How sales management organise sales activity

how to get into sales management and also what does effective sales management mean to you
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Published Date:17-07-2017
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Subject: SALES MANAGEMENT Course Code: MM-308 Author: Dr. Surinder Singh Kundu Lesson No.: 01 Vetter: Dr. V.K. Bishnoi SALES MANAGEMENT: AN OVERVIEW STRUCTURE 1.0 Objective 1.1 Introduction 1.2 Definition 1.3 Benefits of selling activities 1.4 Elements of sales management 1.5 Objectives of sales management 1.6 SMBO approach 1.6.1 Process of SMBO 1.6.2 Importance of SMBO 1.7 Organisation of selling unit 1.7.1 Need and Importance 1.7.2 Functions of Sale Organisation 1.7.3 Structure of Sales Organisation 1.7.4 Steps to establish a sales structure 1.8 Summary 1.9 Keywords 1.10 Self assessment questions 1.11 References/suggested readings 1 1.0 OBJECTIVE After going through this lesson, you will be able to- • Discuss the sales, sales management and related concepts. • Explain the structure and objectives of a sales organisation. 1.1 INTRODUCTION In daily life, a layman deals with different transaction in terms of selling and purchasing of goods and services. In these transactions the second one persuades the first person. Therefore, selling may be defined as persuading people to satisfy the want of first one. The person, who does this act, is called as the salesman, the result of this action as sales, while these activities of the person, are supervised and controlled by sales-management. In the present scenario sales executives are professionals. They plan, build and maintain effective organisations and design and utilize efficient control procedures. The professionals approach requires thorough analysis, market-efficient qualitative and quantitative personal-selling strategy. It calls for skilful application of organisational principles to the conduct of sales operations. In addition, the professional approach demands the ability to install, operate, and use control procedures appropriate to the firm’s situation and its objectives. Executives capable of applying the professional approach to sales management are in high demand today. The quality of selling is referred to as salesmanship. In other words, ‘management’ is synonymous with leadership. Managers do the same thing in industry, as ministers do in states and at the centre, i.e., they have to plan, forecast, direct and control their personnel. Here success lies in running together, hand in hand. Managers are the captains of the army of their followers. 2 1.2 DEFINITION Originally, the term ‘sales management’ referred to the direction of sales force personnel. But, it has gained a significant position in the today’s world. Now, the sales management meant management of all marketing activities, including advertising, sales promotion, marketing research, physical distribution, pricing, and product merchandising. The American marketers association (AMA’s) definition, takes into consideration a number of these viewpoints. Its definitions runs like: the planning, direction, and control of the personnel, selling activities of a business unit including recruiting, selecting, training, assigning, rating, supervising, paying, motivating, as all these tasks apply to the personnel sales-force. Further, it may be quoted: it is a socio-scientific process, involving’ group-effort’ in the pursuit of common goals or objectives, which are pre- determined. Co-ordination is its key, though, no doubt, it is a system of authority, but the emphasis is on harmony and not conflict. Sales-management differs from other fields of management, mainly in different aspects: the selling operation of a business firm does not exist in isolation. Thus, simultaneous with the changes taking place in the business, as well as marketing-orientation, anew concept of sales management has evolved. The business, is now society-oriented, on human-welfare aspects. So, sales-management has to work in a broader and newer environment, in co-existence with the traditional lines. The present emphasis is now on total development of human resources. 3 1.3 BENEFITS OF SELLING ACTIVITIES There are different benefits of selling activities, which are as follows: (1) Benefits to the society: economic growth and maximum employment are the basics for national development. The achievement of both these goals means jobs and incomes for a nation’s labour-force. The number of people, who need jobs, continues to expand, and also some jobs are being eliminated, because of the introduction of computers and abolition of obsolete technology. If jobs are to be made available for all those, who want and expect them, the economy must continuously expand its production of goods and services, which can only be done by adopting sound government-policies and efficient use of people. Equally important here is the fact, that an economy needs individuals, to sell what is produced. Through their persistent efforts to create and stimulate demand, sales- people could be said to be the life and blood of a productive economic-system. The large number of workers, in factories, and offices, would not be needed, if someone were not selling their products. (2) Benefits to consumers: professional people may not know every fact of a product, but they, at least know its major uses, limitations and benefits; so they can easily serve their customers, quite effectively. For exan1ple, an insurance agent can analyse the hazards and risks that confront a 4 client’s business or home-situation, examine existing coverage and offer helpful advice, in order to eliminate the gaps or overlaps in coverage, in addition to saving the client’s money. The sales-engineers are qualified to analyse technical-problems, which may be confronting a particular organisation and they can give the right recommendations for developing efficient operations. Like-wise, the medical- representatives may help the busy doctor, by keeping him abreast of new drugs in the market. The list of sales-people who can offer assistance to customers is practically without end. (3) Benefits to business firms; their sales-persons and customers: salespersons are owned by their companies, while customers are the end-users of the company’s product(s) and/or services, all these people, in the chain of marketing, stand to benefit by sales-activities. A business firm can be profitable only if its revenues exceed its costs. The prime responsibility of the salespersons is to sell the goods, produced by the organisation, at a profit. The creative sales-person, tries to penetrate his territory, and adopts suitable means and techniques of profitable-selling of goods and/or services. Business firms, derive various other benefits from, non-selling activities of sales-persons. The sales- person, in the field, is an ideal person, to keep the company abreast, or ahead of competition. He, thus, becomes an important source of field-intelligence by providing important (and sometimes very crucial) information, about the nature of 5 competitive-activities, and also about the changing needs of customers. The sales-force has the additional responsibility of serving the needs of customers that buy the film’s product(s). Most firms cannot survive, only on the basis of one-time sales; repeat-sales are necessary. This is possible only if the customers are served in a professional manner. A customer-oriented sales-person has to perform such activities as: providing customers with ‘product-information’ and ‘demonstration(s); training customers-employees, in product-use; providing customers with sales-advice; and assisting customers in maintaining ‘inventories’. 1.4 ELEMENTS OF SALES MANAGEMENT There are the four basic elements of sales management, discussed below: (1) Planning: a business cannot be taken as a chance. Every salespeople or person concerned have to see for the future, in a planned way like what must be done? And who will do it? The plan must be based on extensive market research, and the facts must be verified at every stage. The plan should also be evaluated, after investigating the total-market, for a particular type of product. Flexibility must be provided by establishing a specialists production line, to allow for variation in production. The plan should also be subject to continued review. The details of the plan should be discussed, with all the departmental heads, concerned, and 6 their sub-ordinates, who bear responsibility for fulfilling their parts of the plan. (2) Co-ordination: Co-ordination is all pervasive and permeates every function of the management-process. For example, ill planning, departmental-plans are integrated into a master. Plan, ensuring adequate co-ordination. Similarly, organising starts by co-ordination wholly, partially inter-departmental and inter-personnel matters. Co-ordination also helps in maximum utilisation of human-effort by the exercise of effective leadership, guidance, motivation, supervision, communication etc. The control-system also needs co- ordination. Co-ordination does not have any special techniques. Nevertheless, there are sound principles, on which to develop skills. It has a special need to help the staff, to see the total picture and co-ordinate their activities, with the rest of the team. The sales manager has to encourage direct personal-contact, within the organisation, particularly where there is lateral-leadership. Harmony, and not discord, should be the guiding mantra. In addition, one has to ensure free flow of information that is selective to the objectives of the business. No personal problems, arising from business- operations are to be ignored, but solved through a free- exchange of ideas. This is especially true in the case of the sales-force of any organisation. (3) Controlling: the sales manager has to check regularly, that the sales activities are moving in the right direction or not. He guides, leads, and motivates the subordinates, so as to 7 achieve the goals planned for the business. He has to take steps to ensure that the activities of the people conform to the plans and objectives of the organisation. The controlling system should be such that one can study the past, note the pitfalls and take corrective measures, so that similar problems may not occur in the future. The controller has to ensure that the set targets, budgets and schedules are attained or followed in letter and spirit. There must be procedures to bring to light the failure to attain a target. The control-system has to (i) prepare sales and market forecasts; (ii) determine the level of sales-budget; (iii) determine the sales-quotas for each salesman; (iv) determine, review and select distribution-channels; (v) organise an efficient sales force; (vi) establish a system of sales-reporting; (vii) establish a system of statistical sales-credit; (viii) establish stock- control system(s); (ix) review of performance of the sales- force; and (x) establish periodical testing programmes. In a big organisation, each salesman is assigned a territory (not so big that it cannot be adequately covered). Each salesman has a target, set for specific ‘period. From the weekly and monthly sales-reports, the control system is established, that will prepare records whether a particular salesman is working efficiently or not. (4) Motivating: Motivation is essentially a human resource concept. It aims to weld together distinctive personalities into an efficient team. For this, knowledge of human psychology is needed, as a means of understanding behaviour patterns. 8 This is especially important in the case of the sales-force. Only motivated sales-persons can achieve company’s goals. 1.5 OBJECTIVES OF SALES MANAGEMENT Every business firm has certain objectives to achieve. These objectives may be very explicit and definitive, or they may be implicit or general. Although, firms have different mixes of objectives, and they do place differing emphasis, on individual ones, the typical objectives include (i) profitability, (ii) sales-volume, (iii) market share, (iv) growth, and (v) corporate-image. While all these objectives are important to a business firm, the objectives, relating to sales-volume, market share and profitability, are greatly affected by the effectiveness and efficiency, with which the sales-function is managed. Business firms, have, in fact, found that it is the most effective management objective of the firm; that must emanate out of its overall business or corporate objectives. The sales-management objectives of a business firm, generally relate to the areas of (i) achieving sufficient sales-volume, (ii) providing sufficient profit, and (iii) experiencing continuing growth. Generally, objectives of sales-management have to cover various sales-functions, in an integrated manner. These objectives are to be expressed, as far as possible, in measurable and quantitative terms, and should also be realistic and achievable. Since, there are more than one objective, these should be put, on a hierarchical manner (most- important, down to the least important). To ensure their flawless realisation, they must be congruent, i.e., they must fit together, and not 9 be in conflict with each other. For example, suppose you ask a salesman to cut his travelling expenses, and ask him to spend more time, in the field. To make these two requirements, more meaningful, they must be linked with specific time-element. The setting of objectives should not be based only on the judgment of the top-management. Rather, it should be formulated and finalised, with the involvement of the sales-force, at the grass-roots level. In addition, the process of setting of sales-objectives should begin, only after the company has conducted benchmark studies, to find out, as to where it stands in terms of product, brand and market-sales and market share trends (all in measurable terms). 1.6 SMBO APPROACH It is another approach to formulate and accomplish sales-objectives is the sales management by objectives (SMBO) technique. It is formulated combined by sales manager and sales-force (representatives). It aims to focus on (i) results, within a specified set of objectives and (ii) participative style of management. 1.6.1 Process of SMBO The operationalisation of SMBO is a process, comprising of the following steps: (i) Setting goals jointly with the salesman: In this process the goals for sales-man and sales managers are settled simultaneously in the organisation so that they can built a 10 close coordination between them and lastly they achieve the main objective of the organisation. (ii) Planning strategy to reach the objectives: His the participative style of sales. Management proves to be a boon to the top-management, in the sense of the close familiarity of the salesman, with their markets. The outcome of the joint exercise would be the development of a strategy that directs the salesman to his objectives, following a plan, in the correct sequence, with the correct timing, and must be efficient, in the use of resources of time and money. 1.6.2 Importance of SMBO The importance of SMBO for a business firm is as follows: (a) Directing the salesman towards the broader sales and marketing objectives of the Company; (b) Providing abetter approach, from the view-point of the salesman; and (c) Motivating the salesman. 1.7 ORGANISATION OF SELLING UNIT The main objective of any business firm is to sell effectively its goods and services to the consumer at reasonable prices. So long as the business undertaking operates on a small-scale; the proprietor can handle himself, or with the help of a few salesmen, under his direct- control and supervision. But, as the business grows and expands, the 11 size of the target market, to be covered to sell large quantities of goods and services becomes too large to be controlled by the owner of the business firm, personally. Therefore, these activities arises the need of a sales-organisation. Generally, an organisation is a structured-process in which individuals interact with each other for achieving stated-objectives. It is a social and dynamic system. It emphasises human-values. It is the job of management, to integrate and co-ordinate all its constituents. 1.7.1 Need and Importance The sales organisation is required for the following purposes: (i) To enable the top-management, to devote to more time in policy making for the growth and expansion of business. (ii) To divide and fix authority among the sub-ordinates so that they may shirk work. (iii) To avoid repetition of duties and functions so that there may not be any confusion among them. (iv) To locate responsibility of each and every employee so that they can complete the whole work in stipulated time; if not then the particular person must be responsible. (v) To establish the sales-routine in the business unit. (vi) To stimulate sales-effort. (vii) To enforce proper supervision of sales-force. 12 (viii) To integrate the individual in the organisation. Business organisations consist of an input, a processing-unit, an output and a feedback-loop; with its own environment Organisation as an open-ended social and dynamic system. Feedback-loop, provides control mechanism. Input is drawn from the environment. It gives output to satisfy the needs of environment, which the process itself transfers, input to output through its operators. In this approach, the main emphasis is on human-values. Workers are not simply cogs in the machinery they are social beings first. They are the key players of the production-system; and the management has to recognise this fact, that each person is unique. This makes an organisation, in the present-day context, quite complex. 1.7.2 Functions of Sale Organisation A sales organisation performs the following functions: (i) Analysis of markets thoroughly, including products and market research. (ii) Adoption of sound and defensible sales-policy. (iii) Accurate market or sales forecasting and planning the sales- campaign, based on relevant data or information supplied by the marketing research staff. (iv) Deciding about prices of the goods and services; terms of sales and pricing policies to be implemented in the potential and existing markets. 13 (v) Labelling, Packaging and packing, for the consumer, who wants a container, which will satisfy his desire for attractive appearance; keeping qualities, utility, quantity, and correct price and many other factors in view. (vi) Branding or naming the product(s) and/or services to differentiate them from the competitors and to recognise easily by the customer. (vii) Deciding the channels of distribution for easy accessibility and timely delivery of the products and services. (viii) Selection, training and control of salesmen, and fixing their remuneration to run the business operations efficiently and effectively. (ix) Allocation of territory, and quota setting for effective Selling and to fix the responsibility to the concern person. (x) Sales-programmes and sales-promotion-activities prepared so that every sales activity may be completed in a planned manner (xi) Arranging for advertising and publicity to inform the customer about the new products and services and their multiple uses. (xii) Order-preparation and office-recording to know the profitability of the business and to evaluate the performance of the employees. 14 (xiii) Preparation of customer s record-card to the customer loyalty about the products. (xiv) Scrutiny and recording of reports to compare the other competitors and to compare with the past period. (xv) Study of statistical-records and reports for comparative analyses in terms of sales, etc. (xvi) Maintenance of salesman’s records to know their efficiency and to develop them. 1.7.3 Structure of Sales Organisation The structure of sales organisation differs from company to company. There may be a very small and simple one with only a few salesmen. At the other extreme, there may be quite complex, with many sub-organisations, based upon divisions, according to territory, product and marketing-functions. The structure of the sales-organisation, usually depends upon the following factors: (i) Nature and size of the firm. (ii) Methods of distribution, adopted by the firm. (iii) Selling-policies of the firm. (iv) Financial conditions of the firm. (v) Personality of the sales manager. The other dimension of the sales-organisation-structure, is related to 15 (i) What shall be the status of the sales manager? (ii) What functions shall his department perform? (iii) What shall be the strength of the department? etc. These are many issues, which, besides being based on the factors, listed in the procedure shall depend upon the state of the acceptance of the modem marketing concept, within the organisation, and the extent to which, it is found to permeate within it. We have some firms in India, where the sales manager is the head of total marketing and sales- operations of the company; others where the head of the sales-operations of the company, is a functional director of the company’s board of directors, and responsible for total sales-operations of the company. Further, to carry out the functions of the sales-organisation successfully, the sales department is divided into sub-departments. Each sub-department is put under an officer, who is responsible to the sales- manager, who is the head or chief executive officer (CEO) of the company. For example, in the case of a big business firm, these sub-departments could be (i) market-research, (ii) advertising, (iii) sales-promotion, (iv) recruitment and training, (v) credit and collection, (vi) sales-office for receiving the orders and arranging to dispatch goods to their destinations. 1.7.4 Steps to establish a sales structure The following procedure may be adopted to, establish a practical and viable sales-organisational structure: 16 (i) Begin with a historical profile of the company’s allegiance, overall organisation and top-management philosophy of the firm. (ii) Analyse the requirements of the company and the sales- department, particularly in terms of its: size, position in the market, nature of activities, product mix, nature of customers, state of competition, and sales-people and their ambitions. (iii) Appraise the potential of the company, in terms of its impact on the financial, technical, scientific and human resources, existing currently. (iv) Analyse the prevailing working-atmosphere and state of communications, especially from the view-point of relationship and human-feelings involved in such relationships. (v) List the various administrative-details, connected with the company. (vi) Prepare a note, relating to the various administrative-details including aspects like hierarchy, span of control, etc. on the sales-department, and overall organisation of the department. (vii) Describe the procedures and Processes to be followed for executing various tasks. 17 (viii) Based on the above, prepare a draft-structure of the sales- department, giving job-descriptions of the whole of the department, and a who’s who of the department. (ix) Examine the structure, from the point of view of viability and practicality. In the light of the complexities and vastness of the above process, for creating a sales structure, once again, we state that various industries, though being equally efficient, and of the same category, organise their sales-departments, in different ways. 1.8 SUMMARY In total, Selling is the act, sales is the result of this act, while salesman is the person who does this act. So, salesmanship is the quality of act of selling. Thus, selling and salesmanship cannot be used synonymously. Salesmanship serves the dual purpose of discovering and persuading prospective buyers. By his creative faculties, a salesman has not only to sell but also establish a winning, regular and permanent relationship with his customers. A satisfied customer is just the beginning of this type of relationship, which ensures future repeat orders. Sales-management is governed by the principle of management. The four elements viz., (i) planning, (ii) co-ordination, (iii) controlling, and (iv) motivation are very relevant, as per requirement of the special nature of the business. Objectives are equally important for sound sales- management. Generally, these are (i) achieving sufficient sales-volume, (ii) providing reasonable profit, and (iii) experiencing continuing growth. SMBO (sales management by objectives) is a recent approach to 18 formulate and accomplish these objectives. Sales-management also needs proper organisational structure. Different structures suit different situations and requirements. These may be based on national or regional basis or on product market basis. A sales manager/director is the key person to plan, co-ordinate, control and motivate all the selling-activities of a business-concern. His job is multi-purpose and he has to face, all the odd and difficult changes. However, with his skill, urgency, and adaptability, these can be easily faced with. 1.9 KEYWORDS SMBO: Sales Management by objective is a selling technique or approach which focus on result within a specified set of objectives. Sales Volume: It is the total number of products sold. It may be expressed in monitory terms as well. 1.10 SELF ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS 1. Differentiate (i) selling, (ii) sales, and (iii) salesmanship. 2. Salesmanship is both an Art as well as a Science. Comment. 3. Write a short essay on sales-management. 4. What do you mean by objectives of any organisation? Explain. 5. What do you mean by organisation for sales-management? Explain its need, importance, functions and the essentials of a good structure. 19 6. Write short notes on: (i) SMBO (ii) Organisational Structure of Call Center (iii) Selling activities of a firm. 1.11 REFERENCES/SUGGESTED READINGS 1. Still, Cundiff, and Govoni, ‘Sales Management’, PHI. 2. Stanton and Spiro, ‘Management of a Sales Force’, McGraw Hill. 3. Anderson, Joseph, and Bush, ‘Professional Sales Management’, McGraw Hill. 4. Roburt J. Calvin, ‘Sales Management’, Tata McGraw Hill. 5. Dalrymple, Cron, and Decarlo, ‘Sales Management’, John Wiley and Sons. 6. Manning and Reece, ‘Selling Today’, Pearson Education. 20

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