The term ‘Sales’ has, in most times, been associated with product marketing.
And why not?
It was the famous Dr. Philip Kotler, who had propounded ‘Sales’ as the tip of the Marketing iceberg. But when Sales and Marketing are linked together, it is mostly in relationship with a product or service. Hence, when someone says that he or she is a sales person, the immediate visual that comes to mind is a person with a bag, going from door to door, ringing the calling bell much to the agony of the resident and finally getting the door banged on his or her face. There is an oft quoted saying that whosoever does not get any other job, gets into sales. These perceptions have created an allergenic reaction in the minds of young job seekers who are looking out for a bright career and choose to have a job which is non-sales oriented and where sales target is not the primary concern.
However, these perceptions are basically parochial and a non-exposed form of thinking as sales has a far greater dimension of work and scope than any department in an organization. You might argue the reliability of this statement. A simple substantiation of this statement is the fact that when organizations want to fire people because of revenue loss and frozen funds, it is the sales people who are fired at the end as at the last moment, the sales people provide hope that something can be possible and the business can turn around. Hence in every organization, the unsung heroes of the business are the sales people and they are always into the highlight, be it in the form of incentives or promotions or career advancements. The job demands a certain energy and zeal but when the game is understood, it is a matter of time when success will be the only constant motivator amidst the multiple failures and obstacles.
Beyond the veneer of products and services, the term ‘Sales’ has a much wider connotation and usefulness, and that is in the capacity of self-marketing or personal selling. No matter what stream a person is in, during the interview time, a person has to sell himself or herself with a marketing tool known as curriculum vitae or CV. In the interview panels, it is basically the fight of the brands and the brand which can sell itself as the best and most appropriate value for the organizations, gets a chance to serve the organization. So, it is a myth that sales is only for the marketing domain. Rather, it is basically for day-to-day life of people as each and every person sells something every day. Even if it is going to a party or a movie or a day outing, the idea marketing is at play as dependent students need to convince their parents through idea marketing that the idea of going somewhere has a value and therefore the investment of time. Self-marketing is the trend at this hour. There is no escape from sales.
A presentation to one’s boss, gaining respect in the ecosystem, convincing the client are all parts of sales and after identifying the appropriate target group, the work of the salesperson is three-fold: utility and uniqueness of the brand, the differentiating value that the brand has in its category and the price at which the customer will be impacted. Once the utility, uniqueness and price have been communicated to the customer effectively, chances are that the customer would be willing to procure the brand. So, in the case of an individual, the same logic is to be applied. An individual should sell itself by communicating the utility that the individual will provide based on company requirements. The individual should speak on the unique skills and capabilities possessed by him or her and at the same time concentrate on the values that will be an added competitive advantage for the company.
As the ‘Sales’ paradigm is being decoded, it is important for all institutions to groom students to be the best sales person whether through events or sponsorships or bagging live projects from the corporate. Business schools should orient students towards having an acumen for selling themselves to the corporate. Some B-Schools, like Globsyn Business School, have already started the process by encouraging students to approach corporations for sponsorship and develop their CV in accordance with the sales pitch. Mentored by faculty, Globsyn Business School ensures experiential learning by asking students to involve themselves in Beyond Education activities, where for every project, they need to sell the event to the corporate, academia, and other associated ecosystems so that they develop a practice and prowess of sales acumen and are equipped to bring business in their corporate world. This learning of self-marketing is an important skill development activity taking people to the next level of corporate readiness.
The self-marketing salesman should understand that the domain of sales is agnostic of the specialization. Rather sales works as pivot with all the domains and specializations. Hence people cannot live without sales, whether it is to appease the boss or trying to get permission from parents to step out of the house. It is often a myth that sales cannot work without marketing. Rather it is a reverse process where marketing cannot work without sales. In the world of stiff competitions, it is important to sell oneself uniquely in respect of others in the career market. Sales should not only be restricted to Marketing but it should basically be a way of communication – a way of life.
Dr. Sabyasachi Dasgupta
Faculty – Marketing
Globsyn Business School