In our last piece, it was said, inter alia, that:
* Sales and marketing – with sales usually being the larger part, though not necessarily the more crucial – are responsible for keeping a firm alive as they are 100 percent responsible for generating income for the company.
* Poor sales management effectiveness sounds will lead, inexorably, to failure of the sales function and ultimately to the death of the firm.
The foregoing underlines the importance of sales to a company. Thus, it is impossible to focus “too much” on sales management or sales effectiveness. The sales function comes in various forms and formats, depending on the industry, the legal environment and the awareness strategy. Sales representatives must sell aggressively in some situations, while others just need only take orders coming their way. Thus the driver-salesman for a soft drink bottler is mainly an order-taker because the product has been presold to consumers through mass advertising.
The pharmaceutical salesman calling on HCPs is much more of an order-getter; his main goal is demand stimulation. When the selling strategy relies heavily upon advertising to attract business and build demand, salesmen are primarily order-takers. When advertising is minimal or just used to back up personal selling, marketing channels contain fewer layers of middlemen, and sales-people concentrate more on order-getting.
What makes sales management challenging and difficult when personal selling is the major mode is that personnel in the field are pretty much on their own, with relatively little supervision. Other characteristics include:
Working hours are usually irregular and working time is hard to conserve because of the need to wait for interviews; there are also broken appointments.
Problem of dealing with customers, each of whom may have different needs and different buying motives.
Each territory has different potential and characteristics, making norms of performance more difficult to set up than in other activities of the business.
Thus the sales manager’s most important functions are to find salespeople, who are likely to be productive self-starters, then train them, assign them to the right territories, motivate them, and keep track of their efforts. In short, sales management is a people-oriented profession. To be successful, those responsible for sales management must know not only what makes people buy, but also what keeps salespeople happy and productive. They are also responsible for determining how the total selling job should be set up—by geographical areas, by product lines, by type of customer, consumer or industrial, and the like.
Basic objectives of sales management
The American Marketing Association’s definition makes sales management synonymous with the management of the sales force, but the fact is that modern sales managers have assumed broader responsibilities. There are three basic objectives of sales management:
achieving, managing and increasing sales volume
contributing to company profits
facilitating long-term growth of an organisation.
These objectives of sales management can be expanded as follows:
- Revenue generation –The sales department is solely responsible for bringing in money.
- Increasing sales volume – That is, increasing the number of units sold. This translates to higher market share and growth of the company. There other benefits of scale accruing from this.
- Sustaining profits – Improving the profits of the organisation through effective planning, coordination and control. Sales management strives to increase sales and reduce costs. This ensures good profits for the organisation.
- Organisational growth –The organisation wants to gain market shares and this results in growth of the organisation.
- Market leadership – With increased sales volumes and profits, sales management enables an organisation to become the market leader.
- Motivating the sales force – One of the core objectives of sales management is to motivate the sales force. Selling is a very stressful task, and achieving sales targets can become very challenging. Therefore, a sales management task is to ensure that the sales force is continuously motivated through proper incentives and reward systems.
- Complementing marketing activities – Sales management’s task is to support the marketing functions of the organisation. Marketing and sales need to go hand-in-hand to achieve the desired results.
The sales team management provides invaluable feedback to the higher management while achieving these objectives.
At the functional levels, sales managers are responsible for:
Marketing activities like advertising, sales promotion, marketing research, physical distribution, pricing and product merchandising.
Organising the sales effort both within and outside the company.
Establishing contact with customers and other external publics.
Setting sales objectives
Planning sales and business development objectives. Sales management is instrumental in charting the course of future operations.
Setting sales and profit goals. Sales management and the financial results of a company are related.
Converting prospects to customers. Getting prospects to become customers is an art and a science; it requires good planning and sustained efforts. This is accomplished through sales management.
Sales management provides invaluable feedback to the higher management while achieving these objectives.
Preparing the sales plan and executing approved plan.
Recruiting and training the right people to execute the sales plan, as well as defining the remuneration and reward system for the sales force.
Defining the sales territories and specifying the sales quota to be achieved for each territory.
Analysing past performance with the current performance and making predictions on demand.
Coordinating with the marketing department and the consumers.
Establishing sales policies and SOPs.
Pricing policy and price fixing
Selection and management of channels of distribution.
Tunde Oyeniran, a sales/marketing strategist, selling/sales management trainer and personal sales coach is the lead consultant, Ekini White Tulip Consulting Limited, Lagos. We deliver Training, Recruitment and Field Force Management Solutions .Feedback. Channels 080-2960-6103 (SMS/WhatsApp) /email@example.com or check out https://fb.me/EkiniWhiteTulipConsulting