By definition, the term "sales" refers to all activities involved in selling a product or service to a consumer or business. But in practice, it means so much more. A lot of effort goes into successfully closing a deal – from sourcing prospects, to building relationships, and providing customers with solutions. We’ll dig into types of sales, common sales terms, and sales methodologies to help you solve for the customer and increase revenue. 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, and the target customer. Companies staff entire departments with employees dedicated to selling their products and services. Salespeople reach out to contacts that might be interested in purchasing the product or service that their company is selling — prospects that demonstrate interest through actions like visiting the company website or interacting with the company on social media. The goal is to reach out to leads who have shown interest in or fit the description of the company’s target customer, in hopes of providing them with a solution that results in a purchase of your product or service. While many sales teams are held to monthly quotas and benchmarks for converting leads and closing deals, the real goal of sales is solving for the customer. Where can salespeople source leads and prospects? The campaigns and efforts of the marketing organization are some 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. So, how do sales teams sell? Let’s review the most common types of sales. When sales teams engage with their prospects and customers remotely, often from an office alongside their team members, they follow an inside sales approach. This means they are selling from within their company. Organizations that use an inside sales approach often tend to have leaner, more automated processes and structured hours. Inside Sales in Action: AT&T
What is sales?
Marketing and Sales
Types of Sales
1. Inside Sales
By definition, the term "sales" refers to all activities involved in selling a product or service to a consumer or business. But in practice, it means so much more.
A lot of effort goes into successfully closing a deal – from sourcing prospects, to building relationships, and providing customers with solutions. We’ll dig into types of sales, common sales terms, and sales methodologies to help you solve for the customer and increase revenue.
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, and the target customer.
Companies staff entire departments with employees dedicated to selling their products and services. Salespeople reach out to contacts that might be interested in purchasing the product or service that their company is selling — prospects that demonstrate interest through actions like visiting the company website or interacting with the company on social media.
The goal is to reach out to leads who have shown interest in or fit the description of the company’s target customer, in hopes of providing them with a solution that results in a purchase of your product or service.
While many sales teams are held to monthly quotas and benchmarks for converting leads and closing deals, the real goal of sales is solving for the customer.
Where can salespeople source leads and prospects? The campaigns and efforts of the marketing organization are some 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.
So, how do sales teams sell? Let’s review the most common types of sales.
When sales teams engage with their prospects and customers remotely, often from an office alongside their team members, they follow an inside sales approach. This means they are selling from within their company. Organizations that use an inside sales approach often tend to have leaner, more automated processes and structured hours.
Inside Sales in Action: AT&T
From phone service to internet to TV, AT&T provides products and services for just about any consumer and business. The company's inside sales reps contact leads and prospects to complete the traditional sales process — uncovering the customers' needs, matching them with the right solution, and closing the deal. They might use a sales software to keep track of customer interactions and sales won.
2. Outside Sales
On teams where salespeople broker face-to-face deals with the prospect, they are following an outside sales approach. This implies that they are selling from outside their company — traditionally through door-to-door or field sales. These teams tend to not have strictly regimented processes, allowing freedom and flexibility for reps to develop and implement their own sales strategies.
Outside Sales in Action: Medtronic
As a leader in medical-grade equipment, Medtronic utilizes the skill set of experienced sales reps to match their products with medical professionals. Medical devices sales reps spend the majority of their time traveling — but once they reach their destinations, they meet with medical professionals and administrators who make decisions about what to purchase.
In addition to traveling to prospective customers, they might attend conferences and events where these decision-makers might be in order to network and build relationships before it’s time to make a sale.
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3. B2B Sales
This common acronym stands for "business-to-business" and describes companies that sell products and services to other businesses, instead of individual consumers.
B2B sales tend to have a higher ticket value and more complex terms because the goods sold to other businesses typically play an essential role in how the buyer’s business operates.
Within the realm of B2B, sellers can primarily support SMBs (small to medium businesses) or enterprise customers.
B2B Sales in Action: GetAccept
GetAccept is a sales enablement platform that helps sales reps build relationships with buyers. As a business that helps other businesses sell better, GetAccept classifies as a B2B company. Its sales reps work with other sales team managers to promote the benefits of the GetAccept products and create long-term clients that generate revenue for the business over time.
4. B2C Sales
Unlike B2B sales, B2C (or business-to-consumer) sales revolve around transactions between a company and its individual consumers. These deals tend to be of lower price-value and complexity than B2B sales and can involve multiple deals with a variety of customers.
B2C Sales in Action: uPack
Moving companies rely on B2C sales to connect directly with the consumer who uses their services. uPack uses digital ads to source leads which their B2C sales team turns into customers.
Its sales process is simple, but effective — the company gets customers interested in their services by offering them a free quote on their move. Then, the B2C sales reps get to work enticing the prospective customer to choose their moving service over the competition because of lower prices and faster moves.
5. Business Development Sales
Though business development doesn’t account for an entire sales transaction, it’s an important aspect of the sales function for many companies. This role is typically held by Slack
BDRs at Slack are responsible for the pipeline within enterprise accounts. They drive outreach to several stakeholders at the companies where they work. People in these roles are expected to be product experts and build demand for the Slack product.
6. Agency Sales
This type of sales involves generating and converting new leads to sign onto service packages from an agency. According to HubSpot’s 2019 State of Agency Selling, the average agency sales cycle is between 31 and 90 days, with most agencies bringing on one to three new clients each month.
In the agency sales space, clients are typically signed either by project or on a retainer. For agencies that sign clients by project, they primarily focus on bringing in new business, selling service packages to new clients as their current projects wrap up.
With a retainer model, agencies can engage with clients on an ongoing basis which allows for predictable recurring income with less dependence on bringing in a steady stream of new customers.
Agency Sales in Action: UMG
The UMG team of brothers started their creative agency using agency sales — selling one-off projects like business plans and ongoing website services to businesses in South Carolina. Now, the business has grown to multi-million dollar heights with several loyal clients on retainer.
7. Consultative Sales
Consultative selling is a style of selling that focuses on building trust with the customer to understand their needs before recommending a specific product or service.
With consultative selling, sales reps focus on building a relationship with the buyer and leading the sale with how the offering will benefit the individual customer, instead of solely focusing on the features of the product to make the sale.
Consultative Sales in Action: Legacy Home Loans
When shopping around for a mortgage lender, there are a lot of variables that can influence a home buyer’s decision to choose one over the other. The truth is, those variables are cold, hard numbers.
Consultative sales works for mortgage lenders because they can bring a human aspect to the home loan process. Legacy Home Loans does exactly this, even measuring success "one smile at a time."
8. eCommerce Sales
Does your company sell products exclusively online? Is your customer able to research your product, determine whether they want to buy it, and make their purchase online all without needing to engage with someone from your company? If so, you’re following an eCommerce or online sales model.
Though this type of selling is more hands-off than other types, it can work well for lean companies who can’t staff a full sales department, or for companies who offer products that can be effectively sold through targeted digital marketing.
eCommerce Sales in Action: Kissed By A Bee
Worldwide eCommerce sales grew by more than 27% in 2020, and Kissed By A Bee received a share of that growth. This company provides herbal remedies and beauty products completely online. While it does provide live customer service, most of their marketing and sales efforts take place completely online.
9. Direct Sales
With a direct selling model, individuals are able to sell directly to consumers outside of a traditional retail environment. With this method, sellers conduct the sale one-on-one with their customers, often earning a commission. This form of selling is commonly used by network marketing representatives and real estate professionals.
Direct Sales in Action: Telfar
Telfar is an international unisex fashion company founded in 2005. As a completely digital business, orders can only be placed online and are not sold in department stores like traditional fashion brands are. The company is known to sell out of its handbags and accessories in minutes which has created a popular second hand retail market for the brand’s merchandise.
10. Account Based Sales
Businesses that have large enterprise accounts with several points of contact look to account based sales to serve these customers. Unlike business development sales, account based sales teams don’t hand off their opportunities to a sales development rep to close.
Instead, the opportunity stays within the account based team to serve that customer from lead to opportunity and all the way through to customer success. The benefit of account based sales is that the sales team gets to build a relationship with the enterprise over a longer period of time which results in a higher LTV.
Account Based Sales in Action: PepsiCo
Can you imagine how difficult it would be to buy your soda directly from the bottling warehouse? Like many other food and beverage companies, PepsiCo does business with retailers of all sizes, locations, and types to get its products to consumers.
To manage all of this, the company takes an account based approach to sales and account management. The role responsible for managing these relationships before, during, and after the sale is called the Key Account Manager (KAM).
They’re responsible for achieving profitable sales targets for large retail stores like Walmart and Target. KAMs ensure that the demand from the account matches what the sales team has forecasted for the account so that consumers never find a store that’s out of Mountain Dew.
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 describes all the steps in your sales process. It gives salespeople a visual representation of where prospects are in the sales cycle.
According to the Gartner 2021 Chief Sales Officer poll, the top two priorities of sales organizations in the U.S. were building a new sales pipeline and enabling virtual selling.
5. Sales Plan
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. It also lays out the tactics the sales teams will use to achieve their goals.
Downloadable Resource: Free Sales Plan Template
Types of Sales Methodologies
A sales process is key to running a successful sales organization. Here are some of the top sales methodologies businesses use.
- Solution Selling: Solution selling is when the salesperson leads the conversation with the benefits that 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 reaches out.
- Inbound Selling: With this sales method, salespeople act as a consultant. They meet the prospects where they are and solve for prospects' pain points.
- 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.
- Customer Centric 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.
Learn the Art of Sales
The primary goals of sales are to create custom solutions for their prospects and generate revenue for the business. Whether you’re looking for growth opportunities within sales or you’re joining the field for the first time, we hope this quick guide to sales has provided you with a basic understanding of the types of sales you can do and how they work within the entire business.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in April 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Topics: Sales Strategy
What is sales a quick guide? ›
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, and the target customer.What is sales explain with an example? ›
What is Sales? A transaction that includes an exchange of services or goods for a certain amount of money is known as a sale. In other words, any activity that involves transferring the ownership of a good or commodity to the buyer in exchange for a monetary price is known as a sale.What are the 3 most important things in sales? ›
Being successful in sales and learning how to become better at sales boils down to 3 things: empathy, a genuine desire to help, and persistence.What is the 5 Steps sales process * Your answer? ›
- Approach the client. ...
- Discover client needs. ...
- Provide a solution. ...
- Close the sale. ...
- Complete the sale and follow up.
Think of this like an elevator pitch. Develop a short, catchy explanation of what attracts you to sales and why you think you're going to be good at it. This should be about 30 seconds to a minute long, no more. You'll likely have a chance to elaborate further, but the idea is to sell yourself without selling.What 5 things are important in sales? ›
- No. 1: Understand what the buyer wants. ...
- No. 2: Sell in a buyer-responsive manner. ...
- No. 3: Use psychology to engage the buyer. ...
- No. 4: Establish trust with the buyer. ...
- No. 5: Communicate succinctly. ...
- No. 6: Act on what the customer is saying. ...
- No. 7: Demonstrate subject matter expertise. ...
- No. 8: Help (as opposed to close) prospects.
: the act of selling. specifically : the transfer of ownership of and title to property from one person to another for a price. : opportunity of selling or being sold : demand. : distribution by selling. 3.What is sales and why is it important? ›
Sales play a key role in the building of loyalty and trust between customer and business. Trust and loyalty are the main reasons why a customer would choose to recommend your company to a friend or family member or write a great review of your product or service online.What is sales and how it is work? ›
A sales job is a career in which someone is responsible for presenting and selling products and services. In a sales job, you are generally responsible for generating leads and meeting sales goals. You may be expected to negotiate contracts with clients, deliver sales presentations and give product demonstrations.What are the 3 C's in sales? ›
Author and sales expert Mike Schultz outlines the three levels of selling that differentiate those who make a sale and those who don't. Winners in the sales industry exhibit a set of key behaviors to boost their profits. These three processes are referred to as “connect, convince and collaborate.”
What are the 4 P's of sales? ›
What is the marketing mix (4 P's of marketing)?
- Product. The item or service being sold must satisfy a consumer's need or desire.
- Price. ...
- Promotion. ...
What makes a good salesperson? A good salesperson has more to offer customers than an exciting pitch —they're enthusiastic individuals with resilience and they take the time to get to know their customers' needs, show empathy, and deal in a product in confidence.What are the 5 A's in sales? ›
Named by Dr. Philip Kotler, the five stages (Awareness, Appeal, Ask, Act and Advocacy) allow marketing and sales professionals to create a map of the customer's needs and priorities during the different parts of their purchase process.What is the most important process in sales? ›
It's the discovery meeting or the first meeting with a new prospect. Why is the discovery meeting so important? Because there's no other step in the sales process in which the salesperson can accomplish so much in so little time.What is sales best answer for interview? ›
It was important to keep a positive attitude even when the external environment was hectic and ensure that the customer and their needs were always top priority. I believe both of these experiences are relevant and set me up for success in the fast-paced role of a customer-facing sales rep.”
- Review the job description. ...
- Identify your relevant experiences and skills. ...
- Emphasize your achievements. ...
- Examine your professional growth. ...
- Structure your answer. ...
- Practice your response. ...
- Example 4.
Money. The most common way of motivating anyone in any profession is through money. A salesperson is especially conscious of that because his income increases when he closes a sale.What are the keys to sales? ›
- Find ideal customers. To succeed greatly in sales, you must spend more time with people who are better prospects. ...
- Focus on relationships. ...
- Identify needs clearly. ...
- Present persuasively. ...
- Answer objections effectively. ...
- Ask for the decision. ...
- Ask for resales and referrals.
BASIC SALES TASKS--Order-getting, order-taking, and supporting. ORDER GETTERS--salespeople concerned with establishing relationships with new customers and developing new business. ORDER-GETTING--seeking possible buyers with a well-organized sales presentation designed to sell a good, service, or idea.What are the 3 types of sales? ›
B2B sales (business-to-business sales) B2C sales (business-to-consumer sales) Enterprise sales.
What is the most important part of sales? ›
Salespeople may have charisma, strong communication skills, and organizational skills but without the core knowledge of a product or service, everything else goes down the drain. If a salesperson lacks enough product knowledge, then there's nothing to talk about – there's nothing to sell to a prospect.What is sales in interview questions? ›
- Why Are You Looking for a New Role? ...
- Can You Sell Me This Pen? ...
- What Does Your Current Sales Process Look Like? ...
- What Do You Know About Our Company and Product/Service? ...
- Describe a Time You Lost a Deal and How You Followed Up.
Sales skills taught me effective listening and communication skills. I can apply these sales skills to how I interact in my personal and professional relationships. Sales has taught me how to guide others to see the building blocks behind a decision, as well as building long-term relationships.What exactly do you do in sales? ›
Selling products or services to customers, and representing the brand. This can include asking questions to pinpoint the best offerings, giving demos or presentations, and maintaining customer relationships. Reaching out to potential leads through a variety of channels, such as email, phone, text, and social media.How do you do sales for beginners? ›
- Think About Who You Should Be Selling to.
- Don't Think About Your Goals – Think About Your Customer's Goals.
- Sell Value, Not Specs.
- Don't Take Rejection Personally.
- Honesty Is the Best Policy.
- Research Is Key.
- Personalize Everything.
- Practice Your Small Talk – and Write a Script.
However, an overarching sales skills definition is the specific set of sales skills (prospecting, cold calling, nurturing, engaging, presenting, negotiating, closing etc) and knowledge (product, markets, trends, business etc) a salesperson possess to enact the exchange of value between a buyer and the vendor.What increases sales? ›
To increase sales you may have to introduce new products or services, expand your market, increase your marketing activities or improve customer service. If you are a manufacturer, this could mean increasing your productivity to meet demand.What makes a successful sales team? ›
A great sales team is made up of individuals with unique and complementary talents, skills, experience and expertise. They play to their own strengths even as they work as a team. Diversity is a sign of balance, of course, and balance is another critical trait of a top sales team.How can I be good at sales talk? ›
- Don't sound like a salesperson. ...
- Sound like a salesperson. ...
- Approach each call with confidence. ...
- Be humble. ...
- Treat the sales relationship like a relationship. ...
- Respect the formalities. ...
- Don't talk too much. ...
- Don't talk too little.
In other words, the “4 S's” of brand measurement: sentiment, search, social, and sales. Put together and used properly, the 4 S's can unlock valuable, actionable insights for marketers.
How would you sell a product? ›
- Research different industries. ...
- Choose your product or service. ...
- Identify the target customer. ...
- Set a price. ...
- Choose a selling platform. ...
- Generate leads. ...
- Make your pitch. ...
- Close the deal.
1. Communication. Strong communication skills are the foundation of building meaningful relationships with clients, setting expectations, and (tactfully) discussing a buyer's pain points. It may seem obvious, but it's important to remember how communication is about much more than just speaking clearly and concisely.What are the five 5 selling strategies? ›
- Define your buyer.
- Tell a story.
- Target a niche market.
- Sell your brand.
- Focus on internal growth.
- Open and close a sales conversation with confidence.
- Understand how to present an attractive offer to clients.
- Engage in meaningful conversations with clients.
Always Be Closing (ABC) is a motivational phrase used to describe a sales strategy. It implies that a salesperson following the regimen should continuously look for new prospects, pitch products or services to those prospects, and ultimately complete a sale.How to impress a client? ›
Smile when you first meet the client, to let them know that you are happy to see them and excited about the prospect of working together. Make eye contact, give a firm handshake, and listen intently when the client is speaking with you. You also want to present a relaxed and focused persona.What are the 6 Ps in sales? ›
The building blocks of an effective marketing strategy include the 6 P's of marketing: product, price, place, promotion, people, and presentation. The effective integration of the 6 P's of marketing can serve as the foundation for an effective growth strategy.How do you master sales? ›
- Take an authoritative tone throughout the process.
- Develop and express your expertise.
- Sell with empathy and a personal touch.
- Never stop learning and evolving as a salesperson.
- Manage your expectations.
- Employ the '1-10' sales closing technique.
From the approach to closing the deal, it defines the journey of potential customers. Prospecting is the first and most important step of the sales process.What is a CX guide? ›
Customer experience journey mapping helps you get inside the mind of your customers. A customer journey map is a visual representation of every touchpoint customers have with your brand (e.g. social media channels, website, call center). It captures how people perceive your product or service in the broadest sense.
What are the 7 P's of sales? ›
The 7Ps of marketing are – product, pricing, place, promotion, physical evidence, people, and processes. The 7 Ps make up the necessary marketing mix that a business must have to advertise a product or service.How do I make a sales guide? ›
- Get organized. To get started, you must determine how you plan to deliver the sales manual to your team members. ...
- Describe what you sell. ...
- Outline your ideal customer. ...
- Explain your sales process. ...
- Describe your business model. ...
- Communicate why you sell. ...
- Manage who sells.
The four Ps are product, price, place, and promotion. They are an example of a “marketing mix,” or the combined tools and methodologies used by marketers to achieve their marketing objectives.What are the 3 main components of customer experience? ›
The three main components for creating a customer experience strategy are discovery, engagement and delivery.What are CX roles and responsibilities? ›
A customer experience specialist is responsible for keeping track of customer journeys, interacting with customers across channels and platforms, and coordinating with all internal stakeholders such as product design or development, sales, marketing, account management and so on, in order to keep fine-tuning the ...How can I improve my CX? ›
If you as a business are able to understand what is your customers' perception of your brand, you can provide them an improved customer experience. Collecting, analyzing, and implementing the feedback should be the process for improving the customer experience.