This article throws light upon the five main areas for managerial decision regarding sales force. The areas are: 1. Selection 2. Training 3. Compensation 4. Motivation 5. Supervision and Control.
Area # 1. Selection:
Proper selection will ensure right person for the right job. It will also facilitate training and supervision. It will reduce selling cost as we shall have stable sales force. Above all we can have higher efficiency in selling. The first step is to prepare job description and job specification.
The usual procedure of scientific selection may be as follows:
(a) Securing applications with latest photograph and references, certificates, etc.
(b) Screening of application, references, etc.
(c) Preliminary interview,
(d) Psychological tests interest and intelligence tests,
(e) Final interview and physical examination.
Interview is the heart of the selection technique. It can give correct mental picture about the fitness or otherwise of the candidate.
Area # 2. Training:
Properly selected persons must undergo adequate training before they are put on the job. Training is necessary to secure efficiency. It also facilitates managerial control. A sales force should know the product to be sold, the company’s policies and objectives, and the knowledge of selling technique thoroughly.
Training is a continuous process as we have new problems, new products, and new competition. Many a time, you need 2-4 years training to become a professional salesman well- equipped to compete in the market with assured success.
Area # 3. Compensation:
Remuneration to the salesperson may be:
(a) Straight salary or
(b) Straight Commission.
The combination is desirable as it gives security of income as well as necessary incentive for higher efficiency. For travelling salesmen we have also the allocation of sales territory and sales quotas to be fulfilled. Travelling salesmen are also compensated for their out-of-pocket expenses like travelling and boarding.
Bonuses and profit-sharing are additional incentives offered to the sales force for extraordinary performance. Adequate and fair compensation plans will ensure employee morale and proper motivation.
Area # 4. Motivation:
Will to work, enthusiasm, interest, loyalty and such other qualities of mind arid heart cannot be bought. We have to earn these things. They are not priced goods. But these can be developed through leadership and motivation.
In addition to financial incentives we need non-financial incentives or motivators to satisfy egoistic and higher level mental wants of salespersons. Meaningful, inter sting and challenging job itself can be the best motivator in personal selling. Proper motivation raises sales productivity and morale of the sales force.
Area # 5. Supervision and Control:
Effective supervision and control are essential to a well-run sales organisation.
Supervision, direction and can involve:
(a) Observing, evaluating and reporting on the performance of the sales force,
(b) Coaching them to remove defects in their performance,
(c) Removing confusion in their duties and responsibilities,
(d) Giving them full information regarding changes in company plans and policies,
(e) Solving their business and personal problems,
(f) Motivating, the sales force through non-financial incentives such as praise, appreciation, recognition, etc. Performance appraisal or evaluation should be done periodically and promotion or pay raise should be offered to the deserving salesmen. Such evaluations also enable salesmen to secure self-advancement.
Essentials of Effective Selling:
a. Knowledge of his company.
b. Knowledge of the products to be sold.
c. Knowledge of the customers their buying motives, preferences, etc.
d. Knowledge of the market, particularly about competitors and their products.
e. Knowledge of sales technique.
Besides these, a salesman must develop the following personal traits or qualities to become a successful salesman.
b. Courage and self-confidence,
c. Tact and courtesy,
d. Good power of expression,
e. Empathy—the ability to identify with the customer and his feelings.
f. Social temperament — a good mixer in any group.
g. Honesty and loyalty,
h. Patience and perseverance,
i. Ability to size up customers and adjust sales talk accordingly.
k. Determination and
a. A good physical health and appearance constitute valuable asset to a salesman.
b. Please note that a salesman must develop positive dynamic and cheerful attitude. Cheerful smile on his face will enable him to win his customers easily.