Business Development Essay
One of the most important segments of a business is how sales are managed. Sales generate revenue for a firm and thus ought to be managed in a systematic manner for positive results to be generated. The area of sales management has become a competitive advantage cutting edge with blue chip companies coming up with innovative mechanisms of ensuring increased sales.
Question 1: The new role
The role of a sales manager is quite different from that of a sales representative. A sales manager coordinates the staff that works under him/her. It is the duty of a sales manager to ensure that goals are achieved through working with and through people (Calvin, 2004). In this case, in my new appointment, I have a number of staff all with different orientation.
First, there are two product specialists whose job entails selling a range of products to larger business clients and government organization. Secondly, there are five Business development representatives, three based in Sydney and two based in Melbourne. Additionally, still under a sales manager, are three internal sales/office administrative officers. A sales representative is a staff position under the sales manager.
A sales manager needs enough experience since this is a task that attracts enough challenges. In this case, making strategies on how to meet particular segment corporate goals form part of the sales manager’s task. On the other hand, a sales representative follows the strategies that have been laid out by a sales manager. A sales manager must be a person who is ready to go to extreme heights in making sure that the laid down objectives are achieved. Also seen on the case study, a sales manager ought to have advanced academic qualifications.
Not until I successful pursued the advanced diploma in Marketing was I given the opportunity to serve the firm under this new capacity. The academic qualifications of a sales manager and those of a sales representative are different. For example, a person with a certificate or a diploma in sales and marketing can qualify to be a sales representative even without experience. However, for a person to get the coveted sales manager job, they must have higher academic credentials such as a diploma and advanced diploma in marketing or in sales management. Those with a degree in Marketing can also be considered.
Moreover, over and above the academic credentials, a person who hopes to get the sales manager job must have accompanying experience either in a sales manager’s position or must have served in the position of a sales representative for sometime (Schwepker et al., 2007). For example, for me to be promoted to the sales manager position, I had served as a sales representative for three years. Over and above that, I had to pursue an advanced diploma in marketing to qualify for the new challenging position.
Another distinct difference between a sales manager and a sales representative is that a sales manager is part of the top management and thus is involved in the strategic planning of the company with other managers such as the finance manager, human resource manager, procurement manager and operations manager among others. A sales representative on the other hand is part of the lower management in a firm (Wiig, 2004). A sales representative follows decisions that the sales manager has made. Although a sales manager is based at the head office, in this case the sales manager is based in the new complex.
The manager coordinates all the activities of the sales divisions from the head office (Piercy & Lane, 2007). On the other hand, sales representatives also called a business development representatives are normally based in a particular sales division that the management of Flying Carpet Pty Ltd has earmarked. In this case, the business development representatives in Melbourne are different from those found in Sydney. The sales manager is in charge of all business development representatives found in every sales unit in Australia. The sales manager is involved in greater tasks and challenges than a business development representative (Calvin, 2004). The challenges include among others hiring new sales representatives.
Question 2: Flying Carpet Market
Flying Carpets Pty Ltd is a medium sized manufacturer and supplier of heavy duty carpets, carpet underlay and mats for commercial use. The firm sells to a number of market segments. First, the company has linked up with retailers and wholesalers to service the rapidly expanding small office/home office (SOHO) market. The company is using this channel of distribution because retailers and wholesalers are effective in reaching even the high end consumer in the channel of distribution. Secondly, the company also sells directly to larger businesses which mostly constitute the private sector. This part of market segment normally has a large demand in the volume of the products that they seek.
This makes it viable to deal with the company directly. Moreover, the other very important market segment is government organizations that Flying Carpets Pty Ltd sales products to as business partners. The world over, governments, their agencies and organizations are known to be the largest consumers in company products. Most firms can do anything to earn a share in government tenders in supply of products. This is because the government is reputed as the largest spender.
Presently, 80 per cent of the company sales come from NSW and Victoria. The other 20 percent of the sales are shared among the other states in Australia. The firm has sales units in Melbourne and Sydney. In order to reach a large market, the firm is considering opening new sales units in Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia.
Question 3: Restructuring the sales team
- Restructuring the sales team
The firm is considering expanding its market territory. This calls for some adjustments in the organization of the sales team. The firm is planning to open new sales units in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. As a sales manager, the decision to open new sales units will accompany restructuring of the sales team. I am putting together a team that will deliver growth and profitability for Flying Carpets Pty Ltd.
Although the existing structure of the sales team has been efficient in delivering expanded sales growth and profitability, new challenges demand that a new sales structure be developed. It is quite correct to say that old selling tactics cannot be used on new strategies (Calvin, 2004). In this case, massive changes in the sales department must always be accompanied by restructuring of the sales team (Macarthur, 2005).
Restructuring to rescue underperforming departments
Restructuring the organizational outlook or departmental hierarchy of positions is widely seen as a practical approach to rescuing underperforming companies and troubled departments. The best way proposed to inject new energies in underperforming departments is considering the option of corporate restructuring (Miller, 2001). Before considering the restructuring, it becomes very important to identify the root cause of the problems.
The predictive reasons that make departments to perform less that expected is human dynamics that can make a company flourish or fade. In our case, the sales department has been performing well for the time the company has existed. In fact, the company has succeeded in its market segments in escalation of growth and profitability thanks to a very cooperative and effective sales department. This makes this theoretical perspective of restructuring inapplicable in our case.
Restructuring accompanying growth
This is a type of restructuring that becomes inevitable when a firm takes a paradigm shift in its business model. The shift could be downsizing, opening up of regional branches or even mergers with other like minded firms (Wiig, 2004). In this type of restructuring, the performance of the department is not what ignites the restructuring. In fact, the sales department may be performing at a peak level. Unlike the other type of restructuring, this type does not involve big changes in the fundamentals that the firm previously operated in. The drive to this restructuring is the recognition of the need to inject new operating styles and creation of a new hierarchy of positions in the department (Piercy & Lane, 2007).
An ideal structure in a sales department should be one that is cost effective to run and efficient to administer. This type of restructuring is the one most applicable in our case. The reasons behind classification include; the department is performing, the restructuring is driven by a change in the business model and efficiency and effectiveness are virtues that the restructuring aims to achieve.
Restructuring is normally done to create a marketing team that is more streamlined in addressing very important premeditated and tactical initiatives (Schwepker et al., 2007). In a unique example like ours, restructuring is necessary to bring a new perspective, new problem framing procedures that make the business development representatives have less constraints in catapulting the sales of Flying Carpets Pty Ltd to hit the highest ever levels (Miller, 2001). The shift in sales by opening new sales units in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia makes the business-as-usual approach to sales management inapplicable. The paradigm shift requires that a new model and perspective of wooing and handling customers be adopted (Wiig, 2007).
The above model structure of the sales department is headed by the sales manager. The next persons in line after the sales manager are the senior business development representatives each drawn from each of the sales units. In this case, there are about six sales units which are Sydney, Victoria, NWS, and the new ones; Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. The reason behind the introduction of the new position of an Assistant Sales Manager is to ensure that there is a representative of the sales manager at each of the sales units.
A Sales Manager can be overwhelmed by the task of managing over six sales units. It makes it necessary to have a representative on the ground. These are the persons who are directly responsible for the operations of the sales units. This would save the sales manager the time of hopping from one sales unit to another following up even minute details (Schwepker et al., 2007). This allows the manager to have enough time in strategizing on procedures and methods of increasing market share and sales in existing and potential strategic markets.
- Managing and overcoming the Victorian issue
My rival in applying for consideration for the position of a sales manager is unsatisfied of my getting the coveted position. The person in question has further presented an ethical dilemma by going to the extent of propagating destructive rumors about our company in our strategic markets like the Melbourne. Although the Victorian business development representative beats me in length of experience, the recruitment team knows why they finally decided on me and not my rival. In fact, I never lobbied to get that position meaning that their decision was exclusive. This makes me unapologetic of getting the position. The last resort would be sending this business development representative on packing. However, the experience that the individual has makes us not consider that option.
The starting point is making the individual understand that this was a management decision and not min. Thus, being his (her) boss, I will summon the person. During the meeting, of course in the presence of a witness and a person who would give unbiased judgment, the concerned person will give their point of disgruntlement (Goliath, 2004). It is important to reassure the employee that nothing personal is involved and that everything will be treated confidentially. After hearing the point of view from the employee, on reasons of insubordination and spreading of malicious information to our customers, I would also present mine.
The important thing here is to make the employee come to the understanding that his/her point of view is different from that of the recruitment team that chose me and not him/her. The employee, if convinced, will be given a chance but will be placed under watch (Goliath, 2004). In case the employee does not change, another summon will made on him/her. This time round, it will be explained that since the organization is more important than an individual, the company may consider any option with displeasured employee.
At this point, a last warning will be issued to the employee (Schwepker et al., 2007). In case they seem to change and are seen to have changed, then business as usual approach in running the affairs of the firm will be adopted. In case they are unwavering in failing to meet the demands, after a series of reconciliation of the employee, the company will lay off the employee (Goliath, 2004).
- Skills to look for in a sales team
A sales team determines the success of a firm. A firm may have very impressive products thanks to an efficient R&D department but with a weak sales team, profitability goals may remain just a mirage. The following are skills that a person should possess. First, interpersonal skills are fundamental. A sales job mostly deals with interaction with people and thus the approach and relations with people contributes a lot in a sales process (Miller, 2001).
Secondly, the job needs self motivated individuals. Sometimes a sales job may be an unfulfilling task running even weeks without securing a single sale. This skill comes in handy during those times. Moreover, negotiation skills make a vital component of a sales person. The ability to fluently negotiate confidently with the customer makes the sales cycle short and successful (Lee, 2006). Other soft skills are the ability to qualify a prospect and the persistency in converting a prospect to a client, presentation skills and ability to overcome objections. Ideally, communication skills are a fundamental skill that a prospective sales representative must possess.
Question 4: Advertising for Business Development Representatives
Flying Carpets Pty Ltd is a medium sized company that deals with manufacturing and supplying heavy duty carpets, carpet underlay and mats for commercial office markets. Due to the increased demand for our products and the planned opening up of sales units in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, the company is considering recruiting Business Development Representatives to fill up the vacant positions. The business development representative will be reporting to the Assistant Sales Manager
- Generate and qualify sales opportunities by using business contacts, entering vendor selection competitions and cold calling among other means.
- Meeting prospective customers to determine their business needs in order to see the appropriate product they qualify for.
- Close sales deals including negotiating sales agreement.
- Sourcing new markets for the company wares
- Servicing our existing and potential customers
Qualifications and competencies
- Post secondary education in a Business related discipline
- At least one year proven sales experience in preferably Fast Moving Consumer Goods industry.
- Ability to generate sales leads and complete the sales cycle from the start to the closing of the deal
- Strong negotiation skills
- Member of any professional body like Institute of Sales and Marketing Management (ISMM) or Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).
- Strong business acumen
- Willingness and ability to travel diversely in the respective sales unit
- Willingness to learn and ability to grasp new ideas quickly
Please send your resume and details of your current salary and expected salary quoting “Business Development Representative” to [email protected] Only short listed applicants will be contacted.
Question 5: Induction and Training Program
The company recognizes that the expertise of its business development representatives is vital. For this reason, the company identifies a training program lasting 8 working days. A day is divided into three sessions that is Morning, Afternoon and Evening.
Day 1 & 2
To start with, the company history, company products and the management team of the company. In this case, financial performances of the company and explanation of the corporate structure
Day 3 & 4
The sales cycle; prospecting, interviewing the prospect, presentation of the product. Grooming ethics required in a business representative. The ideal business development representative, demonstration using the company wares
Day 5 & 6
Continuation of the sales cycle: Closing a sale, handling objections and turn downs. Role playing amongst the new hires
Day 7 & 8
Overview of all details covered in the training sessions and further role playing, taking the new hire business development representatives round the company. The sales manager gives a speech to the business development representatives. Other aspects of the company will be learned through on-job training.
The sales department at Flying Carpet Pty Ltd is bracing for a makeover. The staff and the sales manager are ready to face the challenges. The sales manager is considering restructuring the department to reflect the growth aspects of the company. Although one of the employees is not satisfied with elevation of the current sales manager, the issue has been handled professionally. Moreover, the ideal skills required in a sales team have been listed. In order to fill up some positions, an advertisement has been developed for business development representatives. Finally, the company’s training and induction program is professional in ensuring that the best sales team is developed.
Calvin, R.J (2004) Sales management, New York: McGraw-Hill
Lee, K, (2006), Increase Prospecting Results by Integrating your Touches, Retrieved 21 July 2009 from http://sales-management.bestmanagementarticles.com/a-33023-increase-prospecting-results-by-integrating-your-touches.aspx
Macarthur, K (2005) As sales slip, wendy’s revamps brand team, Advertising Age 76(44)
Miller, W (2001) Proactive sales management: How to lead, motivate, and stay ahead of the game, New York: AMACOM
Piercy, N.F & Lane, N (2007) The impact of sales manager control: The role of a manager control competencies, manager extra-role performance, and critical sales skills, AMA Winter Educators Conference Proceedings 18(1) 164-165
Schwepker et al., (2007), Exploring the relationships among sales manager goals, ethical behavior and professional commitment in the sales force: Implications for forging customer relationships, Journal of Relationship Marketing 6(1) 3-19
Wiig, K.M (2004) People focused knowledge management: How effective decision making leads to corporate success, Boston: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann
Goliath (2004) How to Deal with Disgruntled Employees
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