A sale is the pinnacle activity involved in selling products or services in return for money or other compensation. It is an act of completion of a commercial activity.
The "deal is closed", means the customer has consented to the proposed product or service by making full or partial payment (as in case of installments) to the seller.
A sale is completed by the seller, the owner of the goods. It starts with consent (or agreement) to an acquisition or appropriation or request followed by the passing of title (property or ownership) in the item and the application and due settlement of a price, the obligation for which arises due to the seller's requirement to pass ownership, being a price the seller is happy to part with ownership of or any claim upon the item. The purchaser, though a party to the sale, does not execute the sale, only the seller does that. To be precise the sale completes prior to the payment and gives rise to the obligation of payment. If the seller completes the first two above stages (consent and passing ownership) of the sale prior to settlement of the price the sale is still valid and gives rise to an obligation to pay.
The sale can be made through:
- Direct sales, involving person to person contact
- Buying Facilitation Method
- Pro forma sales
- Door-to-door or traveling salesperson
- Request for proposal – An invitation for suppliers, through a bidding process, to submit a proposal on a specific product or service. An RFP is usually part of a complex sales process, also known as enterprise sales.
- Business-to-business – Business-to-business sales are much more relationship based owing to the lack of emotional attachment to the products in question. Industrial/Professional Sales is selling from one business to another
- Indirect, human-mediated but with indirect contact
- Sales Methods:
Agents in the sales process can be defined as representing either side of the sales process for example:Sales broker or Seller agency
or seller agent:This is a traditional role where the salesperson represents a person or company on the selling end of the deal.Buyers broker or Buyer brokerage
:This is where the salesperson represents the consumer making the purchase. This is most often applied in large transactions.Disclosed dual agent:This is where the salesperson represents both parties in the sale and acts as a mediator for the transaction. The role of the salesperson here is to over see that both parties receive an honest and fair deal, and is responsible to both.Transaction broker:This is where the salesperson doesn't represent either party, but handles the transaction only. This is where the seller owes no responsibility to either party getting a fair or honest deal, just that all of the papers are handled properly.Sales Outsourcing: This is direct branded representation where the sales reps are recruited, hired, and managed by an external entity but hold quotas, represent themselves as the brand of the client, and report all activities (through their own sales management channels) back to the client. It is akin to a virtual extension of a sales force. (see Sales Outsourcing entry)Sales Managers:It is the goal of a qualified and talented sales manager to implement various sales strategies and management techniques in order to facilitate improved profits and increased sales volume. They are also responsible for coordinating the sales and marketing department as well as oversight concerning the fair
execution of the sales process by his agents. Salespersons: The primary function of professional sales is to generate and close leads, educate prospects, fill needs and satisfy wants of consumers appropriately, and therefore turn prospective customers into actual ones. The successful questioning to understand a customer's goal and requirements relevant to the product, the further creation of a valuable solution by communicating the necessary information that encourages a buyer to achieve their goal at an economic cost is the responsibility of the salesperson or the sales engine (e.g. internet, vending machine
etc). A good sales person should never miss sell or over evaluate the customers requirements.
The Sales and Marketing Relationship
and Sales are very different, but have the same goal. Marketing improves the selling
environment and plays a very important role in sales. If the marketing department generates a potential customers list, it can be beneficial for sales. The marketing
department's goal is increase the number of interactions between potential customers and the sales team using promotional techniques such as advertising
, sales promotion
, and public relations
, creating new sales channels
, or creating new products (Product Development
), among other things. In most large corporations, the marketing department is structured in a similar fashion to the sales department and the managers of these teams must coordinate efforts in order to drive profits and business success. For example, an "inbound" focused campaign seeks to drive more customers "through the door" giving the sales department a better chance of selling their product to the consumer. A good marketing program would address any potential downsides as well. For example, very often (for legal reasons, e.g. in non-store retailing) companies have to provide credit to customers. This may cause a conflict between the sales department on the one hand and the credit department on the other hand (See Burez & Van den Poel (2007) for potential solutions to this problem.). A good marketing plan would recognize this problem and address it by, for example, target marketing where credit risk is minimal.
The Sales department's goal would be to improve the interaction between the customer and the sales facility or mechanism (example, web site) and/or salesperson. Sales management would break down the selling process and then increase the effectiveness of the discreet processes as well as the interaction between processes. For example, in many out-bound sales environments, the typical process is out bound calling, the sales pitch, handling objections, opportunity identification, and the close. Each step of the process has sales-related issues, skills, annd training needs as well as marketing solutions to improve each discrete step, as well as the whole process.
One further common complication of marketing involves the inability to measure results for a great deal of marketing initiatives. In essence, many marketing and advertising executives often lose sight of the objective of sales/revenue/profit, as they focus on establishing a creative/innovative program, without concern for the top or bottom lines. Such is a fundamental pitfall of marketing for marketing's sake.
Marketing potentially negates need for sales
Some sales authors and consultants contend that an expertly planned and executed marketing strategy may negate the need for outside sales entirely. They suggest that by effectively bringing more customers "through the door" and enticing them to contact you, sales organizations can dramatically improve their results, efficiency, profitability, and allow salespeople to provide a drastically higher level of customer service
and satisfaction, instead of spending the majority of their working hours searching for someone to sell to.
While this theory is present in a few marketing consulting companies the practical and realistic application of this principle has not been widely proven in the market and sales forces worldwide continue to be responsible for developing business as well as closing it.
Some marketing consulting firms postulate that each selling opportunity at each enterprise lies on a continuum of numbers of people involved, necessary degree of face-to-face interaction, overhead, and through-put time, to name a few dimensions. The number of people involved in actual face-to-face selling at, say, a clothing store is probably vastly different than at an on-line book-seller.
Sales and Marketing Alignment and Integration
Another key area of conversation that has arisen is the need for alignment and integration between corporate sales and marketing functions. According to a report from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, only 40 percent of companies have formal programs, systems or processes in place to align and integration between the two critical functions. Traditionally, these two functions, as referenced above, has been largely segmented and left in siloed areas of tactical responsibility. In Glen Petersen’s book, “The Profit Maximization Paradox,” the changes in the competitive landscape between the 1950s and today are so dramatic that the complexity of choice, price and opportunities for the customer forced this seemingly simple and integrated relationship between sales and marketing to change forever. Petersen goes on to highlight that salespeople are spending approximately 40 percent of their time preparing customer-facing deliverables while leveraging less than 50 percent of the materials created by marketing, adding to the perception that marketing is out of touch with the customer, and sales is resistant to messaging and strategy. Organizations like The Coalition to Leverage and Optimize Sales Effectiveness (CLOSE) CLOSE
. . have emerged as a facilitator to mend the relationship between sales and marketing.
Notes and references