It is all the more important that we appropriately realize the significance of sales to company success and understand it as a process. Like all other processes associated with other corporate functions, sales needs to be structured and designed in a professional, goal-oriented manner. We work and live today in a decade of sales. Successful selling is the best way for companies that have generated benefits to give them to their customers.
It is no good just to talk about customer benefits. You have to make sure that customers, both male and female, actually receive them. That is the only way to generate growth. We have decades behind us in which other corporate functions were the focal point of interest and corresponding paradigms shaped the issue of IT use.
Promises from Advertising and Marketing
For instance, companies in the 1980s commonly believed that developing a logo and brand identity was all that was needed to optimize communication with the customers. In the decade thereafter, companies spent a lot of money for advertising and marketing to forge ties to their customers. Many investments yielded hardly any returns, and for good reasons. The crucial task was to shape the customer relationship in such a way that the company profits from the customers’ purchase behavior and knowledge.
This also applies to the marketing concepts that arose in the 1990s. For instance, anyone wanting to breathe life into one-to-one or micromarketing approaches today have to do so based on a contemporary understanding of customers and appropriately structured customer relationships. That means, on the one hand, that businesses generate customer loyalty with customized and individually communicated offers based on corresponding analyses. On the other hand, they conceive of customer relationships as an act of communication based on dialog from which a wealth of information can be drawn for the further development of their own enterprise.
Incidentally, the often heard argument that businesses that listen too much to customers are not innovative enough is questionable. It overlooks not only the growing significance of user-generated innovations – the open-source movement is an excellent example – but also the fact that feedback from customers is not implemented one-to-one in the business models but rather further developed and integrated into the corporate strategy.
IT has made a one-to-one approach to marketing a reality. IT has paved the way to absolutely individual customer marketing featuring individualized offers based on analysis of previous customer behavior, collective information on personal preferences and specific demands from customers. The right goal is to address customers absolutely individually, not in anonymous mass marketing. Yet the promises from Advertising and Marketing have to be brought back down to earth – and this is where sales comes into play. Nothing works without sales.