Sales drive business. The clearest barometer of business growth is product or service revenue. While profit is important, there is no profit unless there is a sale. Sales results affect pricing decisions, marketing plans, and the stock price of public companies.

Because this section is all about managing customers, the sales process is the natural starting point. A sales transaction is the event that transforms a prospect into a customer. It is the fundamental transaction in the business. Today, businesses manage the sales process in many ways. Building a data warehouse to support the sales subject area requires an understanding of the type of business, the sales cycle, and how the sales process relates to marketing and pricing decisions.

In this chapter, we will examine three businesses with different needs in a sales data warehouse. We will look at the sales organization, identify analytical requirements, and propose data warehouse designs to meet those requirements.

Direct versus Indirect Sales?

The first step in understanding sales is recognizing how a business sells its products. Imagine a product, a company, and a customer. A customer looking for a product must find someone who sells it. Likewise, a producer must find effective sales channels for the product. As consumers, we make hundreds of retail purchases each year, but rarely do we purchase goods directly from the producer. The seller is often a merchant acting as a sales agent for the producer. Some merchants ...

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