Geographic Information Systems


The administration and management of Sales territories presents a tremendous challenge, even to the most experienced sales managers. While you would like to have your salespeople feel that territory administration is done fairly and reasonably, the truth of the matter is that it is usually more of an art than a service. A geographic information system allows a salesperson or sales manager to view and manipulate customer and/or prospect information on an electronic map. Customer information can be accessed directly from contact management data. Information on potential prospects can be entered into the system directly as it is captured, or the information can be purchased in bulk in computer format from third party sources.

Once the information is plotted on a map, the administration of territories becomes immeasurably more accurate. The information can also be manipulated much more easily. In addition, this type of visual representation will often reveal buying patterns or trends that would not otherwise be apparent.

Salespeople can use geographic information systems in planning their sales calls to make the most efficient use of their time. Drive time is minimized when sales call planning is done with geographic considerations in mind.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

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Adapting to Change


Competency models provide a tool for determining exactly what skills are required to meet the different needs of the present and probable needs of the future. For example, general agents of a life insurance company are responsible for managing the overall operation of the agency. With increased competition the focus shifted to strategic marketing, territory development and building leadership teams. The company was concerned that the people it was selecting to fill the agent’s role might not be able to meet the challenges of the changing business environment. By using a competency model to determine what behaviors the general agents were now required to perform, the company realized that the job was very different from what it had been five years earlier. Consequently, the company could begin to adjust in selection criteria to reflect the changing demands of the role. It could also ascertain the training needs of the current general agents by identifying their skill gaps and deciding which of those gaps ought to be addressed immediately to ensure high performance.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Carrying out Sales Contests


Sales contests are short-term incentive programs designed to motivate sales personnel to accomplish specific sales objectives. Although contests should not be considered part of the firm’s ongoing compensation plan, they offer sales people the opportunity to gain financial, as well as nonfinancial, rewards. Contest winners often receive prizes in cash or merchandise or travel. Winners also receive nonfinancial rewards in the form of recognition and a sense of accomplishment.

Successful contests require the following:

  • Clearly defined, specific objectives.
  • An exciting theme.
  • Reasonable probability of rewards for all salespeople.
  • Attractive rewards.
  • Promotion and follow-through.

Because contests supplement the firm’s compensation program and are designed to motivate extra effort toward some short-term goal, their objectives should be very specific and clearly defined.

The time in which the contest’s objectives are to be achieved should be relatively short. This ensures the salespeople will maintain their enthusiasm and effort throughout the contest. But the contest should be long enough to allow all members of the sales force to cover their territories at least once and to have a reasonable chance of generating the performance necessary to win. Therefore, the median duration of sales contests is three months.

A sales contest should have an exciting theme to help build enthusiasm among the participants and promote the event. The theme should also be designed to stress the contest’s objectives and appeal to all participants.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Sales Call Reports


When the members of a sales staff are spread out over a large geographic area, sales call reports are a critical components of a sales manager’s efforts to keep a finger on the pulse of what is going on in the territory.

It is critical for both sales and management to have a finger on the pulse on the business. This means knowing where the business is and where it isn’t, and being able to analyze the situation by product, by geography, and by timing. This allows everyone to do a better job at sales planning.

There are, of course, a variety of means by which a sales call report can be delivered to a sales manager. Sales reports that are submitted by mail often do not arrive on a timely enough basis to allow them to be as useful as they should be. Every sales manager will, from time to time, discover in a sales call report a situation that requires, in the manager’s judgment, immediate attention.

The electronic mail component of a sales automation system is completely portable. Sales force automation allows a salesperson with a notebook computer to communicate with a similarly equipped sales manager anytime, anyplace. Better still Black Berry handsets with GPRS connection is the best solution.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Direct and Indirect Costs


In manufacturing, “direct costs” refer to costs that are readily traceable to products—for example, direct material and direct labor. The term is also used to identify costs that are traced as incurred to specific functions, to distinguish them from allocated or transferred costs. In distribution the classification of costs as direct or indirect depends on the segment. The more general the segment (sales division in sales territory), the greater the portion of costs directly traceable to it, the more specific the segment (products, customers), the greater the proportion of indirect costs. Direct costs are those costs that can be traced to a business segment. If that segment were eliminated, the costs no longer would be incurred.

Indirect costs, costs such as general administrative expenses, are often allocated  to segments, but this process is arbitrary at best and should be avoided.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Preparing Salespeople


A new product is an intrusion. It takes time. It disrupts schedules. It involves change and risk. Salespeople are known for wanting new items to sell, but there are still negatives. Salespeople are not usually given reduced territories when asked to sell a new product.

 

It is important (1) to investigate in advance any possible reasons why salespeople might object to the new product, (2) to give them all the training and materials they need to be effective, and (3) to make sure the product is available, in their territories, when they start writing orders for it.

 

The key is to do your job such that they can do their job. That means to have a product that customers will understand to try, and to train the sales force to understand and communicate the story. This training should use the latest technologies

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Motivating Sales People


A new product is an intrusion. It takes time. It disrupts schedules. It involves change and risk. Salespeople are known for wanting new items to sell, but there are still negatives. Salespeople are not usually given reduced territories when asked to sell a new product. So, it is important a) to investigate in advance any possible reasons why salespeople might object to the new product, b) to give them all the training and materials they need to be effective, and c) to make sure the product is available, in their territories, when they start writing orders for it.

The key is to do your job such that they can do their job. That means to have a product that customers will understand and want to try, and to train the sales force to understand and communicate the story. This training should use the latest technologies.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com

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