HZ Designing the Sales Force

The origiriEil and oldest form Of direct marketing is the field sales call, Today most industrial companies rely heavily on a professional sales farce to locate prospects, develop them into customers, and grow the business; or they hire manufacturers' representatives and agents to carry (jut the direct-selling task. In addition, many en nsutner companies use a direct-selling force: insurance agents, stockbrokers., add distributors work for direct-sales organizations such as Avon, Antway, Mary Kay, anttTuppciware,

U.S. firms spend aver a trillion doli;irsanuu;illy on sales forces and stiles force materials— more than they spend on any Other promotional method. Nearly 12 percent of (lie total workforce work full-time in sales occupations. Sales forces am found in nonprofit as well as for-profit organisations. Hospitals and museums, for example, use fund-raisers to contact donors and solicit donations.

No one debates the importance of the sales (farce in marketing programs. 1 lowever. coin-pErnies are sensitive to the high and rising costs (salaries, commissions, bonuses, travel expenses, and benefits] of maintaining a safes force. Because the average cost of a personal sales call ranges from$200 io $900,and closing a sale typically requires four calls, the total cust can range from SIMM m $1,200,30 Not surprisingly, companies are trying to increase the productivity of the sales force through better selection; training, supervision, motivation, and compensation,

The term stilt's representativecovers a broad range (if positions, Skeun hi? distinguished, ranging from ihe least to the most creative types of selling:™

1, Di'liwriT ~ j\ salesperson ivliOse major task is the delivery of a product (water, fuel, oil).

2, Onfertaker-A salesperson who acts predominantly as an inside order taker (the salesperson standing behind the counter) or outside order taker (the soap salesperson calling on the supermarket manager).

3, Missionary-A salesperson who is not expected or permitted to take an order but whose major task is to build goodwill or to educate the actual or potential user (the medical "(.let;iiler" representing an ethical pharmaceutical house).

4, Technician - A salesperson with a high level of technical knowledge (the engineering salesperson who is primarily a consultant to the client companies).

5, Dcmaiiti creator - A salesperson who relies on creative methods for stilling tangible products (vacuum cleaners, cleaning brushes, bouse hold products') or intangibles (insurance, advertising services, or education}.

0. $t)iiition vendor - A salesperson whose expertise is in ihe solving of a customer's problem, often with a system of the company's products and services (fur example, computer ¡md communication systems).

Sales personnel serve as the company's personal link to the customers. The sales represent Ettive is the company to many of its customers. It is the sales rep who brings back much' needed informal ion about the customer. Therefore, the company needs to carefully consider issues in sales force design—namely, the development of sales force objectives, strategy, structure, siy.e, and compensation. (See lrigure 19.3.)

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