The face of any organization is the sales force. Companies spend a considerable amount of time and money on sales force rather than on any other promotional activity. However, sales force is expensive and companies are looking forward to managing them in an efficient and effective manner.
Designing of the Sales Force
Sales force is linking between companies and customer. Therefore, companies have to be careful in designing and structuring sales force.
- The first step is setting out an objective for sales force. Earlier companies had a single objective increasing sale making it objective also for sales people. Sales people are asked to perform a search for prospective clients or lead. Sales people are asked to balance time between a prospective customer and current customer. Effective communication of product and services is essential to close the deal. Sales people also play an important role in after sales service and can make a difference for the company. Sales people are eyes and ears of the company in the market gathering information about competition and customer changing demands.
- The second step is use sales people strategically. Sales people have to combine efforts with other team members to achieve the objective. Sales people should be aware how to analyze market data been provided and convert them into marketing strategies.
- The third step is deciding the structure of the sales force. The structure of the sales is dependent on the strategy followed by the company. Common sales force structures are as follows:
- Territorial structure is used where every sales representative is assigned specific geographical area. This structure is preferred for building relationships with locals.
- Product structure is used for complex and un- related product portfolio. Here the sales people are directly associated with research and development of the products.
- Market structure is used if the companies are operating different industry or market segments. Every sales force specializes in a definite market and helps push a product efficiently across the given market. However, the disadvantage would arise if customers are located over a wide geographical area.
- Complex structure is used when companies are in business of selling complex product to different customer across a large geographical area. Here sales force structure is a combination of other structures discussed.
Once the structure is designed companies need to make a decision with respect to the size of the sales force. The size of the sales force is dependent on the market size and number of customers.
- The next step is to design compensation for the sales force. Compensation plays a big motivational factor for sales people. Companies follow a structure of a fixed amount plus a variable amount depending of success achieved in the market. Allowances play an important factor in the salary owing to continuous travel and market visits.
Managing Sales Force
Integral part for success of marketing strategy is management of the sales force. The management of sales consists of following:-
Recruitment is at the centre of an effective sales force. One approach in the selection is asking a customer what characteristics they look for in a sales representative. Companies develop selection procedure where behavioral and management skills are tested.
Training is essential to remain ahead of the competition. Sales force needs training before entering the market as well as training at different stage of the product life cycle.
Supervision on sales force is decided on the profile of product portfolio. A general supervision is maintained with respect to sales people dealing with potential clients. Another supervision is related to efficient time management from preparation of client call to closing of the deal.
Motivation is a key aspect for management of the sales force. Here compensation plays an important in driving up the motivational level. Compensation can be assigned based on sales quota. Other motivational tools are social gathering and family outing.
Evaluation is essential to management of a sales force. Sales reports sent by the sales force serve a good starting point of evaluation.
Art of negotiation and relationship marketing these two are the important aspects of successful sales representative and long term benefit for the company.