Sales management is defined as the planning, direction, and control of personal selling including recruiting, selecting, equipping, assigning, routing, supervising, paying, and motivating as these tasks apply to personal sales force.
Sales management originally referred exclusively to the direction of the sales force. Later the term took on broader significance in addition to the management of personal selling.
Sales management specifically contributes to achieve the marketing objectives of a firm. In fact, sales managers set their personal selling objectives and formulate the personal selling policies and strategies.
According to American Marketing Association, sales management is “the planning, direction and control of professional selling including recruiting, selecting, equipping, assigning, routing, supervising, paying and motivating to the personal sales force.” It is also often referred to as management of the personal selling part of a company’s marketing function.
Sales is the only function in an organization that generates revenue or income for a company and hence it needs to be managed properly. The financial results of a company depend upon the performance of the sales department.
There are couple of aspects observed that should be motivating for the potential sales people. The first is that sales people are ‘often the best paid people in the business and sales is often considered the fastest and surest route to top management.
It is important for organizations to develop and maintain an effective sales force. This is because a sales manager is not only entrusted with managing the sales force to derive target-based sales outcomes but also perform managerial functions comprising planning the sales efforts and organizing, directing, motivating, coordinating, and controlling the sales force to achieve sales goals. Sales management operates within the periphery of marketing management. In a broad sense, marketing management decides the role of various promotional activities including personal selling.
Sales management is assigned the task of managing the personal selling activities, the results of which ultimately affect the marketing department. Sales management specifically contributes to achieve the marketing objectives of a firm. In fact, sales managers set their personal selling objectives and formulate the personal selling policies and strategies. They prepare the sales budget as components of marketing plans, taking in confidence the broad objectives of the marketing department.
Sales management covers planning and organizing personal selling activities. It further performs sales force recruiting, selecting, training, assigning, routing, directing, motivating, remunerating, evaluating, and controlling functions of personal selling. Sales management implements the marketing plan to generate sales performance.
Ingram et al. (2007) noted that sales managers are involved in both the strategy (planning) and people (implementation) aspects of personal selling, as well as evaluating and controlling personal selling activities.
The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines sales management as the planning, direction, and control of personal selling including recruiting, selecting, equipping, assigning, routing, supervising, paying, and motivating as these tasks apply to personal sales force.
Still et al. (1988) illustrated that sales management, originally referred to direction of sales force, later assumed a broader description in addition to management of personal selling to include advertising, sales promotion, marketing research, physical distribution, pricing, and product merchandising. In time, it became more popularly known as marketing management which described the broader concept. So, in simpler terms, sales management is the managerial process of utilizing people and other resources optimally to achieve the goals of an organization in a cost-effective way.
Indeed, the role of sales management becomes more pervasive by finding its importance both within and outside the firm. Within the firm, it builds an organizational structure which allows both formal and informal communication amongst sales and other departments. This also helps in establishing a distribution network outside the company encompassing salespeople and/or intermediaries that serve as a medium to reach target customers.
Sales Management is the planning of a company’s sales strategies and the hiring, training, supervision, and motivation of salesmen to carry out those strategies. As such, it is the key function of the marketing process. Without it, most companies would revert to the simplicities of a hundred years ago, when the emphasis was on manufacturing, and it was considered somewhat immoral for people to buy more than necessary to meet their daily needs.
Objectives of sales management
One of the main objectives of sales management is to generate revenue for the organization. The sales department is solely responsible to bring in the money.
Increase Sales Volume
Through efficient sales management, the organization wishes to increase the number of units sold. This will ensure that the production facilities do not remain idle and are utilized to the fullest.
Sales management has an objective of improving the profits of the organization through effective planning, coordination and control. Sales management strives to increase sales and reducing costs, this ensures good profits for the organization.
With the sustained and continuous sales management techniques, the organization tends to gain market share and results in growth of the organization.
With increased sales volumes and profits, ‘sales management’ enables an organization to become the market leader.
Converting Prospects to Customers
Getting prospects to become customers is an art and a science, it requires good planning and sustained efforts. This is accomplished through sales management.
Motivate the Sales Force
One of the core objectives of sales management is to motivate the sales force. Selling is a very stressful task, achieving sales targets can become very challenging. Therefore, the sales management task is to ensure that the sales force is continuously motivated through proper incentives and reward systems.
Compliment Marketing Activities
Sales management’s task is to support the marketing functions of the organization. Marketing and sales need to go hand in hand to achieve the desired results.
Sales volume, contribution to profits and growth are the three major objectives the sales function is expected to achieve. Though these are broad corporate functions to be achieved by the top management, sales contribute a great deal in achieving them. Corporate objectives are communicated to the marketing department who in turn passes on the responsibility to the sales department.