Sales are non-monetary activities motivated by an emotional response to sell or buy goods. These can be motivated by economics, social policy, marketing, human need, or by any other motivation. Sales are generally measured in sales units. Some salespeople and companies divide sales in different units such as a basket full of oranges versus a basket full of apples. Other companies use terms such as a single sale and a volume sale. The basket test is a popular example used when assessing performance in sales measurement.
Sales are the result of a transaction between the seller and the buyer, which results in the sale of goods or services to one of the parties. The purchase of a particular service by a customer is a sale also referred to as a transaction. Sales people are trained to deal with individuals both as potential customers and potential sellers. Sales training measures skill in developing and understanding the customer, and the ability to establish a relationship that is based on mutual understanding and desire to sell, while building an efficient and effective system to deliver sales to the buyer.
Marketing is the process through which goods and services are sold to consumers. The term “marketing” usually refers to the practice of generating sales leads, preparing proposals for potential transactions, and tracking sales. The activities involved in marketing are also called salespeople’s work. A marketing manager is responsible for the identification of the advertising budget, determining the most effective marketing mix, monitoring advertising results, setting and meeting goals for marketing and developing marketing plans, analyzing market trends and practices, and devising methods to improve marketing effectiveness and improve customer satisfaction. The various forms of marketing used include print and electronic media, promotional and referral marketing, merchandising, and networking. In addition, professional selling refers to the process of arranging for business meetings, providing advice to clients on product selection, selling products, and evaluating the performance of sales personnel.
The four stages of the sales process are development, investigation, presentation, and transaction. The development stage is primarily concerned with the preparation of proposals for sale to potential buyers. This stage includes defining the transaction objectives, researching buyers, conducting market research, preparing marketing materials, presenting the offerings to buyers, and testing the product or service. Investigation includes analyzing customer needs, collecting financial data, interviewing customers, conducting tests of samples, and obtaining financial support, such as credit cards, from suppliers.
Presentation is the next stage in the sales process. In this stage the salesperson will assemble all the data obtained from investigations, discussions with clients, testing, and evaluations to create a full-fledged proposal for the client. Next, the salesperson will contact the prospects according to the nature of the business and corresponding needs. Outside sales refer to these types according to the types within the broader umbrella of marketing. These types include business to business lead generation, business to person lead generation, and business to industry lead generation.
The final two business functions, transaction and settlement, deal with the actual transaction. The sale and purchase of the product or service and the payment are the major focus in this stage. Settlement involves the payment of funds to the seller for the sale. It is important that the two business functions be separate, especially when dealing with finances. Otherwise, finance might become an excuse for not completing the sales process. Sales and marketing professionals should also be aware that there is a difference between sales and marketing.