The current trends of globalization and technological advances, particularly. The advances in information technology have changed the way business is done. The distinction between marketing and selling is slowly being reduced, in fact, the two activities are merging into one.
A salesman starts with the customer by identifying customer needs and then designs the product mix to suit the specific needs of a customer. Hence, the scope of sales management involves marketing tasks as well. For the purpose of simplicity, the function of sales management can be divided into administrative, operating, and staff functions.
Functions of Sales Management
These are the functions of sales management:
- Administrative Functions of Sales Management
- Operative Functions of Sales Management
- Functions of Staffing
Administrative Functions of Sales Management
Just as proper management and administration are a must for the success of any organization, sales managers have to perform certain administrative functions that facilitate the running of the department.
The administrative functions establish the frame wash for the smooth running of the department. The administrative functions of sales management are:
Policies are guiding principles set by the company to govern usually repetitive or routine actions. Sales policy provides a basic guide to thinking and action taken by the executives within the sales organization under a given set of circumstances. A comprehensive sales policy assures the success of any business.
The backbone of successful sales policies is customer satisfaction and customer goodwill, based on a reputation for reliability and fair trade practices. It is important to ensure that the sales policy supports other missions, policies, and objectives of the marketing department and the organization as a whole.
Planning is choosing from alternative courses of action is a prime managerial, function. It involves the selection of several alternatives, enterprise objectives, policies and procedures, programs, and schedules.
Sales planning is a part of marketing planning, covering sales forecasting, sales programs to achieve sales goals, and making a sales budget sales planning decides in advance, the future course of action regarding the marketing or selling of the product.
After formulation of the broad marketing objectives and plans, the course of action is drafted in measurable terms about how a goal of sales is to be achieved. Sales planning saves resources and achieves greater results in a given setup.
Sales organization involves the separation and grouping of sales activities and fitting in persons to carry out their activities. Relationships based on authority, responsibility, and accountability are established between them.
The sales organization is very important because people carry out all plans and activities and if an organization is rightly designed, a lot of-advantage is achieved in facing the competition. There can be no fixed organizational structure and it depends on many factors such as the corporate objectives, resources, business environment, etc.
Direction and Motivation
Supervision, which comprises both direction and motivation involves
- Observing, monitoring, and reporting the performance of the sales force.
- Counseling and watching sales force to remove defects and weaknesses in their performance.
- Giving them adequate information regarding company plans and policies and charges in these policies.
- Receiving feedback and solving their business & personal problem.
- Motivating the sales force through appropriate non-financial incentives in order to give their people a sense of achievement.
The sales manager has to be very innovative while supervising the sales force unlike other departments, sales personnel do no work in an office or a plant. They work in the field. So, adequate measures must be incorporated in reporting so that they actually work and achieve the desired objectives.
Coordination is one of the prime functions of the sales department because it has to depend heavily on others for its functioning salespeople have to collect orders and ensure delivery. They have to coordinate between the customers and the factory. At the factory, they have to ensure timely dispatch of the material.
Also, they have to coordinate with the production department to ensure adequate inventories of the finished goods. Also, they inform the production department about the needs and customers so that they can make a product that values the aspirations of the people.
The sales department has to coordinate with the accounts department to ensure timely receipt of the payment. With a large number of factors affecting the success of a sales manager, the task of coordination is very challenging and requires a lot of tactfulness.
Operative Functions of Sales Management
The operative functions are the functions performed by the sales department that concern its operation various operative functions are described herein:
Recruitment is motivating people to apply for the job. A sales manager has to depend on his team for getting sales. Since this job is highly dependent on the personal traits of the sales representative, it is very important to ensure that good, hard-working, and energetic people join the organization.
Recruitment is a long-term process involving the activity of building a good company image, liaison with the campus, consultants, placement agencies, etc. A judicious mix of in-house and outside talent ensures that good people are inclined to wish for the company.
Selection means choosing the best persons for employment in the company from among the reservoir of prospective candidates. This process can involve a series of tasks, group discussions, personal interviews, etc.
A nicely designed selection process ensures that the right people join the organization. Since the terms of the sale cannot be changed very frequently, the process of selection is very crucial for both long terms as well as short-term profitability of an organization.
After selecting the right people, it is important to integrate them with the company objectives. This may require some initial orientation program, on-the-job training, etc. Not only the fresher, it is important to train even the existing staff as well to periodically sharpen their skills.
Since the market position changes very frequently, it is very important that the sales team is trained to face the fluid even changing situations around them. Training may be through seminars group discussions, games, role plays, case studies, etc.
Territory Allocation and Routing
Since sates team works in the marketplace, the sales managers are faced with the difficult task of allocating the territories to the sales force. The territory has a lot of effect on the achievement of results. If the territory is too vast, the salespersons may not be able to cover the same.
If the territory is too far flung the sales persons may waste a lot of time in traveling. Similarly, the small territory would be wasteful.
If there is an imbalance in territory allocation, the morale of sales teams is adversely affected because of if effect on performance appraisal. The companies, depending upon their needs, resources, and the shape of their territory use various methods of territory allocation.
The sales team does not work in a closed area such as an office or a plant. So it is very important to devise ways and means to control them. Companies have to rely on daily cell reports. Sales performance and market feedback.
The right kind of control begins at the storage of planning control should not find faults, but it must mean identifying the reasons for not achieving the results. Positive control boosts morale and helps in achieving the pre-laid objectives.
A salesperson’s job does not end after taking the order. He has to ensure the delivery of goods to the customers. Often physical distribution is taken care of by the plant and the sales team has to coordinate with them.
However, in some cases, the sales team might have to deliver the goods themselves. As the competition increases, more and more companies are moving out to reach their customers and physical distribution is becoming more and more important.
Functions of Staffing
The staff functions mean the support functions that are performed to help the time functions that are directly working towards the achievement of company objectives. The important functions of staffing are explained herein:
- Marketing Research
- Sales Promotion
- Merchandising and Product Development
- Sales Analysis and Performance Appraisal
- Channel Management
The sales personnel are in direct touch with the customers. They are best aware of their needs and aspirations. Hence, they are the best source of information for conducting marketing research.
This support is given to the marketing department which in turn gives, feedback to the production people and ensures that the goods and services are as per the needs of the customers.
Advertising persuades customers to buy the products. The sales team acts as a booster to the effect of advertisement. They can also help in designing advertisements suiting the aspirations of the people.
The sales department is the only tool of implement sales promotion schemes. They ensure that the schemes are passed on to the customers and that the channels of distribution do not keep the promotional schemes to themselves. Effective implementation of sales promotion helps in achieving sales targets.
Merchandising and Product Development
The activity of merchandising and product development needs the vital support of the sales department. They provide the information and other necessary inputs required to carry out this activity.
Sales Analysis and Performance Appraisal
Correct analysis of sales helps in knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the company. If a company is able to perform well it must know its strengths and if it is not able to perform well in the marketplace. This helps or taking the necessary corrective action and hence achieving the objectives.
Although distribution is often described as the task of the logistics department it cannot function with the participation of the sales department.
The sales team helps in building congenial relations between the channel members that are very essential for the success of a company. Even the activity of warehousing, transportation, etc. can be made more effective and useful with the help of the sales department.
What are the functions of sales management?
The following are the functions of sales management:
1. Administrative Functions
2. Operative Functions
3. Functions of Staffing.