The customer forms his opinion of an organization based on the people that he works with and sees. For a company, this is the salesperson. The salesperson shapes and structures the customer's view of the company. Thus, the advancement and collapse of a corporation rests almost solely on the performance of the salesperson. In turn, the responsibility of the qualifications of the salespeople rest on those who train them. This essay is devoted to help set objectives and find a good strategy for the sales manager.
The personal touch and customer service is back in style. More "face time" with the customer and focus on service is showing up as a trend in sales. The management of the sales force is changing as a result with more metrics in place for measurement of outcomes. Globalization presents sales management with the challenge of understanding how cultural influences affect certain business behavior.
Face time with the customer may be a key to long-term success of a sales force. Making your sales force more productive and minimizing their time in the office will increase revenue theoretically. Assuming that the sales professional we're talking about is not an idiot who couldn't sell anything to anyone.
One way to get the sales force out of the office and encourage more productivity is to provide more freedom. Some sales professionals may want to hire an assistant, on their own dime, to increase their face time with customers. This can be a risky, but a worth while step for the sales professional. Even though they will be personally responsible for the assistants' salary, the sales professional can free themselves from the daily routine and time consumption of paperwork. This will allow the sales professional to return client calls much quicker, increase face time and ultimately sell much more.
Metrics & CRM
With new customer relationship management (CRM) software available via the web, the sales person can be more productive in the field without tying them down to a desk. CRM automates the recording of customer contacts and improves the development of products and services by analyzing existing buying patterns and streamlining access to customer data.
What does this mean for the sales force and sales management? Measurement opportunity! Organizations are realizing that in order to achieve their business objectives, increasing efficiency alone is not enough. Every company that sells products or services needs to maintain good customer relationships. In order to measure the "good" in "good customer relationships", organizations must review their sales force productivity.
Sales metrics allow managers to review ways to:
Improve sales effectiveness
Improve customer service/loyalty
Provide current information
Support team selling
Increase selling time
Improve sales management
Improve marketing effectiveness
Decrease sales costs
Metrics and CRM are a powerful combination as sales managers have more ways of measuring sale force productivity and outcomes.
Globalization & Understanding Cultures
Every company that sells products or services needs to maintain good customer relationships, but nowhere is this more important than on the Web. With competitors just a few clicks away, every e-business must build customer loyalty in order to survive. As organizations market and sell to more countries, understanding cultural differences is important.
The role of foreign governments and their rules and practices are large considerations when doing business abroad. Some countries view companies as "corporate citizens". Cultural considerations include personal selling techniques, cultural generalization approaches, and corporate culture. Sales force management consists of the following:
Setting sales force objectives
Designating sales force strategy
Recruiting and selecting sales people
When executing these steps, cultural considerations come into play. What motivates an individual in China or Russia to sell your product? What management style does a salesperson in Japan or India respect? What types of training are most needed in different countries to optimize the local sales force? Ethical perceptions are different in every culture. Decision making such as whether to focus on the U.S. corporate culture in other countries rather than allowing the divisions in other countries to develop their own culture are key factors to success in globalizing an organization.
Another important decision point is whether or not to deploy U.S. sales people overseas to manage local operation in the foreign market. Advantages could include better communications with the home office and focused development of talent. Difficulties could include cross-cultural training for the U.S. sales people being deployed, motivation, compensation, and family discord. Study of previously conducted research provides insight for organizations planning to expand business into other countries.
Organization success or failure rests largely on the effectiveness sales force. Increasing face time for sales people may be a key factor in improving long-term success of the sales force. Sales force management is changing toward the use of CRM software. Metrics and the use of CRM software provide a powerful means of measuring sale force productivity and outcomes. As organizations market and sell to more countries, understanding cultural differences is important. Sales management is challenged with understanding how cultural influences can affect business behavior and decision-making.