Sales Planning and Operations

Promotion is all about communication. Why, because promotion is the way in a business makes its products known to the customers, both current and potential. The main aim of promotion is to ensure that customers are aware of the existence and positioning of products. Promotion is also used to persuade customers that the product is better than competing products and to remind customers about why they may want to buy. In fact, promotion has many potential uses in business.

Personal selling is a method of promotion activity and it is where the business makes use of its work force (YOU), to directly contact the customer. This person-to-person or face-to-face with the customer has the goal of direct promotion of the product and closing of the sale. You are the company’s ambassador and You will be promoting the product through your attitude, appearance and specialist product knowledge. Your aim is to inform and encourage the customer to buy, or at least trial the product.

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A good example of personal selling is found in department stores on the perfume and cosmetic counters. A customer can get advice on how to apply the product and can try different products. Products with relatively high prices, or with complex features, are often sold using personal selling. Great examples include cars, office equipment (e. g. photocopiers) and many products that are sold by businesses to other industrial customers.

In general, if a product has a high unit value and requires a demonstration, it is well suited for personal sales. For example, highly technical products are also primarily sold through personal sales methods. Computers and copiers are good examples of technical products that are best sold through personal sales. Products that involve a trade-in are also best sold through personal selling to help facilitate the trade-in process. Automobile sales often involve a trade-in and almost always involve a personal sales transaction.

Personal selling as a career is unique and offers many benefits. It is, however, not for everyone. In general it involves long, irregular work hours and extensive travel. A personal salesperson should also be able to handle rejection face to face, which is a large component of the job. On the other hand, personal sales offers great rewards for those who are successful. Because most compensation involves commissions based on completed sales, the potential for income is great. With personal sales, there is no ceiling on what a person can earn, as there is with other salaried jobs.

Also, many people enjoy the freedom of flexible hours and the fact that a personal salesperson has little contact with a supervisor. A career in personal sales offers a person the chance to develop interpersonal, communication, organizational, and time-management skills.

Comparison of buyer behaviour and decision making process when dealing business-to-business (B2B) and business –to-consumer (B2C) The sales cycles and length of time to achieve a sale is very different between B2B and B2C sales. Selling to a business involves passing through internal “red tape” in order to get the approval for a company to buy your product.

Once the approval is received, the order is placed and the product is delivered. The bill is then usually paid on a net 30-day schedule so the profit to be achieved is at least a month out on most sales.  With B2C sales, the sale is almost instantaneous. The customer decides to buy and pays right then. The product is paid for and you move on to the next customer. B2B sales are almost entirely based on a rational decision of business value to your customer. The product will simplify a task, provide less waste, increase productivity or cut down labor costs.

These are only a few of the reasons the product is attractive to your business customer. In B2C sales, the sale is emotional due to the status of owning it, value that it provides the customer, or simply the price.

Roles of sales teams within the marketing strategy. Marketing strategy can be defined as the organization’s strategy that combines all of its marketing goals into one comprehensive plan. A good marketing strategy should be drawn from market research and focus on the ight product mix in order to achieve the maximum profit potential and sustain the business. The marketing strategy is the foundation of a marketing plan.

Teams play a key role in the success and/or failure of an organization. Generating income and revenue are the primary roles of the sales force and this is usually achieved by meeting the sales targets, set up previously on the marketing strategy. In addition to generating income, the sales force builds trust with customers. Sales representatives engage customers at all stages of the relationship.

New customers need interaction and opportunities to learn about the brand. Current customers gain trust through consistent follow-up and communication with the sales representative. Sales representatives also work to re-engage previous customers through promotions, discounts, and communications. Building trust throughout the customer sales cycle increases customer satisfaction.

Businesses can decide between two types of sales teams or use a combination of both. Outside sales representatives, also called field reps, work independently to generate sales. This type of sales force structure works best with responsible, self-starters who need little supervision. They travel to customer locations to pitch products that require demonstration. Inside sales representatives, also called telemarketers, spend most of their time on the telephone talking with prospective customers or making appointments for customers to come to them.

Sales team members are the eyes and ears of a company. They are the forefront of the company and they understand customers needs better than anyone else and they should report back to the company with any findings.

The sales team must maintain and improve relationships with clients, maintaining all necessary data and records for future reference. A caution note: Salespeople can make or break a business, depending on their level of professionalism, commitment, and integrity. When first hiring a sales force, businesses must check references and use effective interview techniques to find people who best fit the company culture and its goals. If it becomes apparent that a team member does not match the organization, managers or business owners should consider finding a more appropriate sales representative.

How sales strategies are revised as the company’s objectives change. Companies that remain static and do not act on market dynamics will inevitably stagnate and fail to achieve objectives they set. Often, after a short period of time, the sales strategies derived from the initial objective are no longer relevant to the conditions in a fast moving consumer market place. Sales strategies need to keep pace with changes in the market, consumer behaviour and with competitor activity in order for the company to remain one step ahead.

It is essential that the company listens to the consumer and revises its strategies in line with market and customer feedback. Store Managers are the first line of contact with the consumer, and therefore, the information they gather from being first line is invaluable. It ensures the communication flow from the market, the user, the consumer back to the sales and marketing department which is then able to take action on that feedback and adjust its strategies accordingly.

The importance of recruitment and selection procedures for effective sales performance. Effective recruitment and selection of salespeople is one of the most crucial tasks of sales management. It entails finding people who match the type of sales position required by a firm. Recruitment and selection practices would differ greatly between order-taking and order-getting sales positions, given the differences in the demands of these two jobs. Therefore, recruitment and selection begin with a carefully crafted job analysis.

While motivation is a key management function the sales manager must have the ight material, in terms of suitably qualified salespersons to motivate. That means selecting and recruiting to rigid criteria that are demonstrably relevant to successful achievement and high performance as salespersons and then training those persons to meet the standards and perform the selling job as suits the company’s products and markets.

The aim is to develop a formalized framework that sales managers responsible for all or part of selection and recruitment can adapt or adopt to reduce the risk of inappropriate selection of unsuitable salespersons. Typically each sales line manager is responsible for his or her own final selection of new members to his or her team.

Sales recruitment is a costly process, and poor selection results in:

  • Under-performance in sales activities
  • A distraction of management time as more supervision is needed
  • Additional training needs
  • Higher staff turnover with resultant repeat recruitment costs.

There are several issues or points which have to be considered when recruiting sales people, to avoid a costly and painful process.

These are listed and explained below:

  • Selection matters
  • Need for job description and person specifications
  • Potential sources of recruitment
  • Interview preparation and techniques
  • Selection and Appointment process.

The starting point in the recruitment process is to develop a job description and person (job holder) specification. A well-prepared job description serves several useful functions for the sales manager, including:

  • as a basis for preparing personnel specifications clarifying job functions to sales manager sand job holders
  • providing a performance measurement base
  • providing a base for appraisals and other formal and informal counselling
  • aiding inter-job content comparisons
  • Facilitating job evaluations.

Poorly prepared job descriptions can produce demarcation disputes, cause interpersonal rivalries and jealousies, or result in unwarranted assumptions of authority by one person or another.

Before you can recruit someone for a job you need to be clear on what the job is. It is important to be sure the job is quite distinct from jobs being done by other people in the sales organization, otherwise there is a risk of overlapping responsibilities, producing conflict or a failure by job holders to accept personal responsibility for actions or activities; for example, the salesperson’s role could overlap with some responsibilities of key account managers, various managers in marketing or support functions, merchandisers or sales promoters.

Normally a job description should contain at least the information outlined in Appendix-1, although the style and format will vary between companies. The typical job description summarizes the nature of a job, its functions, responsibilities, duties and accountabilities, and key competencies of persons appointed to the position. The reader may already have job descriptions prepared in his or her company format, but if not should develop descriptions for all jobs within the sales organization.

Once you have a job description the next stage is to consider the kind of person you need to perform all the job functions. The qualities, skills and experience needed to fulfil the job can all be summarized in a person specification (or job holder profile), which is really just a pen sketch of the ideal job applicant. It can be used as a reference point when you are screening job application forms or conducting initial interviews.


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Sales Planning and Operations. (2016, Oct 22). Retrieved from