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Chapter 6:

Sales Force
Learning Objectives:
Explain the various ways to
organize sales force.
Explain what a strategic accounts
management program means.
State the reasons for the growth
in telemarketing.
Tell why and when sales agents
are utilized.
Describe evolving trends in sales
force organization.
Chapter Outline:

Sales Force Organization.

Strategic Account
Management Program.
Independent Sales Agents.
Emerging Sales Force
Sales Force Organization:

Sales Force Strategic

Sales Force Telemarketin Emerging
Specializatio Account
Generalists g Issues
n Management
Generalist versus
Specialist Structures
In general ,companies attempt to develop a sales force
organization that is adaptable, efficient, effective.

A sales force organization is adaptive if the company can react

quickly to product and market changes without a major
structural overhaul.

Efficiency reflects the rate at which key sales activities, such as

calls, demonstration, and proposals are performed.

Effectiveness represents the buyers favorable reaction to the

sales effort. (as example customer positive response to sales
calls due to its superior customer knowledge .

Four fundamental structures for organizing a sales force are:

1. Generalist
2. Product specialized
3. Customer specialized
4. Functional specialized
Generalist Structures
The most common and least complicated sales force organization
is a generalist structure, also referred as geographic organizations,
in which each salesperson sells the firms entire product line to all
accounts and prospects, usually within a specific geographic area.

The geographic area have small sales and minimal travel time.
Salespersons spend a high percentage of their time face to face
with customers.

This method tends to be the highly efficient sales structures and

works best when the product line consists of related products or
services that appeal to a rather homogeneous group of buyers.

In this method the salesperson have a big opportunity to go in

depth of the local culture, economic, and competitive conditions.

Disadvantages: salespersons focus on lines with which they are

comfortable, neglecting the lines that are newer, more difficult to
sell, but possibly more profitable.
Generalist Structures
When so many products to sell, it is difficult to have the
expertise needed to develop creative solution to
customers problems.

Salespersons may find themselves at a competitive

disadvantage if they are asked to sell to customers with
problems and needs that are diverse and complex.

Salespersons may spend too much time with customers

who are easy to sell, and are not profitable or have an
opportunity to grow.

The most complex problem are coordinating the sales

force effort across different geographic areas.

Many organization have decided that they need to

specialize beyond simple geography, on one of this three
things: (products, customers, activities)
General Structure
Organization: Analysis
Best for homogenous group of buyers.
In-depth knowledge of the local culture,
economic, and competitive conditions.

Less knowledge of the product.
Inability to create solutions for the
customers problems.
Focus on the easy to sell customers.
Sales Force Organization:
National Sales

Central Regional Eastern Regional Western Regional

Sales Manager Sales Manager Sales Manager

Northeast District Mid-Atlantic Southern District

Sales Manager District Sales Sales Manager

Connecticut New Pennsy- North South

Rhode Maine
Jersey lvania Carolina Carolina

District of
Vermont New York Delaware Georgia Alabama

New York Virginia Maryland Mississip Florida

Figure 6-3: Geographical Sales Organization

Product Specialist
A product based specialization is most
appropriate when a firm has a large,
diverse, and complex line of products.

Each sales person specializes by selling

only a few of the products in the
organizations total product portfolio and
reports to a management structure that
is also focused on the same limited
number of product lines.

Coordination occurs at the highest levels

in the organization .
Sales Force Organization:
Product Specialists
National Sales

Eastern Regional
Sales Manager

Northeast District Mid-Atlantic Southern District

Sales Manager District Sales Sales Manager

Printer Server Minicomput Programmab Copier Large

Equipment Salesperso er le Salesperso Computer
Salesperso n Salesperson Calculator n Salesperson
n Salesperson

Figure 6-4: Product Specialized Sales Force

Product Specialist
Organization: Analysis
Allows focusing of sales effort
Expertise developed in limited
number of products

More expensive to operate
May result in duplication of sales calls to
Customer Specialist
Referred also as vertical
marketing, in which each
salesperson or sales team sells
the entire product line to select
types of buyers.

This type is used by companies

as companies try to become
more market focused.
Sales Force Organization:
Customer Specialists
National Sales

National Accounts Eastern Regional Manager of

Manager Sales Manager Export Sales

Northeast District Mid-Atlantic Southern District

Sales Manager District Sales Sales Manager

Salesperson Salesperson Salesperson Salesperson

For for Retail for for Bank
Educational Customers Government Customers
Institutions Agencies
Salesperson Salesperson
for for Wholesale
Manufacturers Customers

Figure 6-5: Customer Specialized Sales Force

Customer Specialist
Organization: Analysis
Consistent with market driven strategy
Salespeople become customer experts
Customer segments receive appropriate

May conflict with marketing organization
Product expertise may be lacking
More expensive
Functional Specialization

Focuses on the activities or

functions performed by customer
contact people.

Product and market heterogeneity

and complexity may require a
diverse set of skills and knowledge
(used for large global organization).
Sales Force Organization:
Functional Specialists

Marketing Manager

Industry Systems Administrative

Sales Manager Manager Manager

Account System Reps Administrative
Executives (Technical Support)
(Training & Installation)

Figure 6-6: Functional Specialization

Functional Specialists: Analysis

More functional focused.
Ability to provide problem solutions.

May conflict with marketing
More expensive
Functional Specialists:
Alternatives Companies
New Customers American Express
Retention Browning-Ferris Industries

End-Users Lexmark International

Sales Engineers 3M
Service IBM
Consultants McKesson Corporation
Sales Force
There is no one best way to
organize the sales force, and
companies are experimenting with
many different forms in order to
compete profitably.

A company should start by

examining its customers and
looking at its organization from the
customers perspective .
Strategic account
management program
Regardless of whether the sales force consists of
specialists or generalists, one of the most significant
changes now occurring in marketing is that many
organizations are finding it necessary to develop
strategic account management program in addition to
their regular sales force.

Strategic account management program is more than a

selling strategy. It is a marketing philosophy directed at
a select group of customers that account for a
disproportionately large share of the sellers total

To success in managing new strategic accounts you

should address two issues:

1. Account selection
2. Organizational structure
Strategic account
management program
1. Strategic account selection:
Which customers should be treated as a strategic
account, many companies choose too many
accounts to participate in the program, resulting
in an over work for sales force , and under
serviced customers.

There is a tendency to focus on customer size,

because a few portion of the largest customers are
representing a big portion of company sales, and
losing on of those customers is a disaster.

On the other hand, size is not a good indicator that

a customer wants this special type of relationship.
Strategic Accounts:
What is Different about Strategic
Previous New Strategic
Approach Account
Business 3 6 2 3 years
Plan months
Structure of Tactical Strategic business
Business promotional plan focused on
Plan program growth and
Personnel Sales reps and Senior
Involvement purchasing management from
agents both companies

Figure 6-7 : Changes in Joint Account Planning

Strategic Accounts:
Who are Strategic Accounts?
When a customer purchases a
significant volume and exhibits one or
a combination of the following:
Multiple people are involved in the buying
Purchasing is centralized
The customer desires a long-term,
cooperative working relationship
The customer expects specialized attention
and service
Strategic Accounts:
Common Problems with Account
Too many strategic accounts
We see them as strategic, but they dont
even see us on their radar.
Too much organizational effort directed
towards big name accounts
Not thinking enough about return on
relationship investment
No common process across the organization
No tracking and reviewing of strategic account
Strategic Accounts:
Alternative Organization Models
Existing Sales Force
Low risk; little change
Management Sell National Accounts
Keeps management close to customer
Separate Sales Force
More aggressive; more expensive; alternative
to sales management for promotion for sales
Sales Teams
Use when selling process is complex
Strategic Accounts:
Alternative Organization Model

Existing Sales Least effective

Force Lowest market performance

Sales Management Somewhat more effective

Slightly better market
Separate Sales Fairly effective
Force Good Market Performance

Cross-Functional Most effective

Sales Teams Best Market Performance

Table 6-1: Doing the Math on Account Management

Strategic Accounts Programs:
Increased sale to
national accounts

Increased profits
from national 83%

Increased 74%
market share

Improved customer

Improved customer
Strategic Accounts Programs:
Insights from Strategic Account
Until the customer tell us were a strategic
supplier, I cant believe that they are
in fact a strategic account for us.

Strategic accounts bring the opportunities

to you, instead of you always having to try to
push the ideas on them.

If our products and services arent critical

to our customers performance and results,
it is silly to call them strategic accounts.
Strategic Accounts Programs:
Insights from Strategic Account

Before a real strategic account would

[make a particular decision],
they would ask us for inputs, knowing our
interests and theirs were aligned.

The best strategic accounts are willing to

open the door, allow us to help them.
There is an ongoing invitation to bring
expertise into their firm.
Strategic Account Programs:
Survey Results
Are training programs for the strategic
account manager different?

Different No difference in
training training for
for strategic account
strategic managers or other
account 26% sales staff
managers 37%

37% Provide no
training for
strategic account
Strategic Account Programs:
Survey Results
Do your strategic account managers carry
an assigned sales quota?

Yes Response
68% 29%
Strategic Account Programs:
Survey Results
Do strategic account managers have formal
authority over the rest of the sales
No Response
May assemble
7% temporary
virtual sales
24% teams that report
Sales team directly to the
reports 22% strategic account
directly to manager
47% No formal
manager authority over
others in the
Strategic Account Programs:
Survey Results
How do you measure the success
of a strategic account program?
Sales Volume 80%
Customer Satisfaction 53%
Profitability 45%
Volume of Recurring Revenue Stream 29%
Incremental Orders from Existing 22%
Number of Customer with Strategic 11%
Account Agreements
Number of Transactions/Orders 6%
Number of Products Shipped 6%