Sales are essentially activities related to the quantity or sale of products at a certain targeted date interval. The sale of a product to someone else is also commonly considered to be a sale. There is much confusion in defining sales and what they are related. Some people believe that sales are primarily emotional reactions to the sale of a product that there is no logic behind it, and others believe that sales are logical reactions to the demands of customers. In order to understand sales and their relationship to organizations, it is useful to first understand what sales are not.
Sales are not the result of marketing activities. Marketing activities like creating a marketing plan, developing a product, launching it, packaging it, and other marketing activities do not constitute sales. This includes activities like attending tradeshows or conventions, making business presentations, sending out promotional flyers, giving speeches, etc. None of these activities can be considered sales because they do not result in an actual sale or transaction of the product. Instead, these activities are conducted for the purpose of developing a list of prospective customers or prospects, or for gathering data to be used for the development of marketing campaigns.
Sales, on the other hand, are the result of activities designed to close a sale or a transaction. In most organizations, the two business functions are often confused with one another. For example, a salesperson may call a potential client or lead and make an appointment to have the prospect to meet with the salesperson. The two business functions then come into play when the prospect decides to buy the product or service offered by the seller at the meeting. While the meeting is taking place, the salesperson is performing his or her role as a marketing professional. The prospect agreed to purchase the product or service at the time of the sales call because of the sales pitch made by the salesperson.
As mentioned earlier, salespeople do not sell products or services. Rather, they close sales. Salespeople, therefore, need to understand the difference between selling to a prospect and client. Clients are interested in buying only when they are ready to buy, whereas prospective buyers want to be the ones who initiate the sale. A good salespeople, therefore, needs to apply the marketing principles of getting in front of the prospect and persuading them to initiate the sale or buy.
The process of selling is often referred to as marketing. This process encompasses a variety of activities designed to identify potential customers, obtain their contact information, and convince them to make a purchase. Some of these activities are commonly referred to as market research. Market research is crucial for all types of businesses, including sales companies. Without proper market research, sales companies cannot determine which customers are most likely to become buyers and which customers are more likely to become potential buyers but aren’t likely to do so.
Market research is also used to identify the target market or audiences for which a product is designed. For example, a shampoo company may design a commercial that emphasizes the fact that its product is suitable for hair care professionals. On the other hand, a travel company may design a commercial that emphasizes the fact that the product is suitable for travelers. When it comes to marketing, two business functions are often combined: one to identify a customer segment and the other to develop and produce marketing materials or commercials that appeal to this customer segment. In most cases, one will perform a market research prior to the other.