The Heavy Industry In Greece Commerce Essay

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One remarkable fact is that only one third of the companies mention that they look for, as a necessary qualification of the industrial salesperson, honesty and dignity. In a sector where the amount of money spent is high and the transactions concern private and public sector companies, the buyers are experienced and street smart, these characteristics should have been at a higher hierarchical level. There is also a more practical factor which is the high credibility rate that these characteristics have concerning the future salespeople performance. Their credibility rate (0.48), overcomes all the traditional tools (CVs, years of experience, years of education etc., whereas in combination to the IQ tests their credibility reaches 0.65). If the high use rate of recommendations and recommendation letters that the industries have, is combined then it seems that the credibility and honesty is a very important factor for the selection but from the present research is derived that the way they get information concerning the above is wrong. And therefore the recommendation letters have a correlation degree with a 0,26 performance, but through credibility it reaches 0.48. The reason is that it probably belongs to the general lack of using tests as an instrument, a fact that is noticed to all businesses but also especially in the industry whereas only 20% mentioned that they use the test in general.

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The selection of industrial salespeople in Greece is done through the traditional selection ways mainly through the procedure of personal interviews and on the other hand through the assessment of candidates CVs either through the application form or through the confirmation of recommendations from previous employers. The practice of the heavy industry at this point coincides with the general practice of the Greek businesses as it derives from the research of Metron Analysis. It was seen that the credibility of the interview as a selection tool is small (0,14), in relation to other tools. On the contrary the assessment through CVs is second in preference and is more reliable than interview (0,37 for biographical data and 0,26 for the recommendation letters). It is not sufficient and at this point the use of modern and specialized instruments with high credibility rate like the assessment test of skills and personality (0,53), which are used by only 20%. One more modern but with high credibility rate (Cron et al., 2005, p. 133) instrument which is less used in Greece are the Assessment Centers. The same applies to the Greek businesses where Metron Analysis records the use of personality questionnaires, skills tests and assessment centres to vary with small percentages ranging from 15%-30%. The cost parameter is obviously the reason why these instruments are not extensively used despite their large credibility rate in relation to the traditional tools.

The interview is done mainly by the direct supervisors (who are sales executives) and the Sales Directors together with the executives of HR department and HR Directors. The type of interview is at its large part semi structured i.e. it is based on a specific range of interviews to the candidate but here there is also the danger that some questions may be missed during the interview therefore the assessment data among the candidates cannot be comparable. Since the ones that interview industrial salespeople in the heavy industry companies in Greece are mainly experienced middle and top management executives (Sales Directors or HR Directors as well as direct supervisors - managers) they choose the semi structured and unstructured interview whereas only 13,4% chooses the structured - formal interview. It is possible though the non use of the structured interview to signify a lack of a human judgement model (e.g. linear or non linear) which requires clear, determined and defined criteria from which the final rating and assessment of the candidate will derive. A further qualitative research would have been useful for extracting secure results.

The number of required interviews is three but a large percentage (33,3%) proceeds to the final selection after two interviews. If it is assumed that the first interview is a screening interview then 33,3% of the industries is based on only one interview before the final selection. This small number is related to the essential lack of assessment instruments since the executives are based mostly on the interview and the biographical data that are assessed during the interview. Since the various tests are missing and the final selection is done by 76,7% from two or more executives, the number of interviews by which the procedure is fulfilled, is small. The responsibility for the final selection is done by a group of people and not exclusively by one person and this is positive since the opinion of more executives gives more credibility to the final selection especially from the moment that other credible instruments are not used extensively (e.g. skills and personality tests). However, the largest part of the responsibility for the selection should be born by the Sales Director or any direst supervisor whose team the industrial salesperson will be part of.

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In relation to the data that were derived from the present research for the Greek heavy industry companies in relation to the training of industrial salespeople, the following results can be derived. As it was expected the total sample declares that it does not have a specific policy regarding the training of industrial salespeople. As it is expected since the sample is consisted of the biggest in turnover heavy industry companies in Greece having on average 567,4 employees. The same percentage in a sample that was consisted of companies from various sectors and it was presented in 1988, shows that 40% of the businesses does not have a specific training programme [1] . This is confirmed by the tendency that exists in the relevant international bibliography and researches where the heavy industry seems to consider as more important training and the amount of time and money that are given to it. Another research by Avlonitis et al. (1992) showed that one out of four industries in Greece does not train newly hired employees. The difference between Avlonitis research and the present one is probably due to the fact that the sample of the present research was consisted of heavy industry companies that were the 150 largest ones in Greece therefore they are more organized than the middle or small ones. On the contrary to what was expected, in relation to the stereotypes that dominate salespeople training, it is seen how powerful a business is (which reflects to the large number of employees that it employs and to the large level of annual sales that it succeeds) but it does not secure in advance the efficiency of the training. It is not the amount of money spent the criterion that will secure the success of the programs but the content of the programs and where the money is spent.

Another element of the same research for the stereotypes showed the assumption that when more time is given to product knowledge in relation to the rest of bibliography, it is not connected necessarily with the effectiveness of training. From the present research it is noticed that the companies of the heavy industry in Greece follow the same stereotype concerning their training programs. Obviously, product knowledge should have a special position in the training program of an industry due to the special characteristics of the sector but not in the detriment of the rest training subjects and salespeople development. If the product knowledge is the only parameter for successful sales in the industry, the companies would with less effort and money take salespeople straight from universities that have educational subjects relevant to the company's product. However, it was seen that there is a plethora of other personality characteristics, skills, abilities or attitudes that form the personality of the salesperson. The certified need of executives (Honeycutt et al., 1993) concerning the time that should be given to sales techniques applies in the case of heavy industry in Greece since the sales techniques are done only by the 33,3% of the companies of the sample. Very little training is given to the "big" picture that concerns market knowledge, marketing and general commercial issues. The dominating training method is the on the job training that has more to do with the adaptation of the salesperson in a practical way to the conditions and policies of the company rather than on knowledge and skills acquirement. The same picture is presented by the research of Avlonitis et al. (1992) for the sales departments in Greece, where 60% of the businesses use on the job training , in comparison to 66,7% of the present research.

The presence of other educational issues is non existent like e.g. the use of PCs and CRM programs and particularly on issues that correspond to the needs of the new role of salespeople, like salespeople time management,basic principles of management and marketing, sales forecasting techniques, body language, effective networking, customer relationship management etc. These subjects will enable salespeople to develop more sales and management skills that will improve their efficiency and effectiveness in a job that requires adaptability and flexibility as it is the profile of modern industrial selling.

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Product training, product sales techniques and to a less extent 60-65% customer service techniques like complain management is the practice that the findings of Metron Analysis show for the Greek businesses of every sector whereas sales directors wish to have more training in issues such as needs searching and CRM systems [2] .

This followed technique that was presented from our research as well as the one of Metron Analysis, is confirmed by the prioritization of the training goals of Greek businesses as it was seen by the research of Avlonitis et al. (1992) where salespeople training goals at a priority order were: a) production knowledge and product familiarization, b) learning of new sales techniques, c) market knowledge and competition, d) relations improvement with the customers and finally d) adaptation at the business operation.

These choices are the result of the search from the side of the industries of experienced - ready salespeople, which means that they have product knowledge and they know the sales process. The first choice that a business should make before making any policy for the attraction, selection and training of industrial salespeople is whether it should search for experienced or new salespeople, since this choice will determine the structure and the content of the above processes. The data show that this basic choice from the big heavy industry companies in Greece tends to be in favour of experienced salespeople (73,3%). This means in practice that the companies think that the salespeople, who will finally be selected, already have the personality characteristics as well as the knowledge and sales skills which were acquired either through training or empirically from their previous sales positions. This explains the little importance that is given to sales techniques or to any other subject and the big importance given mainly to the product. However, during the planning of the training program the executives that are responsible for it should take into their consideration the fact that the previous sales position does not secure the efficiency of the program, since it is one of the stereotypes that dominate salespeople training programs. Therefore, one issue that companies should take into consideration in planning their training programs, is that the experienced salespeople are at the same time less receptive to training [3] . At this point a contradiction in the content of the training programs is assured. If the salespeople that are hired are experienced and possess already sales skills and product knowledge then at the training programs the development of large scale skills such as time management, management skills or in general skills that are characterized as meta KSAs, should be developed since basic knowledge is considered as granted. The training subjects that the companies declared in the research do not show anything like that, on the contrary they are dominated by the so called task KSAs [4] .

Since the priority in training is product knowledge and in particular on the job training, it is noticed that trainers are mainly people from inside the company and in particular from the sales department, supervisors or colleagues. The external trainers are used by 33,3%, obviously for conducting seminars in sales techniques since their percentages coincide. This is opposed to the researches of Dubinsky και Barry (1982) and Avlonitis et al. (1992), that certify an extensive use of a Sales Director as a trainer with 55% for the big businesses in the first research and 84% for the second, the present research shows that Sales Directors participate by 13,3%. It should also be noted that in the second research that concerns Greece, the field "Sales Director" includes the other supervisors and partners like Sales Supervisors who if they are included in the present research, increase their participation level in the conduction of training. The basic result though which coincides in the three researches is that external trainers are less used in comparison to the internal ones.

One point that the Greek heavy industry companies should pay attention to is the effectiveness of training through its assessment. And this is because they tend to select experienced and older salespeople and as it had been remarked before, these salesmen are less receptive to training (Ashraf et Al., 2005) that means that they should adapt their training programs accordingly to avoid failure and unnecessary costs.

Regarding salespeople turnover in the heavy industry companies, the tendency is confirmed i.e. the industrial environment provides job security. The turnover rate of the industrial salespeople in Greece is, according to the answers of our research, small for the 100% of the sample and more specifically below the 20% of annual turnover. This percentage is considered logical since it does not create malfunction problems or dilemmas. In a market where a high degree of specialization and knowledge is needed and where salespeople at their majority are university graduates and the buyers demand specialization and knowledge from the salesperson, the practice of having a low turnover rate assures the normal commercial function of the business since the period of familiarization of the new salesperson is small.

According to Avlonitis and Stathakopoulos (1997, p. 193), the very small percentage of salespeople turnover in a business is not necessarily good and this may be due to the fact that they get a higher salary than their performance or that they do not have proper supervision. This should be seriously taken into consideration from the specific sector as the very small turnover rate does not allow new people with enthusiasm and new ideas to get in the company and therefore the business is a closed to the external environment system.

4.2.2 Conclusions regarding the correlated view upon the three factors

Last, regarding the correlation among the 3 factors examined, i.e. attraction (recruitment), selection and training, the answers to the questionnaire, at a fist view, might seem misleading, in terms of being treated as completely uncorrelated. However, from the results of the questionnaire, a high significance of all 3 factors is proven to form part of a high percentage of interviewed persons.

In this respect, if we isolate each of those factors and test them, we could claim that e.g. an effective recruitment process carried out on behalf of an HRM department (as well as of the sales management department) of a company could surely lead to the recruitment of the appropriate persons. In this respect, the appropriate salespeople could now become part of this company. However, especially when referring to companies which deal with technology, transportation and several other facets of human initiative, a continuous training of those salespeople, including a familiarisation of them with novel technologies and/or novel practices in doing business, could be even more necessary than their recruitment. This implies that recruitment itself could not be adequate in order to support the company's success, unless the salespeople are continuously and effectively trained so as to achieve an increased performance. Looking at the same subject from a different view point, no matter how well a salesperson can be trained with respect to innovative practices/technologies, etc. if the recruitment process followed by the company was not the proper one, then this salesperson might be inappropriate for the company and thus not contribute to the company's advance and success.

The above lead to the conclusion that (at least) recruitment and training, if seen in a correlated manner, they might prove themselves to be even more important (than adding each one's importance separately) and more crucial for the company's success.

Exactly the same can be claimed for all other factors if tested one by one. In this respect, it seems as if:

The importance of the three factors is high, when it comes to the support of a company's goals

A correlated view upon the three factors might add even more value to each of those factors, since the company can enjoy the benefits from each factor while at the same time eliminate potential drawbacks during the application of a specific practice in one of the factors.

CHAPTER 5. CONCLUSIONS AND

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH

The life cycle of an industrial salesperson starts from the moment s/he responds to a job ad and is completed by his/her leaving the company. The in between period is defined by many by the forecasting ability of his/her future performance by all who were involved in his/her selection and the actions taken for his/her assimilation and development in the organization which to a large extent are defined by the training and development process.

By making a total review of the issues that were developed and investigated for the Greek and international practice in the present study, it is noticed that the heavy industry companies do not understand neither theoretically nor practically the attraction, selection and training procedure as one interrelated process or in other words as a system. A system that sees salesperson performance as a result of two factors mainly his/her own ability and effort and the provision on the side of the company of the tools that will allow him/her to develop (as a professional personality and not necessarily as a way to climb the company's hierarchy). The most basic tool that should be given to him is training both at the initial stage during the salesperson's hiring as well as during his/her employment (through retraining). This is in accordance to the framework set by Cron et al. (2005) for training i.e. the framework of their mutual development and support of their skills and of achieving common targets and self fulfillment.

5.1 Incentives for work and integration of approaches

As can be extracted from the secondary research, but also from the interviewed managers, the most important motivation for the work of a successful salesperson is the work itself, as well as the satisfaction that a success in the career of a salesperson might bring.

Moreover, it would be essential to identify the need for following a combined approach when recruiting, selecting and training salespeople. In particular, up to now only separate approaches have been followed by companies. However, as identified during the secondary but also the primary research, training a salesperson that has been selected by mistake or that has been wrongly recruited, seems as rather inadequate. In the same manner, recruiting a salesperson that cannot be effectively trained is also a bad practice. On the contrary, the process of selection needs to be carefully designed in conjunction with the overall expectations of a company, even after the selection. This process should consider the features / personality characteristics of prospective salesperson.

The above by no means imply that only an integrated approach could be effective. As found in the course of the research, several companies might follow combined practices without explicitly knowing it / mentioning it. However, a combined recruitment / selection and training process can always add significant advantages for both a company's smooth operation and a salesperson's perspectives.

5.2 Attraction and selection of industrial salespeople

In comparison to the international practice, big heavy industry companies in Greece, move to the right direction and almost all of them have a job description and a job analysis of the industrial salesperson. As it was seen in previous chapters, job analysis includes the requirements and description of the job and they are the base on which the selection, the training, the forecast of the future performance and generally the career path of the salesperson of the business will be built. In their majority they often make changes or they make changes when it is necessary by keeping updated data for the needs and the work content of the industrial salesperson as well as for the needs that derive from this work regarding knowledge, skills but also characteristics of the personality. These changes in prescription and description of the job are imperative since the market develops in fast pace due to the technological development so as new skills and attitudes to be necessary for the successful performance of the salesperson.

The attraction sources that dominate the heavy industry in Greece are mainly the traditional ones, but also internal attraction sources are used, whereas on an international level external sources are mostly used. Although internationally for the attraction of experienced industrial salesmen, employment agencies are used at 61,9%, then as a second choice the commercial unions are used, third are the newspaper ads and magazines and fourth the company personnel, in Greece for the selection of the industrial salespeople almost all the companies mentioned that they select experienced salespeople whereas only 40% of them use employment agencies.

This percentage is rather small and there can be significant signs for improvement in the future since the employment agencies are the most specialized source for attracting experienced salespeople despite the fact that they are the most expensive source of attraction in comparison to the other ones. The newspaper ad is a cheaper solution although not a very efficient one since there is the danger to have a bigger response to the ad by people who do not have the necessary qualifications and as a result more effort is required during the screening of all the applications and CV therefore the working hours that are required for the selection of candidates are many. Therefore, an additional cost of the specific attraction source should be taken into consideration and this is the cost of the above effort that should be made by the executives of the HR departments, as well as from the sales management teams.

The promotions and internal transfers are almost double in relation to the international practice, since it seems that especially for the heavy industry this is the cheapest solution since it is a reassurance of product knowledge and experience as it is referred by Chitiris (2001:.64) and Avlonitis and Stathakopoulos (1997:.269). An important differentiation is in the use of recommendations as an attraction source which is very popular in the Greek heavy industry, whereas internationally this does not appear as one of the most popular attraction sources. Given the fact that the percentage of turnover of industrial salespeople in Greece is kept at low levels, it is possible that recommendations are used so as to select trustworthy salespeople with proved experience and efficiency where together with the internal transfers - promotions, they replace the trustworthiness and efficiency that the employment agencies or assessment tests offer.

Heavy industry companies in Greece use on a priority order the same selection tools with the industries abroad. Regarding the percentages of use of each tools the differentiations were small regarding the use of interviews and biographical data through application forms. There is an important difference in recommendation letters where abroad they are used to a greater extent by approximately 13%, but equally important is the difference in the use of tests from the companies abroad where the difference corresponds to 12%.

Although it is seen that the recruitment process of a candidate salesperson is a process of predicting his/her future performance, the tests which is the most reliable tool are not extensively used in the heavy industry companies both in Greece and abroad. Of course, the personal interview will not stop to exist as an instrument despite its little credibility as an instrument since through it the ability of getting first knowledge of the candidate and the experience of the "first impression" given is necessary in sales, the non verbal messages of the candidate enable the sales supervisor to see if the salesperson suits to the culture of the company and the team and if a cooperation is feasible. It is wrong to give more importance to this process in expense of the other instruments which are more scientifically reliable as well as to limit the selection only to it. There is no selection process that can be dependent exclusively on the interview results no matter how experienced and specialized the assessment manager is as well as the subjective impression that intervenes to the final judgement.

It is noticed that in the tests the heavy industry companies in Greece have a percentage that is much smaller than the one declared by the small companies in USA with sales turnover less than 40 million dollars (20% και 22% respectively). Although big industries declare that only 32% of them use tests, despite the fact that it is the most credible instrument which shows that there can be significant improvement of this percentage and therefore of the efficiency of the selection process. It is understood that tests as an instrument are more expensive than the other ones and their use increases the final cost per candidate but they could be implemented to the final assessment stages where the candidates are less and the differences in their characteristics smaller.

Regarding the necessary personality elements and the skills and abilities that the industrial salesperson should possess in Greece, it is noticed that there is a preference to university graduates a fact that derives both from the present research and from Metron Analysis research. On the contrary the other sectors prefer first experience and then training. In the heavy industry in Greece however, the university degree comes first whereas experience follows but with a small difference (80% and 73,3% respectively). This is of no surprise since as noticed by Exadaktylos (1997) [5] in the industrial market, the candidates that are preferred possess a relevant degree and technical knowledge of the product that they will promote. Product knowledge by itself does not secure sales otherwise sales could be done by the production or R&D executives of an industry who know better than anyone the product. Experience in sales is also necessary therefore it is second after the university degree in the hierarchy of the necessary qualifications for the recruitment of an industrial salesperson in the heavy industry of Greece. The elements of the salesperson personality that are dominating are the communication and negotiation skills and approximately one out of two heavy industry companies wants efficiency and goal orientation that have to do with drive and productivity. Elements like team work and honesty - credibility, flexibility, analytical thought are underrated as recruitment criteria. In addition, optimism is absolutely missing from the recruitment criteria which is a necessary attitude element for the sales process.

The conclusion of the above remarks seems to be related to the following data. A selection process that is based more on a subjective and insufficient element like the interview, is not possible to search characteristics like optimism, flexibility, trustworthiness or honesty. Therefore, the assessors prefer the existence of communication and negotiation skills since they are characteristics that can be investigated by the personal interview. Characteristics like optimism and trustworthiness can be derived from the use of specialized personality and skills tests which the Greek heavy industry barely uses or through Assessment Centres that are not used at all in Greece. The existence of criteria that are related to the new role of the industrial salesperson such as the analytical skills, networking and management abilities is also insufficient whereas customer focus, in a time period which is characterized by key account relationship management, has a percentage of only 6,7%.

The trend in the Greek reality is the use of more economical solutions for the attraction and selection of sales personnel. This can be seen by the lack of use of various tests as well as by the minimum use of employment agencies. The trustworthiness and efficiency of the above can replace it through the internal transfer/promotion and the use of recommendations for the prediction of the future performance and the reassurance of elements and characteristics of the personality of salesperson.

5.3 Training of industrial salespeople

Since the present research studies the training process of industries that belong in the list of the 150 bigger in turnover in Greece, it could be assumed that the processes and their training programs are by default successful since it concerns top companies that face high competition and make big sales. As the research of Dubinsky (1996) shows the above stereotype is overturned since none of the above preconditions leads to a successful training program. It is the quality and the content that define the success of the training program and not necessarily the amount of money spent and the size of the industry. It is also a fact that heavy industry internationally spends more time in training and spends bigger amount in relation to the consumer companies and services. It is also a fact that in reality the fact that one out of four Greek industrial businesses does not train their newly hired salesmen (Avlonitis et al. 1992) whereas at the same time the training hours and the amounts are reduced. In the sample of the present research all industries had training programs since it concerns big industries.

5.4 Industrial salespeople turnover

The industries of the sample declare that the rate of salespeople turnover is small and is below 20%. In general, heavy industry is considered to be among the environments that provide job security for employees and salespeople in particular. So, the specific turnover rate is functional and there are no big training costs since the business can plan its training program. This training program can be sufficient so there can be the required renewal rate that derives from the recruitment of new employees in the company. It is noticed that attention should be paid not to have a zero turnover rate since this would mean either that there is no sufficient managerial control and assessment of industrial salespeople or that their financial rewards and perks are higher than they should be. Zero turnover rate would lead to stability and cut from the wider market environment.

5.6 Proposal for practical implementation of the results

It is noticed by the present study that the process of selection, training and development of industrial salespeople should be a complete process whose effectiveness influences - beyond pure financial results -salespeople turnover rate in the company. The executives of human resources and sales that are involved in the creation, implementation of the process and the final selection decision, should see and assess it in total in every step. In this framework it is seen that the selection of new or experienced salespeople is basic. Therefore the executives should determine the route of the rest of the process based on this selection and adapt accordingly the necessary characteristics of the candidates, the weight given to each of these, their attraction sources, the assessment tools as well as the goals, the content, the methodology of training and by whom it is done. Therefore, when it is concluded that there is a problem in the industry concerning the performance or the turnover rate of salespeople, the diagnosis should start from the process of attracting and selecting and then it should be completed by the training process. This way is assumed whether the practices of selection are harmonized with the training practices.

The key in the specific process concerns mainly the culture and strategy of the business. It reverses the view of a business from "how an organization can train and develop sales human resources" to how "the organizations and salespeople can develop the value of their mutual relationship through the development and enrichment of their mutual knowledge, skills and abilities", as Cron et al. (2005) wrote.

Job analysis is the base of the process on which, beyond the data that were mentioned in the first chapters, the data concern the training that each industrial salesperson should take depending on his/her experience, the required skills but also the characteristics of his/her personality should be included. All these data should be harmonized with the strategic goals that the industry wants to succeed. The most effective process of selecting industrial salespeople is the multi-decision process that is based on linear models of human judgment so as to be to the largest degree subjective and provide a total assessment of the image of a candidate that is released from the subjective judgment of the evaluator. By using the multidimensional process of selection, the role of attitudinal and personal characteristics of the candidate salesperson is reinforced since the selection is not limited to the typical qualifications mentioned in the CVs and the interview since as it is seen the assessor can be wrong and subjective but the possibility is given to analyze in depth the strong and weak parts of the candidates and the selection of those that possess to a large degree the elements that are required for his/her successful performance. The process should include the assessment of the biographical data of the candidates and their typical qualifications, their skills as well as the attitudinal characteristics and the personality elements. Each industry should determine, based on the needs and the special characteristics of the sector, which are those attitudes and personality characteristics, and skills necessary for the duties of the new role of the industrial salesperson.

The tools for the choice should be enriched and they should not be based to a large extent on the personal interview and recommendations. The initial interview should be structured so as to give a reliable rating and assessment for all candidates so as its credibility should not be dependent on the experience of the assessor. The tests should be incorporated to a larger extent on the assessment process to investigate knowledge, attitudes, skills, inclinations as well as the characteristics of the personality due to a high degree of credibility and subjectivity. But they should be accompanied by a personal interview with the expert, since they are useful tools but do not have on their own the required credibility. All these choices should be done within the same company in combination with employees and external partners or that they could be investigated systematically through specialized Assessment Centers, the use of which is non existent from the big heavy industry companies in Greece. May be up today the solution of Assessment Centres is a more expensive one having as a result the industries to be based to a large extent on conducting 2-3 interviews for the final selection. But when the process becomes completed and exploits all the tools and their credibility, as described above, the cost of its realization internally may be proved bigger than the one of the Assessment Centre.

The Greek heavy industry should harmonize its training program with the processes of attraction and selection of candidate industrial salespeople. Since salespeople are selected based on the relative to the company's sector experience but also to a large extent on existing employees through internal transfers, the time spent on product knowledge is less compared to the real needs of salespeople. The content of training should concern the modern sales techniques but also higher level knowledge and skills that help salespeople to self-manage this knowledge and their development. These are the Meta KSAs, which will orientate salespeople towards learning goals and to be consequently more flexible with managerial skills and work hard and smart.

The training should be regarded as a commitment motive of executives since the trend shows that the financial benefits cannot be, nowadays, the only motive for the commitment and efficiency of executives. A research of the Global Consulting Company Mercer in 200 multinational companies, predicted that there will be a change in the priorities in the strategy of talent management [6] . Since they concluded that the companies by 72% were not sure that their strategy concerning rewards was not efficient, they turn to non financial motives. Consecutively, the same research concludes, that «the investment in executives training and development is part of their tactic in the framework of a strategy for talent management». The content of training as well as the characteristics of the industrial salesperson in Greece is not responded to the required qualifications of the new role of salesperson as seen in chapter 1.1.2. The industries should emphasize on training and selecting the characteristics of personality and skills of salespeople

The industries should give more emphasis on training and selection in personality characteristics and skills such as the managerial skills of salespeople, the networking and relationship skills with the customers as well as the analytical skills aiming at consultative selling so as to build long term mutually profitable relations and provide customized solutions depending on the needs of each customer. Therefore, it is imperative to change the training process from technical product training to higher level skills-abilities and knowledge for salespeople development such are meta-KSAs that are related to the development and self improvement of the individual and which develop traits and attitudes such as flexibility, adaptability, optimism, networking skills, relationship management with the customers, management skills etc. that are necessary for the new role of the industrial salesperson.

Finally, the goals of training for the heavy industry in Greece should be more specific and align with the strategy of each business. For example, if the company strategy focuses on achieving higher satisfaction of the customer or getting the first place in customer satisfaction in relation to the competition, training should have a clear and measurable goal that, for instance, would be the increase of repetitive customers or their satisfaction by x%.

5.6 Recommendations for further research

Since the specific research was exploratory and the questionnaire could not have a large number of questions, some questions were omitted which would deepen each field separately. It would be useful for the future to make a deepening research at a quantitative level and a further research at a qualitative level, regarding the recruitment, selection and training processes of industrial salespeople.

This deepening will concern issues such as salespeople attraction sources e.g. if they are assessed based on their efficiency. Then a search will follow on whether and to what extent human judgment models are used and how credibility of the final selection is assured. Since there is a large development field in the Greek industry for the use of various kinds of tests during candidates selection, it should be searched why they are not used as instruments despite their high credibility rate and why there is a persistence in using the traditional ones with doubtful efficiency.

Regarding the training of industrial salespeople the amount of money spent and the duration of it is something that should be further investigated. Do the sales techniques that are used fulfill the prerequisites of the needs of the modern market regarding relationship selling and customer relationship management? Why heavy industry companies in Greece do not invest in the type of training that develops behavioral characteristics and the personality of their salespeople as well as the technical knowledge of the product? To what extent does the tendency in training follow the requirements of adaptive selling and salespeople development through skills and knowledge that belong to meta-KSAs? It is important to see if job description is used as an instrument to plan the training programs and investigate further the training needs of industrial salespeople.

In the present research, data are recorded regarding the content of the training. The other two parameters of the training process should be investigated i.e. what type the assessment is, who does the training whether an evaluation after the end of training takes place and how this is done.

Useful results could be extracted in a comparative research among the various sectors so as the qualitative elements of each sector could be understood more through the differences that would emerge. In this framework the best practices that are followed by the heavy industry companies and which keep salespeople turnover at a low level in relation to the other market sectors could be shown.