Sales knowledge, vital in business | Sunday Observer

Sales knowledge, vital in business

18 October, 2020

In any commercial entity, the sales team plays perhaps the most important role in the success of the business operation.

The most essential and unique role of the sales team members is to bridge the gap between the customers’ needs and the product or service offered by the organisation to fulfill that need. Unlike in the past where the salesman was an aggressive persuader and a product expert, the modern salesman has evolved to be a business consultant and an advisor who provides maximum value to the customer.

Let us discuss some of the key application areas, responsibilities and traits needed in the sales role.

The sales role is related to a number of different types of activities in an organisation with many varieties and options. Each role has different parameters for success such as skills, experience, and other needs depending on the function of the team member.

Therefore, when a person decides that he or she wants to be in sales, a decision has to be made at the beginning of the career, which role would be the best and the most suitable based on the person’s own analysis. For that, the entrant must understand the differences of the functions to determine where the skills apply to obtain the best results.

Internet era

Sales lead conversion is one of the most important aspects of the sales role. In this internet era, most often, the sales team is communicating to prospects that are already aware of the product they want to purchase and also the competition that prevails. Usually, customers know the details of the company through internet data and the advertising efforts of the organisation. Hence, the job of the salesperson is to offer further information and secure the deal.

In an organisation, salespeople interact directly with prospects and has the advantage of obtaining personal knowledge about them. This will assist the salesperson to present the sales pitch exactly suited to the prospect that has the expertise of the salesperson in the customer’s opinion, creating credibility and trust.

The building of loyalty and trust between the customer and the business is another key aspect related to the sales role. Loyalty, and trust are two of the main reasons for a customer to make a purchase and recommend the company to a third party. If these two factors are in place properly, they can even be persuaded to offer personal recommendations, reviews, and referrals.

Reliable third party references and recommendations are always regarded highly by the potential customers in any business and carry more integrity than any paid advertisement. Particularly, in this digital age, perceptions of a customer can be immensely influential due to the reach of digital media. Therefore, the approach of the customer in building customer trust is a vitally important part of the sales job role.

Creating and continuing long-lasting relationships provide tremendous long term benefits to a company. Retaining an existing customer is much cheaper than attracting a new one. The impact a salesperson makes on a first-time customer is supposed to last as long as possible in any type of business. The interaction between the salesperson is probably more useful to future business than even good service delivery. The proper performance of a salesman leads to repeat sales and enhances the brand image.

Switching of suppliers

Therefore, customer retention is considered another one of the most essential aspects of a commercial organisation. Often customers simply switch suppliers without even complaining if they are unhappy with the after-sales service of the company. The sales role comes into effect in these situations as most customers communicate with the salesman if the relationship is good. Customers mostly prefer the attention and the feedback of the salesperson who served them, if the salesman has built up an adequate relationship.

The traditional method of face to face selling that is done outside the office, also known as field sales, is performed by the sales staff. This role is probably the most effective in my personal opinion with my long experience as a field salesperson. Although this is more challenging as a role, a field salesman has other factors that make the job more compelling than other functions of selling. Particularly, the independence and freedom, own day and journey planning, less boredom, less supervision, and many other positive factors are available for a field salesman.

However, a field salesperson must be more self-motivated and goal-oriented than others as they typically work in harder conditions.

Inside sales, usually mostly related to retail store selling, is another important sales role where the team member has to maintain the customer relationship aspect as the first contact point in a retail operation. A retail salesperson’s main responsibility is to build a strong business relationship with the visiting customer. Also, a key duty of an inside salesperson is to make sure that the customer remains with the organisation continuously, after the first visit.

Vital roles

Sales support or back-office sales operation functions are other vital roles in sales. This team of people in a sales department provides important details when and where necessary to the direct sales staff.

This is a dynamic role in a marketing organisation that helps to reduce costs. Usually the support team assists in investigating leads, creating customer profiles, and analysing other information in support of the sales effort.

Customer services are a strong sales job role where the staff is primarily responsible for continuous customer satisfaction. Long-term retention of a new customer is in the hands of the customer service team. This is a multi-tasking function where the staff performs the role of helpers, advisors, problem solvers, advocates, therapists, and more. Most often, the customer care team enters the operation after a sale is completed and the job role is challenging as customers’ complaints and issues are primarily managed by this team.

Business development is another key role in sales. The staff is tasked to bring in new business by using various strategies. The tasks are to identify new customers, pitching products or services, and maintain a good relationship with customers for enhanced revenue.

Their priority is to assist the organisation to acquire new customers and sell additional products. This is a crucial role for companies to expand or diversify the business.

Some organisations recruit account managers to manage accounts where continuous sales revenue is assured. Their job role is to provide individual service to make sure that the customer remains with the company as long as possible.

They usually act as overall consultants to the customer and provide all the services. There is no controversy in stating that sales is the most important role of an organisation for survival and growth. Revenue generated by the sales team provides the cash flow of the company.

Revenue generation activity is the lifeblood of the organisation as all other criteria including all important budgeting are based on the revenue, invariably produced by the sales team.