To be successful in a changing market environment, it is important that sales managers understand the importance of emerging trends in the following areas
Global competition is intensifying. Domestic companies who never thought about foreign competitors are suddenly finding them in their backyard. This is a challenge which sales managers and salesperson must take on, they have to improve their personal selling efforts not only in their countries but also in foreign countries. Selling goods and services in global markets presents a challenge due to differences in culture, language, needs and requirements.
Digital revolution and management information system have greatly increased the capabilities of consumers and marketing organizations. Consumer today can get information about products, compare it with other brand, place an order and place an order instantly over the internet. This has led to a different kind of sales force who collects information about internet users, markets and prospects of internet buyers. It is mandatory for all companies to have their website now.
To compete effectively, sales person and managers will have to adopt the latest technology.
Customer Relationship Management [CRM]
Combining information technology with relationship marketing has resulted in customer relationship management. Interestingly, the concept of relationship marketing came about earlier by bringing quality, customer service and marketing together.
Relationship marketing aims in building long term satisfying relations with key customers distributors and suppliers in order to earn and retain their long term preference and business. CRM enable companies to provide excellent real-time service by focusing on meeting the individual needs of each valued customer, through the use of CRM software packages.
Sales Force Diversity
The demographic characteristics of sales force is changing and becoming more varied. For example, more and more women are taking up careers in sales management and selling. Also the education level of sales people is going up most of them holding a college degree or a post graduate degree. Sales managers now have to handle a sales force of these varied demographic, expectations of each and every individual is different and sales manager needs to use different motivational tools against each one of them.
Team Selling Approach
The practice of team selling is more widely followed by most companies in recent years. Team selling approach is used when company wants to build a long term mutually beneficial relationship with major customers, who have high sales and profitable potential. It is used for selling a technically complex product or a service to a potential customer. The composition of team may vary depending upon the customer from top management, technical specialist, customer service, etc…
Multi-channel marketing system occurs when organization uses two or more marketing channels to target one or more customer segments. Major benefits of multi-channel marketing system are:
- Lower channel cost
- Increased market coverage
- Customized selling
Multi-channel may also lead to conflicts and control problems, as two or more channels may compete for same customer. A successful sales manager will have to effectively manage conflict between the channels.
Ethical and Social Issues
Sales managers have ethical and social responsibilities. Sales people face ethical issues such as bribery, deception (or misleading) and high pressure sales tactics. Today’s sales managers have no choice but to ensure ethical standards from sales force otherwise they may be out of business or even land up in legal problems.
Below diagram gives the changing trends in Sales Management