Management and Development of a Sales Force

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To study the effects of managerial developments strategies used for Star-Sales-Persons on their performance as Sales-Supervisor


1.1 Overview

Several modifications have impinged on the thought and practice and running of sales practice in the existing time span (Roman, Ruiz & Munuera, 2001). In today's competitive marketplace, personal marketing is the key towards success for a lot firms (Roman et al. 2001).One of the main marketing expenses in the business-to-business marketplace is the field sales compel, and approximations of expenditure recommend that nationally bodily selling may account assertion for as many corporate resources as higher profile media advertising. Indeed, for many organizations in industrial markets, lead selling expenditures far surpass expenditure on media advertising or other types of sales promotion (Piercy, Cravens & Morgan's, 1997).

A lot of research work has been carried out for impacts of training and developments of management persons, technical labor, and the operational sales force, but unfortunately we can found no proper consideration of the researchers and the marketers toward the Managerial developments of the excellent sellers who are in considerations of management to be promoted soon. However a focus towards the managerial developments of the up-coming sales supervisors may contribute positively toward the performance of the sales supervisors and the performance and the profitability of the company as well. Training is a vital component for both initial developments of sales representatives (Roman et al. 2001).

More training investment leads to higher performance (Roman et al. 2001). The proposed study will provide an understanding of importance of managerial training (developments) of excellent sales achievers and its contribution to their performance when they work as sales-supervisors. The study will also differentiate the performance levels of trained and non-trained sales supervisors. The results of this study will support the vitality of managerial developments sales persons before promotion to a higher designation (sale-supervisor).

Managerial development of effective sales performers had found to be of vital importance, but it wasn't found under the interest of researches. Majority of sales organizations were founded to promote higher sales performers towards upper hierarchy of the sales force. Some of them were observed to have a focus on providing training on managerial aspects before promotion. Some were founded to have believed that excellent performers always learn themselves.

Previous research work had focused mainly on the training in functional areas for sales, such as product knowledge, presentation styles, time management, area management, customer interaction, detailing styles, feedback, follow-up, and customer evaluation. The present study had a focus to provide a theoretical and practical concept for highlighting the vitality of providing training in areas of managerial aspects like controlling, leading, team building, counseling, planning, motivating skills to the higher sales performers (Star-Sales-Persons), who would get a step ahead in sales hierarchy in up-coming period. Thus it had compared the performance of managers who got managerial training with manager who didn't got managerial training.

1.2 Problem Statement

Training the sales force would involve the areas like product knowledge, detailing styles, customer orientation, and customer evaluation, and so on in case of functional concerns. However, in long-term career maintaining strategies for effective individuals managerial development strategies are important. Managerial development strategies include all those activities that are performed to strengthen the career and abilities of organization members. Managerial development would also include career growth activities designed by the organization for its efficient and effective performers. The present study had a focus to know the impacts of providing managerial training to the sales force in areas of several management functions. The formulated problem statement was as under:

"To study the effects of managerial developments strategies used for Star-Sales-Persons on their performance as Sales-Supervisor."

1.3 Hypotheses

Seven dimensions of managerial training were selected to evaluate the impact of managerial development strategies provided to the sales persons before getting promoted, and then these skill sets were evaluated by the feedback of their subordinates. The following hypotheses were used to know the relationship between few managerial training aspects and subsequent performance of sales supervisors after getting promoted.

H.1: There is a relationship between planning skills training given to Sales Supervisors and their performance as a Sales Supervisor.

H.2: There is a relationship between controlling skills training given to Sales Supervisors and their performance as a Sales Supervisor.

H.3: There is a relationship between leading skills training given to Sales Supervisors and their performance as a Sales Supervisor.

H.4: There is a relationship between motivating skills training given to Sales Supervisors and their performance as a Sales Supervisor.

H.5: There is a relationship between counseling skills training given to Sales Supervisors and their performance as a Sales Supervisor.

H.6: There is a relationship between training skills training given to Sales Supervisors and their performance as a Sales Supervisor.

H.7: There is a relationship between teambuilding skills training given to Sales Supervisors and their performance as a Sales Supervisor.

1.4 Outline of the study

Previous research work had focused on the ways and types of trainings, vitality of training the employees and sales force, and non-managerial functional trainings. Not much concentration was put to develop the sales management function by providing specific managerial skills to the present sales representatives and up-coming Sales-Supervisors. The present study had a focus to provide a theoretical and conceptual understanding regarding the importance of developing such strategies which can help the Star-Sales-Persons (Sales-Supervisors) to improve their performance in the course of their responsibilities.

The current study had an objective to know the impact and relationship of providing managerial skills training to the Sales representatives before being promoted upward as a Sales-Supervisor. The study had also determined the impacts and correlation of several skills set training in areas of management and the resulted performance. The present study had compared the performances of managers who got managerial-training before moving in upward hierarchy of sales management with those managers who did not have any managerial development via such sort of training. This paper had covered vitality of training the Sales-Supervisors on managerial issues and managerial skills such as planning skills, controlling skills, motivating skills, team leading skills, team building skills, counseling skills, and training skills, and also evaluated the performance in both instances that are organizational focus on providing managerial training to the Sales-Supervisors and not doing so.

1.5 Definitions

Managerial development

Usually, this term refers towards the deeds embroiled within boosting leaders', managers' and supervisor's proficiencies towards blueprint, supervise, command and dominate the organization and its members. Consequently, a lot look the term "management development" towards incorporate executive industry (developing executives), leadership industry (developing leaders), managerial industry (developing managers) and supervisoral industry (developing supervisors).

As mentioned above, there are civilians whom contend a powerful difference between "leading" and "managing". These civilians often refer towards leadership industry (developing ability within leadership) as apart from management (and managerial) industry (developing ability within intending, sorting and controlling).


The term Star-Sales-Person, refers to a high performing sales representative, who is in consideration of management to be moved in upper hierarchy of the sales force.


One of the main marketing expenditures in the business-to-business marketing is the field sales coerce, and guesses of expense advise that nationally physical selling may bill for as a lot corporate resources as higher profile media advertising. Indeed, for lot organizations in industrial markets, guide selling expenses far outperform expenditure on media advertising or other models of sales promotion (Piercy et al. 1997).

The rationale for organizational distort and management decisions towards leverage sales effectiveness depends onto an underlying theory of what motors sales effectiveness. It is here that the old-fashioned literature of sales management is limited. Much beyond innovation within the sales management field addresses sales operation and effectiveness events primarily via contemplating the determinants of the specified salesperson's performance. Somewhat unsatisfactorily these learn possess typically resulted within low grades of definition of operation differences. For this reason, newly increased consideration has aimed onto the importance of sales management dominate systems and sales region design alternatives as determinants of the operation of salespeople and the resulting effectiveness of sales organizations. The investigation of these matters is shown by an increasing body of study focusing on sales supervisor practices and sales organizational matters as they influence on salesperson performance (Piercy et al. 1997).

Factors believed to have a direct impact on sales force performances are: the activities of sales managers, and particularly the emphasis on salesperson behavior-based controls versus outcome-based controls (such as traditional incentive compensation-based control); the characteristics of sales people that relate to their capabilities, motivation and thus performance; and, the appropriateness and soundness of the sales organizational design (Piercy et al. 1997).

Nowadays, personal selling is base for getting success for several firms. Improving sales performance is the most crucial responsibility of sales managers. Numerous variations have affected the personal selling function in recent years. Customer have more information, demands increased level of customer service and have high expectations. In addition, rivalry is intense as a result of market globalization, and technology is continuously becoming more advanced. Such changes require new and improved skills from sales people, which are gained through training. Producing the best product or service is not enough, it has to be sold. If companies want to survive they must pay attention on training their sales force (Roman et al. 2001).

Sales planning are a critical task for sales people. Sales peoples have to face different challenges and an important activity is to gather a wide range of information to reduce uncertainty. Sales people have to plan sales calls, select strategies and coverage of their assigned territories to better achievements of sales objectives, and contribute to the effectiveness of the organization. A positive association lies between sales planning and numerous outcomes measures (Balduaf, Cravens & David, 1999).

Controls were being divided in two categories i.e. output and process control. Output control refers to the context to which a supervisor emphasizes on results when monitoring, evaluating, and rewarding sales people. On contrary, process control reflects the extent to which supervisor emphasis procedures and behavioral activities in monitoring, evaluating and rewarding sales people. Trust is influenced by control mechanism. The nature of influence appears to depend on the inferences that sales persons develop about the motives and intentions of the supervisors from sales controls used by the supervisors. Output controls portrays a "Hands Off" approach to managing sales people, in that they are given a great deal of autonomy and independence to perform their duties and are compensated and rewarded for they achieved. Output controls enhance risk to the sales persons because output may have effect of the environment or the company effects. Three supervisors behavior are related to the controls i.e. supervisee trust, accessibility, and achievement orientation. Supervisor's interaction with the subordinates is critical for achievements of desired results (Gima & Li, 2002).

Leadership attributes that effects salesperson attitudes may be mostly perceptual. This may be done by improving standards, a supervisor may be perceived challenging by sales peoples who think these standards can be achieved with hard work. But some sales persons consider these improved standards as a threat and less supportive as they experience difficulties in their areas to perform their duties. Leadership behavior contributes a vital role in improving sales person work motivation. The major categories of supervisory attitudes that have been recognized as influencing work motivation and productivity include leader trust and support, goal emphasis, groups' interaction physiological influence, and hierarchical influence. Leadership behavior can motivate subordinates. Jobs redesign and leadership behavior can be used to motivate sales peoples to enhance their performance, they affect types of sales person's motivation to varied extents. However, key job dimensions are more instrumental in effecting intrinsic motivation, leadership behaviors tends to be more effective in improving extrinsic motivation. Sale person work motivation and performance can be more strongly influenced by redesigning work a along key job dimensions then by emphasizing leadership behavior. The immediate supervisor has a vital role in creating, monitoring, and maintaining the expectancies and extrinsic rewards structures that will positively effects work motivation. The supervisor should play the key role in defining goals, providing the right extrinsic rewards (job security, recognisation form the company of different sales persons), and crealrifying the relationship of performance to rewards extrinsic to them. Thus, sales supervisor should be made aware of the nature of motivation as well as the tool control over organizational rewards, skill in administrating those rewards to improve sales person's extrinsic motivation (Tygi, 1985).

Supervisors whoever concentrate on actions and end results emerge to sweeten sales-people's performance orientation. Activity orientation emerges to inculcate a performance orientation in both inexperienced and worldly salespeople, which advises that as shortly as supervisors reward attention to what salespeople do on a daily basis it sensitizes and inspires them to "look good" on their performance metrics. Likewise, an end-results orientation impacts salespeople via emphasizing them on per-forming well and achieving their targeted horizontal of end results. Supervisory capacity orientation, against our expectations, is unrelated to the performance orientation of salespeople. Perhaps the emphasis on proficiencies and faculties detracts from the salesperson's concentrate on gauging upward well on pivotal performance criteria (Kohli, Shervani & Challagalla, 1998).

Subordinates interpret leadership styles as signals about the tactics that it would take to gain leaders' support and help with requests. Thus, leaders' working styles with others may design self-fulfilling prophecies such that inspirational leaders are many necessarily towards obtain positive interactions, which earn them even many necessarily towards exhibit inspirational leadership behaviors within the future (Cable & Judge 2003).

Psychological dimensions of salesperson job satisfaction and organizational commitment are significantly related to the level of customer orientation exhibited by the salesperson. Salesperson's exposure to the top level of ongoing sales training, the salesperson's skill level, and the interaction between salesperson "motivation and sales skills" are also significantly related to customer-orientation levels. Investment in training may lead to better sales performance and customer oriented selling (Pettijohn, Pettijohn & Taylor 2002).

Sales managers normally focus on short-term presentation goals and boosting their salespeople to work hard; very seldom manage they try to inspire or educate their salespeople abilities that advantage long-run performance. We inquiry the wisdom of deemphasizing discovering, even from a short-term presentation viewpoint, by (1) recognizing that discovering and presentation goals are two motivational orientations of salespeople, (2) identifying and checking how this aim orientations leverage employed intelligent and hard, and (3) identifying and checking how these aim orientations are leveraged by supervisory feedback (Sujan, Weitz & Kumar, 1994).

The perception of sales people about the role modeling behavior of their sales managers is directly and positively related to their trust in sales managers, and indirectly related to both the job satisfaction as well as overall sales performance. Sales managers should lead by example and provide a model of behavior manager desire their sales people to conduct. Sales managers who are trusted by their sales peoples can achieve enhanced performance. Sales persons have a more frequent interaction with their immediate so the sales manager needs to be better at coaching their subordinates. Sales managers who are good coaches, models personal attitudes and behaviors, maintain good rapport with their sales teams, foster open communication, collaboration, creativity, initiatives and appropriate risk taking were found to be successful (Rich, 1997).

New employees face a diverse range of problems, life activities and career transition in early organizational adulthood. A supervisor can play a vital role in facilitating employee development in this time but may be un-willing or not prepared for doing this. And at some times supervisor provides assistance that is unwanted or not appropriate to the developmental needs of employees. The ethical responsibility of a supervisor is to facilitate employee development and provide appropriate guideline in managing career transitions. Supervisor must welcome employees when they need help (Drake, Mackler & Stephens, 2002).

Sales management ought to constantly grow passages towards sweeten interpersonal correlations with their sales personnel. Sound interpersonal relations are reliable with the humanistic and participatory profession environment sought via contemporary management. Ultimately, sales management wishes towards accomplish increased sales drag productivity across these sweetened relationships. Salespersons' perceptions of the power correlation with their sales executives were consumed towards quantity the power bases used via the managers. The sales manager's bases of cultural power are related towards the sales representatives' satisfaction with their managers. The most consistently positive and the strongest correlations were located between the sales manager's adviser and referent power bases and the sales representative's satisfaction with supervision (Busch, 1980).

Learning and operation goal orientations, two motivational orientations that maneuver salespeople's behavior, are related towards working smart and hard. Working smart is defined as the battles within deeds that serve towards grow information of sales situations and utilize this information within marketing behavior. It is located that a knowledge goal orientation motivates working both smart and steely, whereas a operation goal orientation motivates alone working hard. The goal orientations also are located towards be alterable across supervisory feedback. Furthermore, self-efficacy, sales-people's confidence within their overall marketing proficiencies, is located towards soften a number of the correlations with the goal orientations (Sujan et al. 1994).

When agents' sales supervisors are tall onto establishing flesh, agents possess less role ambiguity and much role satisfaction. This implies that supervisors should seek towards define the agents' profession functions, specify what is expected of them, and organize them within their performance. Such affairs should dampen official role ambiguity and contribute role satisfaction. When sales supervisors are tall onto perspective, agents tend towards possess less role fight and upper role satisfaction. Consequently, agents' supervisors should seek towards be sympathetic, friendly, consultative, and advocating toward the agents. Through such processes, official role fight may deteriorate and role satisfaction increase. Role fight obviously elevates agents' role ambiguity, diminishes their role satisfaction, and contributes their performance. Attempting towards dampen role fight should be executed with warn whether, within fact, this leads towards a declension within official performance. Because of role conflicts' deleterious influences onto both role ambiguity (which also influences agents' role satisfaction, organizational commitment, and performance) and role satisfaction (which affects agents' organizational commitment), however, sales supervisors may seek towards aid agents within the conclusion of their role conflicts. Specifically, supervisors should assistance agents characterize their key role partners (e.g., consumers, underwriting staff, allegations analysts) and the expectations and pressures the partners possess of them. Also, supervisors should grow processes via which contradictory pressures of role partners powers be decided and communicate these processes towards the agents. In contribution, tackles (perhaps across training) should be made towards assistance agents cope with the fight they experience (Dubinsky, Childer & Skinner, 1988).