Exercise: “You notice the sales representatives in Pacific Northwest made 20% fewer sales to new clients over the past quarter than the sales people located elsewhere in the US. Use the MARS model, to provide possible explanation as to why the performance of the Pacific Northwest sales representatives was lower than elsewhere.” Solution:
The case here deals with sales representatives, To understand their individual behavior, To analyze the factors responsible for the dip in sales of Northwest Pacific USA region in comparison to the whole of the United States. To improve upon the same for organizational efficacy. Before we start the evaluation of the above said scenario, a brief outlook of the qualities of a Sales representative: Communication Skills Convincing skill Knowledge of the product Technical skills Ability to understand competitive environment, market research, information gathering Understanding the pulse of the customer Stress management Negotiation Skills
Section H

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Relationship building skill Time Management MARS MODEL

Role perception Motivation Individual behaviour and Performance Ability


There are many factors that come into play, but there are four important criteria as illustrated above, that directly has an impact on an individual; here, sales representative. We will explain these four factors; Motivation, Ability, Role perception and Situational Conditions and using it as a tool to identify where the organization and the individual has collectively strayed from their path of productivity. 1) Motivation According to the given situation, the Pacific Northwestern US region of the company has comparatively generated 20% fewer sales. Assuming that these sales representatives are less motivated than their counterparts, the sales manager needs to check the motivational levels of his employees. Based on his review if he finds out that his employees lack in motivation, and then accordingly he needs to bring about a change in his motivational strategies. Motivation can be categorized based on the incentives and based on the type of reinforcement. Motivation through Incentives Financial: (Bonus, Promotion, ESOP, Target based incentive)

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The problem here is that the sales representatives were not able to capture new clients. The sales manager needs to understand the reasons of why his sales representatives lack in drive. If it is related to the employees not being satisfied by money they earn, then financial incentives is the answer to the problem. The manager can give various target based incentives which will induce the employees to work hard towards their targets. Not only that there can be special monetary benefits to the best performing sale representative, this will encourage all the sales representatives to compete with each other and even over achieve their targets. Promotion is also another way of stimulating positive outcomes. Some companies offer ESOPs, which increases the accountability of the employee towards the company. This can be an additional motivation strategy that the sales manager of the company can use for recommendation.

Non-Financial: (Power motivation, Employee recognition program, Participation in decision making, Possibility of career growth, Job satisfaction) It is possible that financial incentives are just not the factors affecting the sales representatives’ performance. In such a case the sales manager needs to look into the non-financial incentives to boost up the results. This can be embarked upon through job enrichment, inviting them to participate in decision making, appreciating the employees’ efforts etc. These factors will help the sales representatives to understand their efforts and endeavors are being acclaimed by the superiors and the organization. Motivation through Reinforcement Positive: (Appreciation, understanding stress levels associated ) The sales manager can use positive reinforcement techniques like appreciation, recognition, to encourage the employees to continue their effective performance. Empathizing with the employees’ conditions also induces positive outcomes.

Negative: (Reprimand, Demotion) This can be the last tool that the sales manager can resort to if all the above methods fail to deliver any results. These tools are greatly related to the individual personalities.


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The final criterion for motivation is the level of satisfaction one attains on the fulfillment of needs. Some needs are organizational driven (like achievement of targets) and others are self driven (like ambition to excel). The sales manager needs to align both of these factors so that not only the organizational targets are achieved but even the sales representatives are satisfied. 2) Ability Ability refers to an individual’s capacity to perform the various task s in a job. It is current assessment of what one can do. Management of an organization should check whether the abilities of the sale representatives in Pacific Northwest are adequate enough to do the work given to him. An individual’s overall abilities are essentially made up of two sets of factors: intellectual and physical abilities. Intellectual abilities are those needed to perform mental activities. Number aptitude Verbal comprehension Perceptual speed Inductive reasoning Deductive reasoning Spatial visualization Memory As quoted in the qualities of the sales representatives, intellectual abilities are form an important aspect for them to execute their work effectively. The need to understand the new market, the pulse of the people and the competitive environment all fall under this category. The major population of Pacific Northwest region is immigrants from Mexico and Latin America, who are generally perceived to be unskilled. Since they are unskilled, they charge lower wages and salaries. If the majority of the employees fall under this ethnic background, they fail meet the above expectations.


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Pacific Northwest Region is predominantly an agricultural region because of which the sales representatives may not possess enough knowledge, exposure and skills to handle industrial oriented products. The physical aspects pertaining to ability are Strength Dynamic: repeated exertion of force Static: force against external objects Body coordination: Stamina This region is mountainous so it is difficult to tread and reach the target consumers and sales representatives will have to put in extra effort to generate sales or new clientele. This further stresses on the high requirement of stamina to commute and convince. Because of these physical demands of the job, the salesmen will be under lot of stress and to avoid the stress the company should invest in health programs that target the sales representatives. In order to accomplish a given job effectively there has to be correlation between ability and job profile. A mismatch between the two will lead to inefficiency. The sales manager needs to assign the job responsibilities keeping in mind the skill set, abilities of the sales representatives. If a sales representative with very little knowledge on industrial products is doled out a job to sell industrial products, they will not be up to the mark to convince consumers to become customers. Hence, it becomes imperative on the part of the sales manager and the company to impart training if they want the sales force to come up to their expectations and realize their true potential. 3) Role perception Role refers to the set of behavior patterns which an individual occupying a certain position in the society is expected to display. The perception involves understanding how one is supposed to


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behave in a particular role by observing the behavior of another individual in the same role. The role is both perceived and interpreted through external learning before being enacted. In the case perspective, due to major cultural differences that exists in the region, few of the ethnic sale representatives may be in conflict with the organizationally assigned roles that are governed by the White population. This reduces the effective workforce of the sales team, which might decrease the over- all objective of the company. There exists role conflict (in the said qualities of sales representative) within an individual due to the commotion created by the diversified traditions followed by the ethnic sale representative and the majority of the White population. 4) Situational Factors Situation will include all the internal organizational environment and external factors which will cover economical, social, budget, time, people and demographical aspect. Northwest Pacific region is a region which includes major states as Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. There are few noteworthy points related to this region: This region is made up of several mountain ranges. It is also the least populated region. This region is prone to earthquakes over 1000. The net population is Environment conscious. They have Agriculture as their occupation. The rail network is their commutation means. A large chunk of the population is Hispanics (Latinos) and other Ethnic races. This region also forms the gate for Japan and East Asian regions of the world. Economic degradation because of immigration by Mexicans who offer low cost unskilled labour. The geographical location of the region is such that the industry / companies incur more cost in production and delivery of the product which is carried forward to the consumer. The differences in the tax structure might also lead to price differentiations. This price margin might not be profitable to the consumers who refrain from creating a new market.

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Before we start analyzing the situational factors, one has to assume certain factors that might have lead to decline in capturing new market. These assumptions are due to the in-availability of the product and industry data and specifications. Because of less population density of the region, the new market might not be readily available for capture. Due to the difficulty in commuting through mountainous regions, the sale representative will be under stress because of the sluggishness in the delivery of the products, this lackadaisical attitude will be carried forward to the consumers too. The region being highly prone to various natural calamities, and considering that the product sold by the sales representative enter into luxury category, the natives will be more expenditure conscious and will invest cautiously in these luxury products. As large chunk of the population are oriented towards agriculture, the earnings are seasonal in nature which might have reflected in inability to capture the new clients. Assuming that the product is non-agricultural, it failed to attract as many new buyers in an Agrioriented population. The environment conscious population might not be overtly open to product which might be technologically superior, but leads to environmental degradation. As one is not motivated to fully understand the competitive structure prevailing in the region, the industry/company might have lost its new customers to the prolific Japanese and East Asian imports which has easy gateway into the region. The non-conducive working conditions and budget constraints will also act as hindrance towards productive output. There should be a clear strategy envisioned by the company to counteract these situational factors that are out of bounds to an individual’s realization. Thus, we have looked into various aspect of performance enhancement using the MARS model technique and identified few of the many problems and possible solution to the existing situation of the sales representatives in Northwest Pacific region, USA.


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