Is sales an art or a science?

Is sales an art or a science?

Published 17 Jan 2018 by Edward Westbrook, CANDDi
Read this in about 3 minutes

Is sales an art or a science? We asked. You answered loud and clear. Thank you!

Is sales an art or a science?

Overwhelmingly it would appear we have a community of artists out there in CANDDi-Land.

Art – 1120 (74%) Science – 405 (26%)

This of course, prompts even more questions… the biggest one is around why is there such a huge gap?


The case for art: Well, artists might talk about their unique approach, their problem solving creative skills, their ability to intuitively understand the prospect and their needs – after all, sales is a craft… isn’t it?

The case for science: Scientists might say that to make one good cake you need one good cake recipe…after all, everyone likes cake, right?


The question is, who is right and who is wrong… or are they both right?


Our take-away:

There is no such thing as a standard sales team, any more than there are standard sales prospects!

We’re currently evaluating these responses in the context of 2018 and the proliferation of new sales technology…

  • - Does this make sales people feel like they are in control or being controlled?
  • - Is it helping high performing sales professionals to make better selling decisions, to unleash their creative prowess, or is it simply promoting sales by rote?

Is the science-ification of sales helping high performing sales professionals to make better selling decisions, to unleash their creative prowess, or is it simply promoting sales by rote?

As with all of these divisive topics we believe it depends on industry, sector, level of decision maker.

There’s no doubt that the very best in their field show attributes of being both great craftsmen and having devised a formula – where should we apportion the balance? Could it be that some artistic sales people win sales that would be lost by science based sales guys, and vice versa?

Should a business work harder to match buyer types with seller types… or at least match seller types to the stages a buyer is at in their buying cycle?

Maybe the sales leaders of high performing sales functions are truly multi-dimensional - Muse, Mentor and Magician, providing the sales individual with the exact environment they need to deliver at the highest level for the business and the customer, regardless of labels, simply providing the right raw materials and conditions to serve the customers at the highest level.

After all, if you’ve got the sales equivalent of Van Gogh, David Beckham, Alan Turing, Gordon Ramsay, Mariah Carey, Daniel Craig, Marie Curie and Tom Hanks that’s a high-quality team, and who would be brave enough to temper their specific skills and strengths?

Invariably, the conversation has to come around to the vast diversity of sales roles today, from the cold hunter, the sales development rep to the closer and the account developer, reflective in the specific skills the prospect (and business) needs to display at different stages in the sales cycle in order to be successful.

Without a doubt, this simple topic has raised far more questions than answers in the CANDDi office with our own sales team advocating for their own skills… who should be doing what and when, so that our sales team feel they are playing to their strengths.

We’re going to continue delving into this area, because it’s critical to our own lead nurturing and development. We know it’s key to our clients too, and how they use CANDDi to drive their own sales and marketing effectiveness.

There’s no simple answer. The very best sales leaders, closers and lead generation teams show attributes of both art and science in their armoury.

There are tools available, like CANDDi, to address the balance. To help the scientists flourish and the artists take a measured approach.

We don’t want ‘painting by numbers’ - where does your opportunity for improvement sit?

We’ll keep you posted, and we’d welcome your thoughts too…

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