Every business firm has certain objectives to achieve. These objectives may be very explicit and definitive, or they may be implicit or general. From the company viewpoint, the general objectives of sales management are:
- Sales volume
- Contribution to profits
- Continued growth
- Market Share
- Corporate Image
While all these objectives are important to a business firm, the objectives, relating to sales-volume, market share and profitability, are greatly affected by the effectiveness and efficiency, with which the sales-function is managed.
Sales executive do not carry full burden of the effort to reach these objectives but they make major contributions. Top management has the final responsibility because it is accountable for the success and failure of the entire enterprise. Ultimately top management is accountable for supplying an ever increasing volume of socially responsible products that final buyers want at satisfactory prices.
Generally, objectives of sales-management have to cover various sales-functions, in an integrated manner. These objectives are to be expressed, as far as possible, in measurable and quantitative terms, and should also be realistic and achievable. Since, there is more than one objective; these should be put, on a hierarchical manner (most important, down to the least important). To ensure their flawless realization, they must be congruent, i.e., they must fit together, and not be in conflict with each other. For example, suppose you ask a salesman to cut his travelling expenses, and ask him to spend more time, in the field. To make these two requirements, more meaningful, they must be linked with specific time-element,
Top management delegates to marketing management, which then delegates to sales management, sufficiently authority to achieve the three general objectives. In the process, objectives are translated into more specific goals-they are broken down and restated as definite goals that the company has a reasonable chance of reaching. During the planning that precedes goal setting, sales executives provide estimates on market and sales potentials, the capabilities of the sales force and the middlemen and the like. Once these goals are finalized, it is up to the sales executive to guide and lead the sales personnel and the middlemen who play critical roles in implementing the selling plans.
Sales management then is influential in charting the course of future operations. It provides higher management with informed estimates and facts for making marketing decisions and for setting sales and profit goals. Largely on sales management’s appraisal of market opportunities, targets are set for sales volume, gross margin and net profit in units of product and in dollars, with benchmarks of growth projected for sales and profits in specific future dates. Whether or not these targets are reached depends upon the performance of sales and other marketing personnel.