The term, "sales", encompasses all activities involved in selling a product or service to a consumer or business. But "sales" means so much more for businesses.
Companies have entire sales organizations comprised of employees that are dedicated to selling their products and services.
In a survey of businesses with sales and marketing departments, the 2018 State of Inbound Report found that the top three priorities of the sales organizations were to close more deals, improve the efficiency of their sales processes, and reduce the amount of time it takes to make a sale.
Many sales teams are held to monthly quotas or benchmarks for closing deals and converting leads to customers, and sales careers are often fast-paced due to this. For businesses and their sales organizations, the goal of sales is to source prospects, reach out and build a relationship with them, and provide a solution that will benefit the prospect. These efforts often lead to a sale, a satisfied customer, and revenue for the company.
What Is Sales?
Sales is a term used to describe the activities that lead to the selling of goods or services. Businesses have sales organizations that are broken up into different teams. And these sales teams are often determined based on:
The region they're selling to
The product or service they're selling
The target customer
Salespeople reach out to contacts that might be interested in purchasing the product or service that their company is selling. And the contacts that demonstrate interest (e.g., visiting the company website, downloading a piece of content, interacting with your company on social media).
The goal is to reach out to leads who have shown interest or fit the description of their target customer, in hopes of providing them with a solution that results in them purchasing your product or service.
Inside Sales vs. Outside Sales
So, how do sales teams sell? Some use an inside sales approach, where their sales team works remotely from an office -- their processes tend to be leaner and more automated. And others choose an outside sales strategy -- where salespeople broker face-to-face deals with the prospect.
So, where can salespeople source leads and prospects? The campaigns and efforts of the marketing organization are one of the best ways to generate qualified leads. And the State of Inbound Report found that salespeople source 28% of their leads from marketing. While marketing and sales use different processes, both business functions impact lead generation and revenue.
Common Sales Terms
Here are some of the common terms that are associated with sales and selling.
A salesperson is an individual who performs all the activities associated with selling a product or a service. Synonyms for salesperson include sales associate, seller, sales agent, and sales rep or representative.
A prospect is a point of contact at a company that the salesperson would like to sell products or services to. The salesperson uses prospecting techniques like making warm calls, email outreach, and social selling. And if they're interested in the product or service, the sales rep can apply different sales closing strategies to turn the prospect into a customer.
A deal represents the product or service you'd like to sell and the price associated with it. Deals have multiple stages, which can vary depending on the business, its processes, products, and industry -- and deal performance can be tracked using a CRM. Salespeople can put together deal plans to make the selling process easier on the prospect and the sales rep.
4. Sales Pipeline
Sales pipeline is a term used to describe all the steps in your sales process. It gives salespeople a visual representation of where prospects are in the sales cycle.
The sales plan outlines the goals, objectives, and strategies for a sales organization. It includes details about target customers, market conditions, revenue targets, pricing, team structure, and more. And it lays out the tactics the sales teams will use to achieve their goals.
Solution Selling: Solution selling is when the salesperson leads with the benefits a custom solution will give the prospect. This method acknowledges that prospects are informed and have done their research on the product or service before the sales rep reached out.
Inbound Selling: With this sales method, salespeople act as a consultant, meet the prospects where they are, and solve for prospects' pain points. Sales reps take four actions during the sales process: identity, connect, explore, and advise.
SPIN Selling: SPIN is used to describe the four types of questions salespeople should ask their clients: Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-Payoff. The questions identify the prospect's pain points and help the salesperson build rapport with the buyer.
N.E.A.T. Selling: This is a framework that's used to qualify leads. N.E.A.T. stands for: core needs, economic impact, access to authority, and compelling event.
Conceptual Selling: Conceptual selling is a method where salespeople uncover the prospect’s concept of their product and seek to understand the prospect's decision process.
SNAP Selling: SNAP selling is an acronym for: Keep it Simple, be iNvaluable, always Align, and raise Priorities.
The Challenger Sale: The Challenger Sale follows a teach-tailor-take control process. Salespeople teach the prospect, tailor their communications, and take control of the sale.
The Sandler System: This system prioritizes building mutual trust between the sales rep and prospect. The salesperson acts as an advisor and asks questions to identify the prospect's challenges.
CustomerCentric Selling: With this method, the salesperson focuses on communicating with the key decision makers in the sale, and finding solutions to address their pain points or challenges.
MEDDIC: MEDDIC stands for: metrics, economic buyer, decision criteria, decision process, identify pain, champion. The salesperson asks questions about these topics to help move the prospect to move forward in the sales process.
The primary goals of sales are to create custom solutions for their prospects, which ultimately leads to sales and revenue for the business.