What is Sales Orientation? [Definition + Examples]

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Rebecca Riserbato
Rebecca Riserbato


Have you heard of the sales orientation approach to business? To achieve revenue goals, a business can use strategies with a sales or marketing orientation — or, a combination of both. The sales orientation approach depends heavily on outbound sales techniques. But the inbound methodology can make it more effective.

sales orientation demonstrated by a saleswoman

A few years ago, after finding them on Instagram, I became obsessed with Bowmar Nutrition protein powder. I ended up buying their products, even though I wasn't in the market for protein powder originally. This is a real-life example of the sales orientation approach in action.

In this post, we’ll cover what sales orientation is, the traits of a sales-oriented company, sales versus market-oriented companies, and examples.

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Table of Contents

Traits of a Sales-Oriented Company

Here are traits you can use to identify a sales-oriented company.

sales orientation traits

1. They see everyone as potential customers.

In most cases, sales-oriented companies don’t bother to identify a target audience. They also don’t do any research to find out their customers' needs and desires. Instead, they believe everyone is a potential customer. So, they advertise all their offers and promotions to as many people as possible.

2. They drive sales with aggressive promotions and offers.

A sales-oriented business focuses on closing as many sales as possible within a short time.

That’s why they create a sense of urgency and ignite fear of missing out with heavily discounted prices and limited-time offers. Think buy-one-get-one-free, get 70% off today only, and so on.

3. They pay special attention to the sales team.

In a sales-oriented company, the sales team is seen as the most important department. So, they’re given special attention and are constantly being developed and trained. Juicy commissions plus other attractive incentives are also provided to motivate them to exceed their sales targets.

4. They prefer short term plans.

To increase revenue quickly, sales-oriented businesses prefer to spend all their time, energy, and resources on short-term sales promotion.

Sales- vs Market-Oriented Companies

sales vs marketing orientation

Unlike sales-oriented companies, market-oriented companies are focused on creating products and services that meet the needs and desires of their target audience. Therefore, they take time to carry out research, identify their target customers and learn a lot about them.

In essence, market-oriented companies:

  • Know and understand their target audience.
  • Sell only to their target customers.
  • Make long-term plans.

And they also tweak, improve and upgrade their products and services to satisfy the changing needs of their customers.

Sales Orientation Examples

Now, let’s look at some industries that use a sales orientation approach.

1. Insurance Providers

Insurance is a good example of a sales orientation business because policies aren't created based on consumer needs. It’s a highly competitive industry where providers focus on providing the best coverage compared to the competition.

Depending on the type of insurance, this is a product that consumers don't typically seek out. And that’s why insurance providers rely on aggressive sales tactics and promotions to make sales.

Popular brands in this industry include Allstate, Aflac, Acuity Insurance, Aetna, 21st Century Insurance, Cigna, and many others.

2. Retailers

Even though retailers come in different shapes and sizes, the retail industry is generally known for having a short sales cycle. As a result, they use promotions, discounts, and other aggressive tactics to convince customers to buy from them regularly.

Walmart, Target, Costco, and and Amazon are examples of popular major retailers.

3. Car Dealerships

Car salespeople are famous for using aggressive sales tactics and promotions to drive sales. And the entire industry uses a sales orientation approach since every car dealer wants people to buy from them instead of their competitors.

Some car dealers that are household names include Ford, Toyota, Chevrolet, Honda, GM, and so on.

Sales Orientation in Marketing

If a company is sales oriented, most likely, the marketing department has to create all the promotional activities required to persuade people to buy. But you can go a step further and use sales tools like the HubSpot Sales Hub to help sales teams track and engage prospects in a more organic way.

So, even though a sales orientation approach is more of an outbound technique, you can use the inbound methodology to guide you in the process.

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Topics: Sales Strategy

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