Sales are activities conducted with the expectation of earning a profit by either selling products or the quantity of products sold in a specified time frame. The sale of a product to a customer is also commonly considered a sale, although delivery of the product to the end user is an essential part of sales. There are five basic stages in every sales transaction: pre-sales, product development, sales, after sales support and turnover.
Pre-sales activities include internal preparations for the sales presentation, marketing analysis and research and any other preparatory stage that directly affect the potential sale volume. Sales and after sales support is related to the preparation and delivery of the final product, which includes merchandising, packing and delivery. The last one, turnover, covers the activities required to collect the payment and transfer the details to the company. This is the most important stage of the sales process, where the knowledge and experience of the sales team came into play to determine the type of sales, the size of the sales and the number of customers represented.
Sales professionals may use different approaches to generate leads. It depends on the type of marketing they want to engage in, the kind of business they have and the target audience that they want to attract. Lead generation systems, lead management and direct mail programs are some examples of conventional approaches. However, there are new techniques used by sales teams across the globe to obtain leads. Some of these include telemarketing, lead capture services and online lead generation.
Outside sales refer to salespeople who work in close collaboration with business development managers to raise the quality of sales and drive business development in organizations. Business development managers help make the sales process more streamlined. They make the contacts and ensure that the leads are generated according to the capacity planning. Business development managers also conduct focus groups to determine what consumers are looking for and the current market trends. With this information, they come up with new ideas for generating sales leads.
Qualified leads are salespeople who have proven ability to satisfy customers. These individuals can be called on for face-to-face meetings or for phone calls where the sales proposition has to be articulated. Salespeople source leads on their own, from their existing customer base or from other sources such as trade organizations, professional associations and other sources that have developed a good relationship with the customer. The qualified leads are used for pre-sales activities such as evaluating the prospects and negotiating a price.
Salespeople source leads that are not necessarily motivated but are presentable to company representatives during face-to-face meetings or telephone calls. This is known as B2B sales, where the lead is not a prospect but a friend or associate whom the salesperson knows. B2B sales is the traditional way of developing new sales while CCA or Customer Centric Sales is a newer way of using technology and new business development strategies to create strong connections with qualified prospects.