CV Insight 9 – Selling and Relationship Marketing The sales field has changed dramatically in the past few years. It’s no longer about pushing unsought goods and products such as used cars, vacation time-shares or life insurance via cold calls and overly persuasive sales tactics. Today, sales (e.g., pharmaceuticals, technology products, etc.) is a respected business profession often requiring advanced degrees (MBAs) and proven communication, computer and analytical skills. Marketing students should view sales as a legitimate career option on par with positions in branding/product strategy, marketing research, advertising/public relations, database management, web design, retail management and marketing professional services. A major driver of this transformation in selling practices and sales management is technology – i.e., customer relationship management (CRM) systems and social networking. Sales professionals must carefully manage all of their communications in the marketplace as well as the marketspace via face-to-face interactions; e-mail; blogs; and LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter initiatives. Regardless of the medium, the message is still the same – arrogance must be avoided in all business contexts. How sales professionals relate to all audiences – e.g., gender (males or females), age (baby boomers, Generation X and Millennials), different cultures and multiple buying influence present additional communication challenges. To succeed in rapidly changing and complex markets, arrogant words or actions and overly aggressive sales tactics must be minimized. Role playing, selling simulations, marketing coursework and sales training programs can help prevent potentially disastrous transaction blunders with customers and prospects. Questions: How should a company (provide a specific example) employ relationship selling strategies and tactics as part of a broader marketing strategy to retain customers? Explain how the sales profession has changed during the past decade due to technology. Has this helped or hindered customer relationships?