Selling is exchanging a specific good or service in exchange for money, it’s a system that has been part of daily human life for thousands of years. The world of Sales is possibly one of the oldest and while its fundamentals remain the same, it has evolved quite a bit over time to a very refined and demanding field of work.
Professionals working in the field of sales can be divided into two groups depending on whom they sell to, there’s business-to-customers (B2C), selling directly to the final consumer, and Business-to-Business (B2B), selling on large scales to other smaller businesses. The first one meaning products and services are sold from one company or organization to another; and the latter that the final customer is encouraged to buy the product or service immediately and directly from a business, company, or Salesperson.
B2B and B2C professionals can be found working in the same industry as they’re not mutually exclusive but rather make up a chain of production. A Farmer may sell their products to a larger food company which will process, pack, and distribute it around a certain area where it could be either be resold to a super market and then on to the final consumer. That same Farmer could also sell their products directly to the consumer and skip the entire chain. It all depends on concepts such as supply and demand, and of course, whatever benefits the seller the most.
Marketing and Sales are two fields that differ greatly, but generally have the same goal and there can’t be one without the other. Selling is the final stage in Marketing, which also includes pricing, promotion, placement, and product. A company may make the greatest product or provide the finest service in the world, but if they can't get anyone to buy it, they will definitely go out of business ̶ and fast. Therefore, the importance of a Sales department in a company or organization; it’s an essential function of any business, large or small, public or private.
Sales professionals are usually responsible for the following:
- Interacting with customers to ensure satisfaction.
- Promoting sales, servicing existing clients, and establishing new accounts.
- Keeping up-to-date on current market changes and trends.
- Catering to the customer’s needs, maintaining the highest standards of quality and service, constantly enhancing the customer’s experience.
- Attending and resolving complaints in order to find a solution and provide a better service.
All professionals working in the Sales field usually share the same characteristics, which include, but are not limited to:
Professionals looking to enter the world of Sales will usually not be required to have a specific degree, especially when referring to entry-level jobs, such as Sales Associate. However, employers usually prefer applicants with college or university degrees in Marketing, Sales, or Business. Industry specific Sales experience is considered an asset for any candidate in this profession, especially when it comes to Sales Engineers and Sales Representatives.
Employers tend to emphasize more on individual aptitudes, personality, experience, and expertise of the applicant, rather than on their academic achievements. The perfect candidate for Sales is able to demonstrate excellent communication and people skills, have the ability to handle a job that involves regular and frequent travel, show a confident and ambitious attitude and approach to work, and demonstrate outstanding customer service skills.