Sales are activities related to the procurement of products or services at a specific date and time. The sale of a product or service by a seller to a buyer is also often considered sales. A sales person, therefore, is responsible for conveying information, increasing client interest, developing relationships, and closing sales. In the US, sales agents are generally employed by selling companies, such as J.C Penny’s, to further the company’s business. Some sales people are independent contractors. Others work for publicly traded companies or for self-employed professionals.
Sales and marketing refer to two business functions. One function deals with bringing buyers and sellers together. The other function is marketing, which seeks to spread the word about products and services offered by a company to the public. Sales and marketing departments can be subdivided into marketing, research, and planning. The research department studies market behavior; prepares marketing plans, and carries out the plans; the marketing department implements the plans.
The primary function of sales and marketing management is to acquire new customers and to retain existing customers. The success of salespeople depends largely on how well they communicate with the public about their products and services. Sales people must be able to understand the customer needs and desires. The success of marketing management depends on how effectively they apply the knowledge of the customer to create and develop new services and products and maintain and increase the usefulness of current products. Both types of management require the cooperation of the other, often involving cross functional teams of salespeople and marketing managers.
Sales and marketing management require thorough and detailed planning. Often, this planning is conducted by individual business development managers. However, businesses must have systems in place so that these functions can be coordinated and directed as needed. Some companies employ a central business development manager, whose responsibility it is to oversee all of the functions of sales and marketing. Other companies use separate business development managers for each area of responsibility.
One of the primary purposes of sales and marketing is to build sales leads. In order to build enough sales leads, salespeople must be able to generate interest, which is defined as being an interest, a desire or a need that creates a potential to close a sale. There are many ways to build interest, such as through creating advertisements, providing information about the product or service, and distributing promotional materials. Sales and marketing departments have a role in generating sales leads by using advertising and promotional tools within their areas of responsibility. The goal is to create a list of potential customers, who may become future clients, by making an adequate number of sales calls.
As you can see from the examples above, there is a significant difference between sales and marketing. Salespeople are directly involved in contacting potential customers and prospecting for sales; while marketing managers are responsible for creating a variety of ways in which to contact both current and potential customers. However, these two business functions work closely together because both are necessary for a successful sales career. Understanding how these two basic business functions impact lead generation may help all business managers who manage their departments both sales and marketing.