Understanding Sales: Role Description
In the most essential form, sales is persuading someone to buy what your offering. The gap between people and customers is filled by sales. How much of that gap is filled, depends entirely on how well a sales force can benefit a target audience. This dictates how much money the business can make.
There is a whole process that has to take place before a person becomes a customer, and then some. This is what a sales role entails to be initially successful, boiled down into 4 responsibilities.
Find Leads (people who have the potential to be customers)
There is always someone out there that will buy your product, they just have to be identified. Activities include, but are not limited to, canvasing(contacting someone without notifying them first), monitoring media, promotions, and referrals.
This inevitably takes seeding through all the people who won't buy your product. The original group of leads has to be prospected. Anyone who doesn't fit the profile or is unrealistic to sell to (they are unreachable, not financially capable, etc.) gets filtered out.
The only way to gauge if a person can and wants to benefit from your product is to contact them. Through contact, the seller establishes a relationship, assess's needs, and sets up a sales meeting. Depending on the lead, qualifying and making contact can be the same step, or switched around.
Closing the Deal
People who don't work in sales think closing deals, is the only activity associated with the job. The majority of sales people don't just pick up the phone, read a "magic" script, and then close the deal, e.g., The Wolf of Wall Street does not depict what a sales department does. Closing a deal means communicating the value the product could give to the customer, handling resistance, and begin a business partner relationship which continues way past the initial sale.
Increasing revenue is only half of the battle. A sales department also needs to foster good customer relations. Follow-up is vital. To be competitive in sales, focus on quantity, only after quality relationships are made. Because in the long run, a more in-depth understanding of how you can benefit your buyer, leads to more connections and benefits for your business.
These responsibilities can be stretched over multiple teams, or just a few people, depending on the size and type of the business.