A sale can be defined as the exchange of money for a good or service. On the other hand, the term “Sales” refers to any activity related to selling or to the amount of goods or services sold in a given time period. The Sales function can be divided into two broad categories based on the type of customer: business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumers (B2C). 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.
An industry can include both B2B and B2C. For example, an Author sells their manuscript to a Book Publisher, while the latter prints, publishes, and markets the book to a bookstore. These are all B2B relationships. However, when the final customer goes to the bookstore to buy the book, he’s creating a B2C relationship.
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:
- Having an adaptive personality with the ability to learn and apply new sales strategies quickly.
- Having strong interpersonal and communication skills, including negotiation, conflict resolution, and relationship building skills.
- Being great at problem-solving.
- Being great at multitasking and prioritizing.
- Being resourceful, energetic, goal-oriented, and displaying a strong desire to take initiative.
- Being able to work independently, as well as a part of a team.
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.