What Are the Duties of a Sales Department?

by Neil Kokemuller; Updated September 26, 2017

Selling is one of the major forms of communication and customer acquisition in a company's marketing promotion strategy. While the roles of a sales department vary somewhat by organization, its primary duties include identifying and contacting prospects, delivering sales presentations, closing deals and managing existing customer relationships.

Identifying and Contacting Prospects

Lead generation is a huge component of selling strategy. This tactic involves selecting the right way to target prospects and the best contact method. Companies often use database software programs to assign prospects to sales representatives. The first call is often on the phone, and the goal is to qualify the prospect and to arrange a face-to-face meeting when a need exists. Key qualifiers are need, willingness to buy and financial resources. Sales departments want to optimize efficiency, so honing in on highly qualified prospects is beneficial.

Delivering Presentations and Closing

The heart of selling is delivering benefits-based presentations and closing deals. The first major hurdle is to build rapport with a prospect and make him comfortable. Effective sales staff use interpersonal skills, conversational strategies and empathy to establish trust with customers, which contributes to long-term, profitable relationships. When reps make prospects comfortable and build trust, recommended solutions may appear more believable. Effective presentations center on benefits that align with the needs of the buyer. A strong close that focuses on cementing the relationship and improving the prospect's situation or addressing a problem is a vital step to customer conversion.

Managing Customer Relationships

In highly competitive industries, it isn't uncommon that companies don't make a profit on initial sales. This fact points to the importance of customer satisfaction, and follow-up and follow-through service activities. The goal is to allow for the transition of a successful buying experience into repeat purchases, and eventually loyalty. Selling Power points out that database tools provide sales departments strong insights on the goals and interests of individual customers. These tools also allow staffs to track meeting notes and the buying behavior for each customer.

As problems arise, sales and support staff shift into customer service roles. Managing relationships effectively also creates opportunities for expansion selling and additional revenue.

Tips

  • When shifting to customer-service roles, sales stuff makes follow-up calls and handles incoming complaints from customers. Listening, identifying the problem and communicating a satisfying remedy are key elements in service resolution. Versatility is critical for sales departments to sustain relationships.

About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.