The key to developing an effective sales force

An effective sales force creates sales effectiveness. This is the ability to win all the stages of the consumer buying process by the sales professional of any given company. In order to build an effective sales force, a company can either undertake to select new professionals or train the existing professionals (Derek, Laura and Taylor, 2004). Selection can be viewed as a rejection process of adopting equitable and fair assessment means to select the best of the best, from a pool of shortlisted candidates. On the other hand, training is meant to develop the existing professionals by equipping them with more skills in order to handle the consumer buying process effectively (Bruce and Charnov, 2011). Therefore, training of the sales force is the key to building an effective sales force, and it involves the change of tact whereby the sales team is either trained while on the job or while off the job. New knowledge and skills are imparted practically to the sales force through exposure and apprenticeships. Through training, the sales team develops new competencies which in the long-run increase capacity, performance and productivity respectively. Unlike training, the selection is basically a process of testing or interviewing using the credentials of the candidates as the basis for reference checks. Selection alone therefore cannot be used to develop an effective sales force. Sometimes an organization can opt to recruit, select and train a new sales force, but for purposes of time and cost effectiveness, the best strategy is to train existing sales staff. With training, especially when the training is conducted on the job, new ideas and concepts will be inculcated since the training is away from the work environment. Training can, therefore, be viewed as a continuous process of knowledge improvement to develop an effective sales force.

Advice for outdoing increased competition

In business, competition comes from rival businesses that offer similar products to satisfy similar needs. Sometimes competition is viewed as being important, since analyzing one’s competitors enables one to change tact and sometimes the business model (Zoltners, Prabhakant and Greggor, 2011). For our case, our friend needs to be vigilant and undertake a competitor analysis through the SWOT analysis. This will be crucial in identifying competitor’s strengths and weaknesses, objectives and reaction patterns that will then be used to develop counter-strategies that help deal with the anticipated movements by the competitors. It will be difficult for the downtown stores to adopt a similar marketing mix as that of its competitors who are perceived to be enjoying a larger market share. In order to regain the lost market share, downtown stores need to rebrand and to position itself in the market in order to withstand competition. Downtown clothing stores should also fight competition indirectly through identification of supply gaps within the market segments and then filling those gaps better than the competitors. Downtown clothing stores has to adopt counter strategies. Some of these strategies might be: intensified advertising and promotion, offering cheaper products, establishing product uniqueness, diversifying and offering a variety of clothing other than small children clothing, developing an effective sales force for direct selling through door-to-door campaigns, reduce the prices of its products and offer free after sales services such as delivery of clothes to customer’s premises, especially those who purchase in large quantities. Execution of these strategies will enable downtown clothing stores operate on the competitive edge and at the same time retain its reputation among its customers.

References

Bruce, H., & Charnov,  H. (2011). “Training and Development.” Management, 4 (23), 225-228.

Derek, T., Laura, H., & Taylor, S. (2004). Human Resource Management. New York, NY: Donver.

Zoltners, A., Prabhakant, S., & Greggor, A. (2011). The Complete Guide to Accelerating Sales Force Performance. New York, NY: Norton & Company.