ANDRIS ZOLTNERS PDF

Their mission-critical efforts impact the balance sheet and can delight management and shareholders. But what factors contribute to an outstanding sales force? Is it simply a matter of hiring talented salespeople, or are there ways to help a sales team advance from the rookie league to the World Series of sales? Add Insight to your inbox. While U. The three leading scholarly journals in the marketing discipline devote just 4 percent of their space to sales force issues.

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Their mission-critical efforts impact the balance sheet and can delight management and shareholders. But what factors contribute to an outstanding sales force? Is it simply a matter of hiring talented salespeople, or are there ways to help a sales team advance from the rookie league to the World Series of sales? Add Insight to your inbox. While U. The three leading scholarly journals in the marketing discipline devote just 4 percent of their space to sales force issues.

This dearth of information spurred Andris Zoltners Professor of Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management to develop a framework that captures the complexities of the sales function. By defining and categorizing the many factors that contribute to an effective sales organization, he offers academics a new research approach and gives companies a tool for diagnosing an ailing sales organization and pinpointing corrective steps.

They asked about the factors that make a sales force effective, as well as those that hinder success. The feedback those practitioners provided touched on innovative training and sales incentives, as well as impediments to performance such as too much time devoted to paperwork, lack of opportunity for top performers, and unevenly distributed sales territories. Zoltners and his associates also reviewed and analyzed articles in professional journals that deal primarily with sales force issues.

The SFEF shows how a company responds to pressures from customers, competitors, and the economic environment by developing an overall business strategy. This gets translated into a sales and marketing strategy, which in turn influences the actions of individual salespeople or third-party business partners as they generate leads, develop customer solutions, present proposals, negotiate and close sales, and provide customer service.

For example, upper management defines the size and structure of the sales team. Sales management provides coaching, feedback, recognition, and training to the team.

Salespeople themselves engage in specific selling tasks such as targeting, prioritizing, assessing needs, developing solutions, listening, persuading, and closing. Successfully performed, all these activities lead to sustainable and valuable relationships with customers and increased profits and market share for the company.

However, Zoltners and his colleagues uncovered some discrepancies between the concerns of sales practitioners and those of academics. For example, academics put a greater emphasis on business culture, recruiting, and training than did the working sales professionals, who were more apt to focus on compensation and team structure. Both camps put approximately the same emphasis on having the right data and tools, performance management, and communication. Two approaches leading to the development of the five sales force effectiveness driver categories.

Even though it recruited 25, agents every year, within twelve months 60 percent of those agents left the company. Only 13 percent remained after four years. By helping the sales force target and prioritize the highest-volume segment of the market, this company could smooth the path toward a potential 20 percent increase in revenues. The hunt for effectiveness must be ongoing because external events create marketplace shifts. For example, when the utility industry was deregulated in the state of Georgia, Shell Energy faced a new business climate.

Customers were no longer forced to buy natural gas from Shell and now could consider competitors. The top levels of management recognized the need to shift from a reactive marketing strategy to one that was proactive. As a result, they restructured and restaffed the corporate sales organization and implemented a compensation structure that rewarded performance.

In less than six months, sales exceeded expectations. The selling world. As shown in Figure 1, the SFEF can help an enterprise ask the right questions and steer toward continual improvement. Zoltners recalled an executive who oversaw a sales force of 4, people.

By using the framework to rate their company on effectiveness drivers such as motivation programs, sales force structure, retention, tools, and training, team members identified opportunities for high-impact improvement. They prioritized a few specific drivers to work on that year, developed and executed a focused improvement plan, and tracked annual progress.

The process was so successful, said Zoltners, that the executive has made this an ongoing practice. Note: The researchers, Andris A. Zoltners, Prabhakant Sinha, and Sally E. Featured Faculty.

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Explore the Archive Executive Summary For more than three decades, Andris Zoltners, now an emeritus professor at Northwestern, has been studying the best ways to organize and pay salespeople. In this interview, he shares some of his insights with HBR. Companies make several common mistakes with sales compensation, Zoltners notes: over- or underincentivizing key products, setting quotas too high or too low, and underpaying top performers or overpaying people with good territories. Overly complicated plans are also a problem. Some plans have different payments for dozens of objectives. Yet a bigger issue may be an overreliance on compensation in the first place, Zoltners suggests. There are other drivers of sales success—the people you hire, their managers, the design of territories.

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Sales Force Effectiveness

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