000 and then to 50,000.
The sales director wants to put the group through his sales funnel, filter out the poor prospects and with an estimated 10% conversion rate he can generate 500 orders in the next 6 months.
Neither is right or wrong, just deliver a different scale of benefit to the company in a different time-frame.
Happy selling and marketing,