Case Studies and Management Resources
Introduction to Sales Management
Selling is the most important and the
most difficult function in any organization. Without the sales function, a
firm cannot stay in business for long. Therefore, managing sales in an
organization is a critical activity. A sales manager needs to ensure that
the salespeople are motivated to perform the selling function in a way that
will help the organization attain its goals.
The industrial revolution brought about a dramatic change in the sales scenario and gave rise to modern sales and marketing practices. The setting up of industries led to mass production of goods and the opening of a large number of showrooms and sales offices. Advancements in transport and communication technology in the form of the railways, the postal system, the telegraph, etc., further revolutionized the selling process across the world. Over the years, substantial changes have taken place in the selling environment, sparking more changes in the sales function.
Some of the trends that have shaped the sales function
include shorter product life cycles, longer and more complex sales cycles,
reduced customer loyalty, intense competition among manufacturing firms, rising
customer expectations, increasing buyer expertise, electronic revolution in
communications, and the entry of women into the sales force. With continuing
advances in technology, the sales function continues to evolve, even in the
twenty first century.
In addition to helping an organization achieve its business goals, the selling function performs various other roles as well, such as that of enhancing knowledge about both the internal and external environments, such as customers, suppliers, distributors, employees and other people; developing a positive relationship with the customers, suppliers and distributors; and negotiating with customers to sell the company's products profitably. The sales team of an organization can play these roles effectively only when it receives the required support from other departments. All the roles of the sales team are interdependent and the success of one role depends upon the success of the others.
Introduction to Sales Management provides an overview of the various facets of the selling function, within the context of today's business realities.
“You can take away my money and take away my factories, but leave me my sales staff and I'll be back where I was in two years.”
- Andrew Carnegie.
“In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative original thinker unless you can also sell what you create. Management cannot be expected to recognize a good idea unless it is presented to them by a good salesman.”
- David M. Ogilvy.