Sales management involves the direction and control of salesmen, sales planning, budgeting, policymaking, coordination of marketing research, advertisement, sales promotion and merchandising and the integration in the marketing program of all business activities that contribute to the increased sales and profits.
Steps in Sales Force Management
The functions or steps involved in salesforce management are the following:
1. Requirement of Salesman
The success of a sales program depends on developing a high caliber of the sales staff. Hence, proper staffing is crucial.
The recruiting process begins with careful job analysis and job description.
The sales department recruits by determining the sources of recruitment and by placing want advertisements, contacting employment agencies, and by asking salesman already on staff.
Recruiting can also be done on the institution’s campus.
2. Selection and Appointment
Many criteria dictate the selection of a Salesforce. It is economical to select people who already know the job.
In selection, attention is paid to the individual’s health, physical appearance, verbal fluency, and adaptability.
Many firms give psychological screening tests. Some companies have developed lists of qualities deemed essential to good salespersons.
It is also important to see how the salesman will interact with customers in a dynamic situation.
The sales management provides training to impart knowledge about the selling policies, procedures, selling techniques, consumer services together with the knowledge about the products of the firm and duties and responsibilities salesman.
Training can range on the job training to formal classroom sessions.
4. Assignment Duties
Duties are assigned to the salesman before they leave for territories.
Their roles are defined and their responsibilities are fixed.
They are also given non-selling duties, such as the collection of credit sales, contacting with old customers, etc.
This is a function in which salesmen are provided with necessary materials before they leave for their respective territories.
Their equipping materials include sample products, catalogs, charts, diagrams, other forms, picture book, introduction letters, necessary tools, etc.
With the help of these materials, the salesman can make their sales presentations effective.
6. Assigning Territories
Once the sales territories have been established. Sales management can assign individual salespeople to each district.
We have implicitly assumed that the salesman has equal selling abilities and that each person would perform equally well in any territory.
In any given Salesforce, the representatives many differ in selling effectiveness. unequally sized territories accomplish two purposes. One is to accommodate differences among salespeople.
The other is to give executives some flexibility in managing their sales forces.
Sales routes are decided by the sales manager.
These are indicated on a map or list that shows the order in which each segment of the territory is to be covered. Routing helps avoid overlapping of activities.
8. Fixing up the Sales Quotas
The sales manager fixes the sales quotas for each salesman.
It is a performance goal assigned for a specific period of time. It is stated in-country currency, product units, or selling activities.
The sales quotas may be fixed for a month, a quarter, six months or a year.
It is the function of the sales manager to supervise the activities of the sales staff.
Sales supervision is concerned mainly with the action phase of control.
Low morale, increasing ratio of selling expenses, low ratio of Orders, increased complaints are some conditions under which supervision is needed.
Correspondence with salesman, periodical reports by the salesman is a few methods used for supervision.
the sales manager makes compensation plans to pay for salesman’s activities. He determines the methods of payments.
The payment plans may be straight salary plan, straight Commission plans, salary plus Commission combination plan, Commission plus expenses plan, and salary plus group Commission plan.
The payment plan should enthuse efficient salesmen. A periodic review is also essential.
An important function of the sales manager is to lead and direct his salespeople.
He provides leadership by inspiring people to grow and develop while achieving the revenue goals of the firm.
A proper direction will raise the morale of sales employees to achieve sales objectives.
The sales manager maintains effective communication with his sales units and salesman.
He freely discusses problems related to the salesmen’s job. He solves grievances, communicates salesmen’s progress.
He maintains personal contacts with the sales staff.
Sales personals are kept informed through letters, bulletins and other mailed pieces.
13. Evaluation of Performance
Control is an important function of sales management.
It enables the sales manager to measure the progress towards achieving sales objectives.
He sets standards of performance that facilitate the measurement of progress. Without proper evaluation, failures cannot be detected.
It also helps in future planning and forecasting of sales.
The sales manager’s job is to get results through sales personnel.
It motivates salesman to achieve a given performance level.
Sales personnel require additional motivation because of the inherent nature of the job, role conflicts, the natural tendency towards apathy.
In these conditions, the sales manager provides motivational ‘help‘ to salespeople.
15. Building Sales Skills
Sales managers are responsible for developing salespeople with appropriate skills and competencies.
They develop salesman’s knowledge, behavior sends work attitudes.
Typical sales manager spends about 18% of their time traveling.
This is required to surprise the field sales activities and to the helpful salespeople in territories.
The sales manager organizes sales meetings to train, motivate and discuss with the salesman.
It is not surprising that sales managers spend 14% of their time on this function.
Thus, now you know the important steps in sales force management.