What is Sales Orientation? [Definition + Examples]

Rebecca Riserbato
Rebecca Riserbato


A few years ago, I became obsessed with Bowmar Nutrition protein powder.

After finding them on Instagram, I really appreciated one of the company's main missions: to create the best quality protein powder that you can have with hot drinks, cold drinks, or even use to bake a cookie recipe.

Essentially, their plan was to create the best product on the market.

Ultimately, that's why I ended up buying their products even when I wasn't originally in the market for protein powder.

That very idea is one aspect of a sales orientation approach to business.

As a sales rep, if you work for a sales oriented company, your approach to sales might be different than a company with a market approach.

While sales orientation usually involves outbound sales techniques, you can still use the inbound methodology to make it more effective.

Below, let's learn more about what sales orientation is and what it looks like in practice.

Free Download: Sales Plan Template

So, you might be wondering, "What does that mean? Why and when do companies use a sales orientation approach?"

Usually if consumers aren't actively pursuing a product, businesses might take a sales orientation approach.

However, many companies choose to use a mixed approach, using both sales and market orientation to sell their various products.

Sales orientation relies on the concepts that everyone is a potential customer and if you make the best product for the best price, you can drive sales.

As a sales department, it would be your reps job to convince prospective customers that they need your product.

Additionally, sales orientation companies rely on promotional activities to help drive sales. For example, promotional deals such as "buy one get one free" are used to increase revenue by offering a good deal.

Although this technique seems inherently outbound, you can still use sales tools like the HubSpot Sales Hub or CRM to help sales teams track and engage prospects in a more organic way.

For instance, while your product is created to be the best on the market, without considering your target audience, your sales team should still be tracking and engaging with prospects in an inbound way.

Now that we have a better understanding of what a sales orientation approach to business is, let's see what that looks like in action.

Sales Orientation Examples

Below are some examples of industries that might 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, but on providing the best coverage compared to competitors. That's why this is a highly competitive industry.

Additionally, depending on the type of insurance, this is a product that consumers don't typically seek out. One of the biggest hurdles for a salesperson of an insurance company is that they might have to convince people that they need insurance to begin with.

This is why insurance providers might use aggressive sales tactics and promotions to make a sale.

2. Retailers

The retail industry is generally known for having a short sales cycle that usually sells people products they don't need.

Additionally, this industry relies on using promotions, deals, and discounts to make money. Retailers don't usually create products based on consumer need, but on making the best product on the market. Think Apple versus Samsung.

Plus, since customers don't need to have the latest trends, aggressive promotional tactics are used to convince customers to buy products.

3. Car Dealerships

Car sales people are generally known to use aggressive sales tactics and promotions to drive sales.

The entire industry is based on a sales orientation approach because they have to persuade customers that they need their car instead of a competitors.

While these industries might use a combination of market and sales orientation strategies, their approach is sales oriented if they use aggressive sales and promotional tactics without considering the wants or needs of the customer.

Sales Orientation in Marketing

So, now that we know what sales orientation looks like in action, you might be wondering, "What does that mean for the marketing department?"

If a company is sales oriented, the marketing department will be responsible for creating the promotional activity that persuades users they need a product, even if there isn't any market research done that proves they want or need that product.

Ultimately, it's their job to create the desire to buy the product.

In terms of the sales department, sales reps will spend time cold calling and offering discount promotions to make quick sales. Sales orientation businesses often have a shorter sales cycle.

During a sales call, a sales rep has to deflect buyer hesitation, and convince the person they need the product.

The strength of using this type of approach is that if your product or service is created and is actually the best product on the market, then selling it should be easy.

Additionally, sales oriented businesses often look inward and are focused on developing outstanding products and services, which is a good thing.

While a sales orientation approach might seem like an outbound technique, you can actually use inbound methodology to help guide you in the process.

sales plan

Topics: Sales Strategy

Related Articles

We're committed to your privacy. HubSpot uses the information you provide to us to contact you about our relevant content, products, and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For more information, check out our Privacy Policy.

Outline your company's sales strategy in one simple, coherent plan.