Selling is one of a number of tactical activities within marketing such as pricing and advertising. Co-ordinating these is essential for effective marketing. Differences in importance depend on the companies and industries involved. A successful sale depends on whether or not the product concerned fulfils the customer requirements and results in satisfied customers.
Relationship with Marketing Research
Marketing research finds out what people want and why they want it. Information might result in changes in the product. Such information is fed to the sales department and can be used by them to counter competition. Cowan5 argues that in the past market research has often failed to identify significant changes in markets or new innovatory products. Because of close contact with customers and markets however, the sales force in particular can be used to provide market intelligence information that feeds into the Marketing Information System (MkIS) and helps shape marketing strategy.
Some companies focus on meeting customers’ needs, which is called implementing the marketing concept. In contrast, implementing the selling concept involves doing whatever is necessary to increase sales. Despite the fundamental differences between these two orientations, the ultimate objective of both the selling and marketing concept is profit.
The marketing concept involves orienting your business to meet consumer needs. For example, a company might identify a consumer need and then manufacture a product to meet that specific need. Then, through a coordinated set of marketing activities — such as widespread distribution and attractive pricing — the company creates access to its product. Consumers fulfill their need by buying the product, resulting in a profit for the company.
In contrast, the selling concept refers to orienting your business to sell as many products as possible. For example, suppose a company manufactures a product for which there is no current consumer need. To make a profit, the company must use aggressive tactics, such as heavy advertising and pushy sales strategies, to convince consumers to buy the product. Achieving a high sales volume is how the company makes a profit.
Although the marketing concept and the selling concept involve fundamentally different organizational objectives, selling plays a role within the marketing concept, and marketing plays a role in the selling concept. For example, a customer-oriented company still must make sales to customers — after all, its ultimate goal is to use the sale to meet the customer’s needs. Similarly, marketing plays a role within a sales-oriented company. For example, a company can increase its sales volume by using advertisements to bolster its reputation for excellent customer service.
Well-run companies that are focused primarily on customer satisfaction don’t need aggressive selling strategies. Instead, such a company can rely on identifying a clear consumer need and then coordinating its marketing strategies to ensure consumers have access to the desired product, according to the book “Marketing Concepts and Cases.” Done correctly, the role of selling within the marketing concept is to help a customer make a purchase, as opposed to persuading the customer to make a purchase.