Types of sales force - Marketing Management

A variety of different types of sales force take account of different sales situations:

Selling consumer goods to members of the channel where regular contact must be maintained. Personal relationships are important; typically used for FMCGs and consumer durables. Salespersons must be well organized to provide regular coverage. Selling to retailers requires a large sales force to call on customers at pre-determined intervals (termed the sales journey cycle). Large sales forces can be split into regions with regional sales managers, and regions are split into areas with an area manager in charge of individual representatives. Channel members (retailers and wholesalers) are business customers, so processes and considerations pertaining to organizational buyers apply as they are professional purchasers using systematic buying processes and purchase in large lots.

Industrial goods selling where products are often made to individual specification, so customer needs have to be satisfied on an individual basis. Products range from machinery to component parts to raw materials and services such as the provision of IT products and systems on behalf of clients. Much time is spent finding prospective customers. Often, products are sold at such infrequent intervals that when the customer is ready to re-order, specifications have been modified substantially. Salespeople tend to be well qualified and can discuss customer technical problems and offer solutions so cementing relationships with industrial buyers.

Retail selling: Despite the ubiquitous nature of self-service, considerable selling activity takes place in this setting. These activities are not confined to durable products or services like cars, televisions or holidays, but also relate to lower value items like shoes and clothing, and even non-durables like foodstuffs and meals. Think back to the last time you purchased shoes in a retail outlet. How helpful was the person who served you? Did they have any influence over whether you bought or not? Did they suggest a particular pair of shoes? Did they get you to spend more than you intended? Did they get you to purchase another item like shoe polish with the shoes? Will you ever return and buy again from the same retailer? Shoe retailers are aware of the importance of sales activities to customers. Staff training involves how to sell to customers including encouraging them to trade up and extend their purchasing.

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