Sales Force Management: Definition, Activities, Objectives, Elements and Functions, Process, Roles, Strategies, and Other Details

Sales Force Management (SFM) is a subsystem of marketing management. The marketing plan is translated into marketing performance via sales management.

In fact, sales force management does much more than act as a muscle behind marketing management.

A sales force management system is an information system that helps automate certain sales and sales force management functions. They are often seen in combination with a marketing information system.

Salesforce Management Definition
Importance of Sales Force
Role of Sales Force in Management
What is a Sales Force Decision?
Activities of Sales Force in Management
Objectives of Sales Force Management
Functions of Sales Force Management
Elements of Sales Force Management

Sales Force Management, Definition of SFM

Personal sales are a very important component of marketing activities. The success of a business venture depends on the performance of its vendor. Vendors play an important role in communicating company and product information to customers. Responsibility for selling the company's products and services rests with the company's sales staff.

A salesperson not only delivers product information to customers but also gives customers feedback on the company and its products to its employer. Thus, sales force management is an important aspect of marketing management. It deals with the selection of the company's sales force, orientation training, supervision, motivation compensation, and evaluation work.

Although in some organizations some of the above responsibilities are delegated to the human resources manager, in most cases it is the sales manager who is responsible for the successful performance of these roles.

Sales Force Management (SFM) is a  marketing management subsystem. It is sales management that translates the marketing plan into marketing performance. That is why sales power management is sometimes described as the backbone of marketing management. In fact, sales force management does a lot more than just act as the muscle behind marketing management.

Modern organization sales managers need to be customer-oriented and profit-oriented and perform a number of tasks in addition to setting and achieving the firm’s personal sales goals. Let us briefly understand the tasks involved in sales force management, sales force management. The sales managers of a modern organization need to be customer-oriented and profit-oriented and perform a number of tasks in addition to setting and achieving the firm’s personal sales goals.

What is the importance of sales force? 

To meet your sales targets, you'll need to manage a sales force. To continue in business and grow in a sustainable way, all businesses must sell. Increase revenue, acquire new clients, and strengthen relationships with existing customers by focusing on efficiently managing your sales crew.

What is the role of sales force in management?

The goal of sales force management is to properly implement sales and marketing goals, as well as to instruct or train people. It needs a well-trained sales force that are well-versed about the product or service's ins and outs, as well as the ability to respond to all customer questions without hesitation.

What are the six most important steps in sales management?

High sales force costs necessitate an effective sales management process consisting of six steps: designing sales force strategy and structure, recruiting and selecting, training, compensating, super-vising, and evaluating salespeople and sales force performance.

What is sales force decision?

Managing a sales force entails a range of considerations, including effort distribution across customers, sales territory design, sales force size determination, and salesperson remuneration and performance assessments.

Sales Force Management – Activities of SFM

Sales management is an integral part of marketing management. It translates the marketing plan into performance. Sales management is described as the backbone of marketing management.

Sales management involves the following activities:

(a) Definition Requirement - Determining the needs of manpower and the skills sought among them.

(b) Recruitment - Recruiting the desired type of people.

(C) Training - To train the sales team to increase the desired skills and make them proficient in the work assigned to them.

(d) Compensation - Appropriate compensation must be paid to the hired salespersons. This is necessary because if they are not properly compensated they may join a competitor and give up our trade secrets or even if they are with our firm they may be demotivated and not work as required.

Compensation should be such that neither the employee nor the employer feels exploited

(e) Motivation - Motivating employees is an activity as important as any other activity. An inspired salesperson must sell more than an inspired salesperson. It creates a good business idea to motivate people to work more efficiently.

The steps of sales-force management are the same as that of employee management. Sales-force management work begins with job analysis; Such as determining job objectives, material duties and responsibilities performance criteria, and reporting relationships. The output of the job analysis is the written job description which is used to get the required qualifications (job specification) of the employee.

Eligible job applicants must be found and a decision on the source and method of recruitment is required. From the supply of applicants, those who meet the required job specification are selected.

After selection, the selected individuals receive initial training and continuous training through various training systems - throughout their careers with the company. Compensation plans are designed to provide appropriate levels and methods of compensation.

When the salesperson is hired to work in the field, the work of other employees begins. Motivational plans are introduced to motivate salespeople to use their work time more productively. Control of sales staff requires analysis of sales records and evaluation of sales performance.

Participation of Sales Executives in Sales Force Management:

Sales-force management is a concern of sales executives at all organizational levels. For most sales executives, effective performance by sales staff is extremely responsible. On top of salespeople, there are sales supervisors who spend a lot of time and energy managing sales power. Others, who are above the level of sales supervisors, spend less time managing the activities of salespeople but are concerned about their effectiveness.

Mid-level sales executives, like regional sales managers, work in a line capacity of lower-level sales executives, who in turn manage the sales force. Other mid-level executives specialize in sales training or brand promotion (a stage of marketing) that affects the job of vendors.

At the top of the manager classification, the chief sales executive has general responsibilities, not only to manage subordinate sales executives but also to manage other sales and marketing activities. Although sales executives have moved to the middle management level, they remain concerned about managing the sales force. As they move forward, the extra stress adds to their efforts in their growing responsibilities.

In addition to the responsibilities of sales force management, they increasingly participate in long-term planning and forecasting, product line structure, pricing, promotional program planning, marketing channel management, and physical delivery.

Sales Force Management - The Objectives of SFM

The objectives of managing the sales force are achieved through strategy. The policy provides guidance. There are two dimensions to sales strategies - what kind of sales force is needed and how many salespeople are needed. The overall size of the salesforce affects the number of calls and the frequency with which they are made.

A company takes into account its competitive setting, as it affects all its sales-related policies; Which instead influences strategy formulation. Marketing planning is long-term and strategic. In most cases, the sales plan is short-term and strategic. A company may operate in a purely competitive environment that is rarely found in practice, but our understanding of other types of competition makes it even more worrying.

In practice, we may face exclusive competition which is the most common, or oligopolistic competition where there are several competitors. In most cases, quality personal sales goals respond to a competitive environment where an organization operates. Qualitative objectives affect sales work.

A company may have a purpose to rely 100% on personal sales. This requires a larger and more trained sales force. Another company relies heavily on advertising, and the seller expects to provide only support services and order booking services. It can do well with a normal sales force, not so big in size.

Quantitative sales targets affect both the nature of sales work and the size of the sales force. A larger sales volume target requires more efficient and larger sales force that intensively covers the region. Sales-related marketing policy provides a framework within which sales power works.

In many organizations, the sales force is the only group that is specifically charged, and compensated, to generate revenue from sales. The efforts of field sales people are an important inspirational element of the firm. Some sales force is huge. In India, two dozen life insurance companies hire more than 2 million agents to sell their products; GE, IBM, Pfizer each employ thousands of salespeople around the world.

In B2B marketing, field sales power has always been critical; Salespeople usually launch products / services directly to end users. Business customers increasingly want vendors to gain real expertise in their specific industry / activity.

They hope that vendors will help solve business problems, not just sell widgets. Instead, many B2B vendors have expanded product lines, adding solutions experts to help weave different products/services together into integrated offers.

In contrast, in B2C, mass communication / digital marketing is often the main means of communication to reach consumers; Sales power plays a helpful role. But as the retail industry is centralized, a few large retailers / distributors secure significant energy; Efforts to sell B2C fields are on the rise.

Some FMCG companies now spend more on managing direct sales relationships with wholesalers / retailers than advertising to consumers! Example: At P&G, more than 400 people work exclusively with Walmart.

Elements of Sales Force Management

  • Lead Generation: Sales agents create sales leads and then track potential users by collecting data and customer-related information such as phone numbers, tastes, and types of purchases.
  • Sales Forecasting: Forecasting future sales of the company based on previous sales for a specified period; Sales forecasting process. Sales are forecasted for the next tax year or fiscal year (or for a specified period in the near future). It enables the company to make important business decisions regarding production, distribution, and advertising budgets.
  • Order Management: The sales force efficiently handles and flows product orders. A well-executed order management system or OMS results in increased sales, improved customer retention, and improved customer relationships. Order management systems sound quite heavy for a general concept; Order management without product or product delivery or minimal delay.
  • Product Knowledge: The basic element of closing a contract or making a successful sale is to have complete knowledge of the product. Winning customer trust is crucial for sales reps. In order to persuade the buyer to spend money on the product, the sales team must have a thorough knowledge of the product and its benefits.
Salesforce management is also responsible for selecting, hiring, training, supervising, controlling, and managing the sales team or sales staff.

Functions of Sales of Force Management

Salesforce management plays an integral role in the success of marketing planning. Successful marketing strategies require skilled and well-trained sales representatives. Salesforce management performs the following functions.

1. Recruitment

Recruitment is an essential part of managing an effective sales force. For decades, companies have designed advanced selection programs and methods to identify behavioral, management, and personality skills and competencies. Some companies have conducted research methods or surveys to look at customer preferences and needs for sales team selection.

2. Training and supervision

The key to building a well-trained and effective sales force is the sales force training program. Trained manpower is required to complete the market and become a market leader. Skilled training during the product life cycle can create a strong sales force.

Overseeing the sales team will keep the morale of the sales staff high and lead the sales team in the right direction to manage the customers. The better the sales team, the better the results. Efficiently managed sales team performs work effectively and meets sales goals.

3. Motivation and Incentives

Data and market research suggest that a sent SalesForce is more goal-oriented, goal-achieving, and results-producing. To increase the morale of sales staff and motivation plays an integral role. Motivational elements for compensation, incentives, sales shares, quota workforce.

4. Salesforce Evaluation

Evaluating sales results, the number of products and profit reports is the key to successful sales force management.

Salesforce Management - Identification processes are involved with SFM

A sales force management system is an information system that helps automate certain sales and sales force management functions. They are often seen to be combined with a marketing information system. Sales Force Automation has a sales lead tracking system that lists potential customers on a paid phone list or a customer on a related product. Other components of sales force automation include sales forecasting, order management is product knowledge.

Some of the identifiable processes involved with sales force management are:

i. Setting targets and objectives based on inputs

ii. Hiring executives to achieve sales objectives

iii. Control processes are achieved within a given time frame and within a given market

iv. Manage systems to manage uncertain environments

It is not just about the control system involved in the sales force management process but also the various metrics involved.

Some of the metrics implemented in the sales force management process are:

i. Time management- measures the work and time required for each job

ii. Call Management - Planning for customer interaction

iii. Opportunity Management- Sales opportunities will be created if the sales force management process is implemented properly

iv. Account Management - In the case of multiple opportunities with a customer, the account is measured by equipment, process, and purpose.

v. Territory Management- Managing sales areas is the highest experience for managing sales statistics

Advantages of sales force management VS Disadvantages of sales force management

The following are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the sales force management system:

i. understand the economic structure of an industry

ii. Identify categories within a market

iii. Identify a target market

iv. Identify the best customers in place

v. Conduct marketing research to develop key customer profiles (demographic, psychological, and behavioral)

vi Understanding competitors and their products

vii. New product development

viii Establish environmental scanning mechanisms to identify opportunities and threats

ix. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of a company

x. Examine customer experience about the brand

xi. Creating marketing strategies for each product using marketing mix variables for the price, product, distribution, and promotion

xii. Coordinating the sales function with other parts of the promotional mix, such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and publicity

xiii. Creating a sustainable competitive advantage

xiv. Understanding where brands should be in the future, and providing an empirical basis to write marketing plans regularly to help get there

xv. Providing input into feedback systems to help monitor and adjust the process.

The disadvantages are:
i. Difficulty in adopting the system

ii. Spend too much time on data entry

iii. Losing personal touch in the automation process

iv. The laborious process of continuous maintenance, data update, data cleaning, and system upgrade

v. Costs associated with sales force automation systems and maintenance

vi. Difficulty integrating with other management information systems

Sales Force Management - The Role of Marketing in SFM

One out of every nine Americans works in sales. Thus, understanding the role of sales / sales management, coordinating sales efforts with marketing, is more important than ever. Marketing and sales should be in the same team, each performing its own important work. We don’t pretend it’s easy. Marketing and sales often have different perspectives. Marketing has a long-term, more strategic approach; Sales must pay short-term revenue.

Creative pulls are often beneficial for good performance, but poorly coordinated sales strategies can confuse internal competition among product managers. A multiproduct firm can have several product-market strategies, each with several market-segmentation strategies. The sales strategy needs to integrate these different market strategies with sales strategies that reflect the wide range of products / services sold in different market segments.

Well-managed companies implement processes to rigorously coordinate marketing, sales efforts. They encourage orderly communication / reporting, create joint assignments, rotate jobs, identify co-locations of marketing / sales staff, and improve sales force response. The sales force maintains the responsibility of deeply protecting customer insights, offering responsible solutions, and accessing resources to solve customer problems.

Marketing creates market plans with significant sales power inputs by coordinating with the overall market planning process. Senior Marketing / Sales Managers meet frequently to prioritize realistic / integrated marketing / sales objectives, collaborative attitudes. Some companies even hire a sales / marketing coordinator; Their job is to ensure the interaction of effective senior marketing / sales managers.

Major sales efforts:

The job of sales management is to make salespeople successful. All sales managers, juniors and seniors, should lead from the front, spending time in the field with vendors - coaching, inspecting, monitoring, teaching, sales.

Sales managers should empower salespeople to take the initiative, as it is your own business. The most efficient sales managers invent new ways to deliver customer value; Help enter attractive markets; Pioneering evolution of new sales models / sales organizations.

To ensure the best results, sales leaders consider human resource spending as an investment; They see sales as a training ground for general management. The most effective leaders lead the science of sales and the industry of customer relations. They make truth-based decisions across market-based / sales channels, such as sales resource-salespeople, strategic / key account managers, and telecall-assignments.

They use sophisticated information, intellectual capital:

i. use internal data sources to gain insight into customer/customer behavior.

ii. Strong products complement consulting services to provide solutions to customers.

iii. Creating expert skills in developing fashion/customer solutions.

iv. Working with experts to install/implement solutions for customers.

Sales leaders seem to understand that customer success drives firm success. They create a culture of risk-taking where failed tests are taken to deliver value to customers, as expected. They repeatedly punish mistakes but celebrate/reward learning from honest mistakes. They try, fail, hire people who are willing to learn, develop. Sales leaders discover/develop best practices by failing or following scale policy.

Perhaps the most important leadership function is encouraging salespeople to survive on a mission - on top of the financial rewards by providing rationality for sales work. Salespeople who build credibility by internalizing a larger purpose, trusting with customers; create a powerful differentiator to beat competitors.

Strategic / Key Account Management:

The 80:20 rule applies to revenue, profit distribution, and many companies implement strategic/key account (SKA) programs. These companies identify the most important current / potential customers, then provide additional resources, paying more attention than regular customers.

An SKA win/loss is an important organizational event. In most SKA programs, the Strategic Account Manager (SAM) is responsible for building/maintaining relationships with individual Strategic Accounts. Successful SKA programs adopt consistent models.

Critical decision:

i. Strategy: Commitment to the SKA program, overall asset allocation, number of strategic accounts, revenue / profit targets, type of firm / SKA relationship.

ii. Organization Structure: Concerned about SKA program placement, reporting structure, interface with other functions.

iii. Human Resources: Protection / training / retention of appropriate SAM staff.

iv. Systems and processes: How to help SAMs do their job - SKA planning system, measuring customer profitability, benchmarking, sharing best practices.

What are the challenges of managing a sales force?

Here are seven of the most typical obstacles you'll face as an inside sales manager, along with advice on how to overcome them:

1. Sales coaching.
2. Data-driven approaches and data analysis.
3. Time management.
4. Stepping back.
5. Maintaining consistency.
6. Motivating reps.
7. Aligning with marketing.

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