“Sales” is a term that covers all activities related to selling goods or services to customers or businesses.
Usually, depending on the type of business, sales happen either through:
- Marketing - Marketing department organizing campaigns to drive sales.
- Direct Sales - Dedicated sales team reaching out to prospects and pitching products or services.
In this article, we’re going to teach you everything you need to know about sales, including:
- What Is Sales?
- 5+ Sales Types
- Sales Specialist Responsibilities
- The Role of Tech in Sales
- 4 Most Common Sales Jobs
- Where to Hire Sales Specialists?
- Common Sales Terminology
So, let’s get started.
What Is Sales?
“Sales” is an all-encompassing term that covers any type of activity an organization does to sell its goods or services.
Usually, organizations have a dedicated in-house sales team that reaches out to its prospects and tries to sell the products or services.
This, in most cases, is done through:
- Cold-Calling. The sales specialist calls potential customers and pitches the product.
- Email Marketing. Instead of calling, the sales specialist sends cold emails to prospects and tries to get them to agree to a meeting.
- Interpersonal Sales. Sales specialists attend events and trade shows where their potential customers are likely to go. Then, they try to build a relationship with the customers, and THEN sell them products/services.
Sales vs Marketing - What’s the Difference?
Depending on the type of business you run, marketing and sales can mean one of three things:
- You’re completely reliant on marketing to generate sales, with no in-house sales team.
- You’re using a mixture of marketing and sales. Marketing generates leads, and sales specialists turn them into customers.
- You’re completely dependent on sales. Your sales team reaches out to leads online (or cold calls them) and directly pitches them your product.
Usually, the first case happens if you run an online store, for example. You wouldn’t need a sales team to sell clothing - it’s a bit weird to call someone and pitch a t-shirt.
In such a case, you’ll use digital marketing strategies like running Facebook ads to generate awareness for your product and drive sales.
The second & third case, on the other hand, happen if you’re selling a more expensive product (e.g: SaaS, marketing services, etc.). Meaning, you need one-on-one contact with your customers to close them effectively.
5+ Sales Types
Sales can be split into several categories, depending on how you’re doing the sales, who you’re selling to, etc.
- Target Audience - B2C and B2B Sales. B2C means business to customer - these sales are related to selling goods or services to consumers. B2B, on the other hand, stands for business to business and means selling goods/services to decision-makers in organizations.
- Types of Sales - Inside and Outside Sales. Inside sales refer to the process of doing sales from an office via cold calling, emails, etc. In other words, inside sales is done remotely. Outside sales, on the other hand, means that the sales specialist directly meets with prospects.
- Type of Service Sold - Product and Service Sales. Product sales involve the sale of physical products (software, hardware, training, etc.), while service sales mean selling services (marketing services, coaching, etc.)
In addition, sales can also be categorized by the type of sales channels you’re using, which includes:
- Telesales. Calling prospects and directly pitching them your product over a call.
- Online Sales. Driving sales through online marketing activities. E.g: running ads to advertise your Shopify store.
- Offline Sales. Physically meeting prospects and selling your product directly.
- Affiliate Sales. Sourcing leads through a partner company and paying them a percentage for all deals closed by your sales team.
- Outsourced Sales. Outsourcing your sales processes to an external company.
Sales Specialist Responsibilities
Typically, the role of a sales specialist involves the following responsibilities:
- Reaching out to prospects and pitching products/services.
- Meeting leads in-person and establishing rapport.
- Setting sales KPIs and working towards meeting them.
- Working with the marketing team to ensure that the leads they’re driving are qualified.
- Coming up with new tactics and strategies to help improve company sales.
- Upselling new products or services to existing clients.
The Role of Tech in Sales
In 2021, a very large part of sales is done with the help of CRM (customer relationship management) software like Deskera.
Without software, there’s a ton of things a sales specialist would have to track manually:
- Which leads did they already contact?
- Which leads didn’t reply?
- Which leads need a follow-up call?
- What % of all leads convert?
And considering that the average B2B sales specialist 45 cold calls per day, keeping track of all this can be very time-consuming.
Luckily, though, CRM basically automates 90% of this work.
The software allows you to split up your leads by status, so you’re always aware of which stage any given prospect is.
And on top of that, it completely automates all your reporting.
The software tracks all your work and gives you valuable insights into how you or your sales team are performing.
For example, you can see:
- What’s your most common reason for failing to close a lead?
- What % of all prospects convert into a client?
- What are the stats of any given sales specialist (i.e: # of sales closed, deals lost, etc.)
All through a single dashboard - zero maintenance required.
Want to give CRM a try? Head over here.
Or, learn more about sales automation with our guide.
4 Most Common Sales Jobs
Not all sales jobs are the same - in fact, depending on the exact position, a sales specialist’s role might be something completely different.
Some of the most common types of sales roles include:
- Sales Development Representative (SDR). SDRs are responsible for reaching out to new prospects, qualifying them, and generally generating interest for the product.
- Sales Representative. SDRs forward leads to sales representatives, who are in charge of closing the said leads and turning them into clients.
- Outside Salesperson. As we mentioned before, outside sales involve meeting customers directly. So, outside salespeople spend a big chunk of their time outside the office.
- Account Manager. Account managers are in charge of everything that happens after a sale is made. They maintain constant contact with the customers and ensure that they’re satisfied with the product/service.
Where to Hire Sales Specialists?
The #1 place to find the top sales talent is on LinkedIn.
In 2021, LinkedIn is the go-to place for doing sales - the platform houses over 722 million professionals worldwide, a sizable chunk of which are decision-makers in organizations.
So, naturally, you can find some of the best sales staff via LinkedIn.
Simply look up the type of sales professional you’re looking for, pick a location, and you’ll get a list of potential employees - all you have to do then is contact them.
Alternatively, you can also source sales specialists through:
- Posting a job ad on LinkedIn or Facebook.
- Using some of the popular conventional job boards. E.g. Monster, Indeed, etc.
- Using job boards for sales specialists. E.g: AA-ISP, Sales Trax, etc.
Common Sales Terminology
When first getting into sales, it might be difficult getting used to the lingo. Especially if you come from a completely different background.
To make life easier for you, we compiled a list of the most commonly used terms in sales.
BANT stands for Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline. It’s a sales methodology used to qualify leads based on the 4 factors mentioned above.
BOFU stands for Bottom of the Funnel. A bottom of the funnel lead is a lead that is extremely close to making a purchase, hence they are at the bottom of the funnel.
TOFU stands for Top of the Funnel. A top of the funnel lead is a lead that shows general interest in your product, and might be looking for more information. These kinds of leads are usually found in the Awareness sales stage, and they require a lot more nurturing and attention to successfully move them down the funnel.
A salesperson is an individual who deals with all and any stage of the sales process. In other words, salespeople are individuals whose job is to sell a product or service.
A prospect is an individual that acts as a point of contact at a company in which you are interested in selling your products or services. It’s a salesperson’s job to communicate directly with prospects.
A sales pipeline refers to all the different steps and stages that compose your sales process. In order to help salespeople better navigate prospects through the pipeline, it is important to provide a visual sales pipeline to your employees.
Upselling is the act of making sales more profitable by convincing existing customers to purchase extra or complimentary products, or to switch to a more expensive package or service. Upselling tends to be easier than acquiring a new customer, because you have already created a relationship with the customer, making it easier for them to trust your company.
Marketing Qualified Leads are prospects that have shown enough interest in your product or service, that the marketing department is able to identify them as potential customers. For example, a person that downloads a free copy of an ebook/checklist from your website.
SQL stands for sales qualified leads. You can think of this as the evolution of MQLs. Once a marketing qualified leads fulfill more lead qualification requirements, and show to be a good fit, they turn into SQLs.
There are a ton more sales slang words out there that are used on a daily basis by salespeople. If you are serious about sales, you should invest some time on learning the right lingo. It will make your work a lot easier.
Now that we’ve covered everything you need to know about what is sales, let’s do a quick recap:
- Sales is a term that covers all activities and processes related to selling products or services.
- There are different types of sales, including B2C and B2B sales, inside and outside sales, and others.
- In 2021, most sales specialists use CRM software like Deskera to manage their day-to-day work.
- The best place to source and hire sales specialists is via LinkedIn.