A sale is the pinnacle activity involved in selling products or services in return for money or
other compensation. It is an act of completion of a commercial activity.
The quot;deal is closedquot;, means the customer has consented to the proposed product or service by
making full or partial payment (as in case of instalments) to the seller.
A sale is completed by the seller, the owner of the goods. It starts with consent (or agreement)
to an acquisition or appropriation or request followed by the passing of title (property or
ownership) in the item and the application and due settlement of a price, the obligation for
which arises due to the seller's requirement to pass ownership, being a price the seller is happy
to part with ownership of or any claim upon the item. The purchaser, though a party to the sale
does not execute the sale, only the seller does that. To be precise the sale completes prior to the
payment and gives rise to the obligation of payment. If the seller completes the first two above
stages (consent and passing ownership) of the sale prior to settlement of the price the sale is
still valid and gives rise to an obligation to pay.
1 Sales techniques
2 Sales agents
3 The sales and marketing relationship
o 3.1 Marketing potentially negates need for sales
4 Sales and marketing alignment and integration
5 See also
6 Notes and references
7 External links
The sale can be made through:
Direct sales, involving person to person contact
o Buying Facilitation Method
Pro forma sales
o Sales agents (real estate, manufacturing)
o Sales outsourcing through direct branded representation
o Transaction sales
o Consultative sales
o Complex sales
o Telemarketing or telesales
o Retail or consumer
Door-to-door or travelling salesperson
Request for proposal – An invitation for suppliers, through a bidding process, to submit
a proposal on a specific product or service. An RFP is usually part of a complex sales
process, also known as enterprise sales.
Business-to-business – Business-to-business sales are much more relationship based
owing to the lack of emotional attachment to the products in question.
Industrial/Professional Sales is selling from one business to another
o Web – Business-to-business and business-to-consumer
o Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) – A set of standard for structuring
information to be electronically exchanged between and within businesses
Indirect, human-mediated but with indirect contact
o Selling technique
o SPIN Selling
o Consultative selling
o Solution selling
o Strategic Selling
o Sales Negotiation
o Reverse Selling
Agents in the sales process can be defined as representing either side of the sales process for
Sales broker or Seller agency or seller agent
This is a traditional role where the salesperson represents a person or company on the
selling end of the deal.
Buyer’s broker or Buyer brokerage
This is where the salesperson represents the consumer making the purchase. This is
most often applied in large transactions.
Disclosed dual agent
This is where the salesperson represents both parties in the sale and acts as a mediator
for the transaction. The role of the salesperson here is to oversee that both parties
receive an honest and fair deal, and is responsible to both.
This is where the salesperson doesn't represent either party, but handles the transaction
only. This is where the seller owes no responsibility to either party getting a fair or
honest deal, just that all of the papers are handled properly.
This is direct branded representation where the sales reps are recruited, hired, and
managed by an external entity but hold quotas, represent themselves as the brand of the
client, and report all activities (through their own sales management channels) back to
the client. It is akin to a virtual extension of a sales force. (see Sales Outsourcing entry)
It is the goal of a qualified and talented sales manager to implement various sales
strategies and management techniques in order to facilitate improved profits and
increased sales volume. They are also responsible for coordinating the sales and
marketing department as well as oversight concerning the fair and honest execution of
the sales process by his agents.
The primary function of professional sales is to generate and close leads, educate
prospects, fill needs and satisfy wants of consumers appropriately, and therefore turn
prospective customers into actual ones. The successful questioning to understand a
customer's goal and requirements relevant to the product, the further creation of a
valuable solution by communicating the necessary information that encourages a buyer
to achieve their goal at an economic cost is the responsibility of the salesperson or the
sales engine (e.g. internet, vending machine etc). A good sales person should never
miss sell or over evaluate the customer’s requirements.
The sales and marketing relationship
Marketing and sales are very different, but have the same goal. Marketing improves the selling
environment and plays a very important role in sales. If the marketing department generates a
potential customers list, it can be beneficial for sales. The marketing department's goal is
increase the number of interactions between potential customers and the sales team using
promotional techniques such as advertising, sales promotion, publicity, and public relations,
creating new sales channels, or creating new products (new product development), among other
things. In most large corporations, the marketing department is structured in a similar fashion
to the sales department and the managers of these teams must coordinate efforts in order to
drive profits and business success. For example, an quot;inboundquot; focused campaign seeks to drive
more customers quot;through the doorquot; giving the sales department a better chance of selling their
product to the consumer. A good marketing program would address any potential downsides as
well. The Sales department's goal would be to improve the interaction between the customer
and the sales facility or mechanism (example, web site) and/or salesperson. Sales management
would break down the selling process and then increase the effectiveness of the discreet
processes as well as the interaction between processes. For example, in many out-bound sales
environments, the typical process is out bound calling, the sales pitch, handling objections,
opportunity identification, and the close. Each step of the process has sales-related issues,
skills, and training needs as well as marketing solutions to improve each discrete step, as well
as the whole process.
One further common complication of marketing involves the inability to measure results for a
great deal of marketing initiatives. In essence, many marketing and advertising executives often
lose sight of the objective of sales/revenue/profit, as they focus on establishing a
creative/innovative program, without concern for the top or bottom lines. Such is a fundamental
pitfall of marketing for marketing's sake.
Marketing potentially negates need for sales
Some sales authors and consultants contend that an expertly planned and executed marketing
strategy may negate the need for outside sales entirely. They suggest that by effectively
bringing more customers quot;through the doorquot; and enticing them to contact you, sales
organizations can dramatically improve their results, efficiency, profitability, and allow
salespeople to provide a drastically higher level of customer service and satisfaction, instead of
spending the majority of their working hours searching for someone to sell to.
While this theory is present in a few marketing consulting companies the practical and realistic
application of this principle has not been widely proven in the market and sales forces
worldwide continue to be responsible for developing business as well as closing it.
Some marketing consulting firms postulate that each selling opportunity at each enterprise lies
on a continuum of numbers of people involved, necessary degree of face-to-face interaction,
overhead, and through-put time, to name a few dimensions. The number of people involved in
actual face-to-face selling at, say, a clothing store is probably vastly different than at an on-line
Sales and marketing alignment and integration
Another key area of conversation that has arisen is the need for alignment and integration
between corporate sales and marketing functions. According to a report from the Chief
Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, only 40 percent of companies have formal programs,
systems or processes in place to align and integration between the two critical functions.
Traditionally, these two functions, as referenced above, has been largely segmented and left in
soloed areas of tactical responsibility. In Glen Petersen’s book, “The Profit Maximization
Paradox,” the changes in the competitive landscape between the 1950s and today are so
dramatic that the complexity of choice, price and opportunities for the customer forced this
seemingly simple and integrated relationship between sales and marketing to change forever.
Petersen goes on to highlight that salespeople are spending approximately 40 percent of their
time preparing customer-facing deliverables while leveraging less than 50 percent of the
materials created by marketing, adding to the perception that marketing is out of touch with the
customer, and sales is resistant to messaging and strategy. Organizations like The Coalition to
Leverage and Optimize Sales Effectiveness (CLOSE) quot;CLOSEquot;. Have emerged as a facilitator
to mend the relationship between sales and marketing.
Marketing vs. Sales: What is the Difference?
What is the difference between marketing and sales?
Let's think about this question for a moment. Without marketing you would not have prospects
or leads to follow up with, but yet without a good sales technique and strategy your closing rate
may depress you.
Marketing is everything that you do to reach and persuade prospects. The sales process is
everything that you do to close the sale and get a signed agreement or contract. Both are
necessities to the success of a business. You cannot do without either process. By strategically
combining both efforts you will experience a successful amount of business growth. However,
by the same token if the efforts are unbalanced it candetour your growth.
Your marketing will consist of the measures you use to reach and persuade your prospects that
you are the company for them. It's the message that prepares the prospect for the sales. It
consists of advertising, public relations, brand marketing, viral marketing, and direct mail.
The sales process consists of interpersonal interaction. It is often done by a one-on-one
meeting, cold calls, and networking. It's anything that engages you with the prospect or
customer on a personal level rather than at a distance.
Your marketing efforts begin the process of the eight contacts that studies show it takes to
move a prospect or potential client to the close of the sale. If marketing is done effectively you
can begin to move that prospect from a cold to a warm lead. When the prospect hits thequot; warmquot;
level it's much easier for the sales professional to close the sale.
Do you see the cycle?
As you see in my explanation above it takes multiple contacts using both sales and marketing
to move the prospect from one level to the next. That is why it is import that you develop a
process that combines both sales and marketing. This will enable you to reach prospects at all
three levels; cold, warm, and hot. It's all about balance.
Are you unsure of how to integrate your marketing and sales?
Try this. Take a few moments and divide your prospect lists and database into categories of
cold, warm, and hot leads. Then sit down and identify a strategy on how to proceed with each
For example you could try the following methods of contact:
Cold Lead Strategy - Send out a direct mailing or offer them a special promotion
Warm Lead Strategy - Try a follow-up call, send out a sales letter, or schedule a special
seminar or training session to get all of your warm leads together.
Once you've moved your prospect to the quot;warmquot; level it's time to proceed in closing the sale.
This will be easier to do if you somehow engage the prospect. You can do this by conducting a
one-on-one call, make a presentation, or present a proposal, estimate, or contract.
What if you are uncomfortable with the sales or marketing process?
An alternative that often proves successful is to partner with someone that possess the talents
that you feel you lack in. You can do this by creating a partnership, subcontracting, or hiring in
- The sales cycle is the sequence of phases that a typical customer goes through when
deciding to buy something. As a rule, the sales cycle is described from the customer's
perspective. The first phase of the sales cycle may be either the customer's perception of a
product, or a perception of a need that the product might satisfy. The following steps include
research and evaluation; the last step is the customer's decision to purchase the product.
In a time when customers are exposed daily to a nearly infinite amount of promotional
messages, many marketers are discovering that advertising alone is not enough to move
members of a target market to take action, such as getting them to try a new product. Instead,
marketers have learned that to meet their goals they must use additional promotional methods
in conjunction with advertising.
Other marketers have found that certain characteristics of their target market (e.g., small but
geographically dispersed) or characteristics of their product (e.g., highly complex) make
advertising a less attractive option. For these marketers better results may be obtained using
other promotional approaches and may lead to directing all their promotional spending to non-
Finally, the high cost of advertising may drive many to seek alternative, lower cost promotional
techniques to meet their promotion goals.
In this section of our detailed Principles of Marketing Tutorials we
continue our discussion of promotion decisions by looking at a
second promotion mix item: sales promotion. Sales promotions are
used widely in many industries and especially by marketers selling to
consumers. We will see that the objectives of sales promotion are
quite different than advertising and are specifically designed to
encourage customer response.
What is Sales Promotion?
Sales promotion describes promotional methods using special short-term techniques to
persuade members of a target market to respond or undertake certain activity. As a reward,
marketers offer something of value to those responding generally in the form of lower cost of
ownership for a purchased product (e.g., lower purchase price, money back) or the inclusion of
additional value-added material (e.g., something more for the same price).
Sales promotions are often confused with advertising. For instance, a television advertisement
mentioning a contest awarding winners with a free trip to a Caribbean island may give the
contest the appearance of advertising. While the delivery of the marketer’s message through
television media is certainly labelled as advertising, what is contained in the message, namely
the contest, is considered a sales promotion. The factors that distinguish between the two
promotional approaches are:
1. Whether the promotion involves a short-term value proposition (e.g., the contest is only
offered for a limited period of time), and
2. The customer must perform some activity in order to be eligible to receive the value
proposition (e.g., customer must enter contest).
The inclusion of a timing constraint and an activity requirement are hallmarks of sales
Sales promotions are used by a wide range of organizations in both the consumer and business
markets, though the frequency and spending levels are much greater for consumer products
marketers. One estimate by the Promotion Marketing Association suggests that in the US alone
spending on sales promotion exceeds that of advertising.
Objectives of Sales Promotion
Sales promotion is a tool used to achieve most of the five major promotional objectives
discussed in the Promotion Decisions Tutorial:
Building Product Awareness – Several sales promotion techniques are highly effective in
exposing customers to products for the first time and can serve as key promotional
components in the early stages of new product introduction. Additionally, as part of the effort
to build product awareness, several sales promotion techniques possess the added advantage
of capturing customer information at the time of exposure to the promotion. In this way sales
promotion can act as an effective customer information gathering tool (i.e., sales lead
generation), which can then be used as part of follow-up marketing efforts.
Creating Interest – Marketers find that sales promotions are very effective in creating interest
in a product. In fact, creating interest is often considered the most important use of sales
promotion. In the retail industry an appealing sales promotions can significantly increase
customer traffic to retail outlets. Internet marketers can use similar approaches to bolster the
number of website visitors. Another important way to create interest is to move customers to
experience a product. Several sales promotion techniques offer the opportunity for
customers to try products for free or at low cost.
Providing Information – Generally sales promotion techniques are designed to move
customers to some action and are rarely simply informational in nature. However, some sales
promotions do offer customers access to product information. For instance, a promotion may
allow customers to try a fee-based online service for free for several days. This free access
may include receiving product information via email.
Stimulating Demand – Next to building initial product awareness, the most important use of
sales promotion is to build demand by convincing customers to make a purchase. Special
promotions, especially those that lower the cost of ownership to the customer (e.g., price
reduction), can be employed to stimulate sales.
Reinforcing the Brand – Once customers have made a purchase sales promotion can be used
to both encourage additional purchasing and also as a reward for purchase loyalty (see loyalty
programs below). Many companies, including airlines and retail stores, reward good or
“preferred” customers with special promotions, such as email “special deals” and surprise
price reductions at the cash register.
Types of Sales Promotion
Sales promotion can be classified based on the primary target audience to whom the promotion
is directed. These include:
Consumer Market Directed - Possibly the most well-known methods of sales promotion
are those intended to appeal to the final consumer. Consumers are exposed to sales
promotions nearly every day, and as discussed later, many buyers are conditioned to
look for sales promotions prior to making purchase decisions.
Trade Market Directed – Marketers use sales promotions to target all customers
including partners within their channel of distribution. Trade promotions are initially
used to entice channel members to carry a marketer’s products and, once products are
stocked, marketers utilize promotions to strengthen the channel relationship.
Business-to-Business Market Directed – A small, but important, sub-set of sales
promotions are targeted to the business-to-business market. While these promotions
may not carry the glamour associated with consumer or trade promotions, B-to-B
promotions are used in many industries.
In the next few sections we discuss each category in more detail.
Next we discuss the following 11 types of consumer sales promotions:
3. Promotional Pricing
5. Loyalty Programs
6. Sampling and Free Trials
7. Free Product
9. Contests and Sweepstakes
11. Personal Appearances
Business-to-Business Sales Promotions
The use of sales promotion is not limited to consumer products marketing. In business-to-
business markets sales promotions are also used as a means of moving customers to action.
However, the promotional choices available to the B-to-B marketer are not as extensive as
those found in the consumer or trade markets. For example, most B-to-B marketers do not use
coupons as a vehicle for sales promotion with the exception of companies that sell to both
consumer and business customers (e.g., products sold through office supply retailers). Rather,
the techniques more likely to be utilized include:
Of the promotions listed, trade shows are by far the mostly widely used sales promotion for B-