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Sales involve the selling of a product or service. There are various types of sales jobs, which we will present in the following text.
Marketing can overlap with sales, as it is the activity of promoting, advertising, selling, and delivering a product or service. The objective of marketing is to create a new sale or boost existing sales.
Each of the two functions has specific skills and knowledge. Some sales jobs may not require a college degree – just the confidence, communication skills, assertiveness, and outgoing attitude to convince an individual or an entire organization to buy what you’re selling. Budding salespeople can read about sales techniques in one of the numerous books on the subject.
Both sales and marketing demand a certain degree of creativity. However, the latter requires creative individuals whose advertising entices people to buy. The ad must capture the attention of the buyer and, consequently, purchase the item or service.
There are hosts of different sales jobs – some of which do not need any knowledge of statistics. Someone working in retail sales does not have a use for stats. It is not their responsibility to keep track of sales data at this level. The stats would typically be a concern to the sales manager of the store or department. Sales management wants to know:
- What is selling?
- What products are customers buying?
- What are the sales figures for each item?
- Who is selling the most?
- What direction are sales going?
Therefore, to answer the above questions, this requires a spreadsheet of data to track all the pertinent numbers. Fortunately, an account or sales manager can input all of this information into a computer program that tabulates the total sales automatically. This software transfers the need for knowledge of statistics and places it in computer skills.
Outside sales may require statistics depending on the nature of the product and the territory. In this line of work, the sales representative meets face-to-face with customers. The rep may perform product or service demonstrations, conduct seminars, and maintain documentation of new customer’s sales, existing customers purchasing habits, and leads. The rep may have to file monthly or quarterly reports on all sales activities to the home office or regional sales office.
The type of sales mentioned above has a more critical requirement for statistics. By deciphering the data, the rep can determine where sales are lagging, for example. Customers who are buying less could be one area of concentration to meet and discuss the reasons. Knowledge of stats allows the outside sales rep to make informed decisions based on what the figures reveal.
Statistics are vital to a marketing strategy. Companies need to know their market share, the competitors’ share, consumer motives (for example, income levels), reactions to advertising, and target marketing.
Stats illustrate to marketers where the customer base exists and why sales are higher in one geographical area than another. Income, age, marital status, and gender have the potential to influence sales. Statistics on each category are essential for the targeted market. As an example, daytime television generally has more commercials aimed at retirees and senior citizens. Numbers show that during these hours, more older people watch TV.
After launching a new product or service, companies want to know the effect of the advertising campaign. Stats can tell the marketers which medium will suit the product introduction. The strategy can differ depending on the targeted age of potential customers. Social media might be best for those from teenagers to late 30s. Statistics can divulge which types of media were the most successful and received positive feedback from customers. Twitter’s statistics show how content reaches the public. For example, their stats demonstrated that 66% of people found a new business on the site. A higher percentage, 94%, planned to purchase something from a company followed on Twitter.
Marketers strive to obtain more with less. Advertising is expensive; therefore, it is imperative that the results far exceed the cost of the methods.
The U.S. exceeds all other countries in advertising: approximately $250 billion annually. Digital ads lead the market with $129 billion in 2019! Projections see this particular medium rising to over $200 billion by 2023.
Individuals contemplating a degree in this field have a choice of a Bachelor of Science in Marketing or Sales at the University of New Orleans. Students have the option of the sales concentration with a minor in marketing. Interestingly, the coursework does not reflect the study of statistics, although the topic might be embedded in its Marketing Analytics or Sales Management class.
The University of Texas-Dallas does emphasize statistics in its Marketing undergraduate degree. There is a math course in Applied Calculus in the Core Curriculum Requirements and the choice of Probability and Statistics for Management and Economics or Managerial Methods in Decision Making.