Sales Management is an integral sub-system of Marketing Management. It translates the Marketing Plan into Marketing Performance. Sales Management is hence described as the muscle behind Marketing Management. Every organization has people who are entrusted with the responsibility of dealing with prospects and customers to sell their products or services — its salesmen. They may be called technical executives, sales executives or marketing executives. Whatever the term is used, their major concern in the sales function is to constantly improve the profitability of the territory.
The Sales Manager in a modern organization holds a multitude of responsibilities. He has to plan, direct and control the personal selling effort of the firm. His task does not stop with the achievement of sales quotas. He is also responsible for bringing in the required profits. In addition, he is also responsible for creating the desired image for the company and its products. In fact, a modern sales manager has to do marketing rather than mere selling. His firm expects him to assume a much larger role than the traditional responsibilities of achieving sales quotas. It expects him to be customer oriented; as well as profit directed.
Designing of Sales Force Management
- Determining the Personal Selling Objectives of the Firm: The role of personal selling may vary from company to company depending on the overall objectives, the corporate strategies adopted by it, the type of produce, nature of target market, resources available and competitors practice. Personal selling objectives depend on the relative priorities assigned by the firm.
- Formulating Sales Policies: This is the next key task in the sales force management. Sales policy has to be set within a range of areas like Product, distribution and pricing.
- Structuring the Sales Force: Organizations usually structure their sales force on territory basis or on product line basis.In case of territory based structuring the salesman handles all the product / product lines of a firm in the given territory. And in the case of product based structuring, several salesman of the firm operate in a given territory, each handling different products of the firm.
- Deciding on the Size of Sales Force: The size of sales force has o be fixed at an optimum level. A number of interrelated considerations are involved: (a) Level of sales expected and number of salesperson needed for generating the sales, (b) Minimum number of salesmen needed from the servicing angle irrespective of the level of sales, and (c) Cost involved in maintaining the sales force
- Fixing Sales Quotas and Targets: Sales quotas or targets set for salesman should reflect the firm’s personal selling objectives, its overall sales plan, and size of sales force and nature of sales territories. The quota should neither be too high nor too low. It should match what a good salesman can accomplish by putting in sincere efforts.
- Creating a Sales Force: Selection, Recruitment and Training: The 1st step in developing an effective sales force is recruiting first class salesmen. Training, motivation, development and other aspects of sales management will no doubt help the process but basically the men recruited must be good.
- Managing the Sales Force: Compensation, Motivation and Supervision: Recruitment is just the 1st the part of building a top-notch sales force. The other parts relates to retaining them, managing them and making them contribute their best. A good compensation plan is the first requisite for retaining and motivating salesmen.
- Sales Communication and Reporting: Sales Management is carried out largely through communication (oral & Written). The sales manager lets his men know what they are expected to achieve how they are performing how they can improve and perform better. He also keeps them informed of what is happening in the company. Sales reports are also useful tools in sales administration implementation control and coordinate. They are also useful tools of sales communication.
- Sales Coordination/Control: It is through sales control that the sales executive ensures that all the personal selling objectives of the firm are achieved. The sales executive has the responsibility of coordinating the different elements/activities of the selling effort. He should ensure that he various elements do not pull in different directions.
Read: Managing the Sales Force Effectively