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What is the actual role of sales professionals?



‘Lack lustre understanding of the sales profession is still astoundingly prevalent in most organisations today.’ Many of the companies today claim they do not have a sales manager. This is not possible because someone must be managing sales, otherwise there would be no sales revenue. From a corner kiosk to the largest corporation in the world, sales revenue is the first thing that every CEO checks. No sales, no revenue. No revenue, no profits. No profits, no job.

For some reason, many people would rather not think of themselves as sales professionals. Every other title seems to be better – marketing, business development, client-handling etc. To add to the confusion there is the never-ending argument on whether sales and marketing should be managed by the same person and if not, who is more senior, the marketing or the sales manager?
The confusion on ground can be blamed partially on the lack of understanding of what sales really is. The sales process should result in an exchange, what we have (usually goods and services) for something else, usually money. Because of this, many consider every exchange to be “sales”, which is partially true, but it makes it difficult to distinguish it from other core business functions such as operations and marketing.

The actual sales process by definition is in the category of promotion within the marketing mix. In fact, it is the most effective promotion because it establishes two-way communication between the company and potential clients.  Sales professionals are therefore communication specialists, capable of adjusting the message content and the mode of delivery to the specific needs and characteristics of each listener. For organisations that employ part-time sales professionals as their field sales force. From personal hands-on experience, the best part-time sales executives are usually those already in communication such as teachers, policemen and nurses. Their day job requires the fine art of listening, explaining, presenting and mediating. It is these skills that make them excellent communicators when it comes to meeting potential clients. Therefore, communication is the essence of the sales process.

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