Field training (see Figure) is particularly effective in focusing on:
Using a form such as the model training audit, shown later in this chapter, during field evaluation and training helps identify the specific key result areas the field sales manager might focus on in any field training session.
Quantitative or objective measures can be made of most aspects of a salesperson’functional activities. The field sales manager can observe each activity the salesperson undertakes during the selling day,and form judgments and conclusions on the satisfactoriness of performance in each area,while also making interpersonal comparisons with other team members.
Most functional activities will apply in all selling environments,whether consumer, industrial or business-to-business, but their relative importance in the selling process may vary.
Observation will quickly show if the salesperson works to an appropriate structure to the selling process, such as the seven-step selling sequence proposed in this text. The manager is likely to want to focus on key stages that impact particularly on sales success and business development and profitability, such as identifying needs, effective presentations,negotiating and closing the sale.
Sales managers need to be alert to salespersons whose only objective is‘obtaining an order’, and to develop appositive approach to setting quantifiable objectives in terms of volumes and turnover, or even other business-building objectives such as obtaining new listings,or new locations where the product can be displayed or used.
Time is a key limiting resource of the sales team, so analysis of use of time might consider the following points:
Call rate. Does the salesperson achieve satisfactory daily call rate on customers,and how does this compare with the average for the sales team?
Conversion rate. Does the salesperson have a satisfactory ratio between order sand calls (compared with the average for the sales team), and if this varies significantly at times can causes be identified?
Studying performance records does not give an indication of skill in using sales technique sin the face-to-face selling situation. That only comes through observation when the manager is accompanying members of his or her sales team. Field training can then be focused on areas of weakness or aspects of techniques judged as priorities in obtaining and building business.
Identifying/accessing decision makers
Working to call objectives
Identifying customer needs
Increasing the sale
Use of sales aids
Control of the call
Use of product knowledge
Initiative in exploiting opportunities
The field sales manager’s audit of training needs should encompass organizational aspects of the selling job. Any deficiencies can then be the focus of training according to how they are judged as impacting on sales performance.
This is perhaps the most subjective area of all in preparing a training audit. Assessments of attitude may be influenced by personal feelings, prejudices and preferences. The field sales manager needs to attempt as best possible to make impartial assessments in this qualitative subject area, if only because it is often harder to train people to change attitudes than to improve performance of technical skills.
For example, some salespersons become skeptical of a company’s ‘indoctrination style’ of making sales presentations, mainly because they lack the confidence and skills to implement the recommended sales sequence and selling systems.
The sales manager may recognize that skills training in the more objective areas of assessment will frequently produce a modification in attitudes, where the salespersons see that they can actually improve their sales performance. The attitude audit typically might cover the following aspects judged as impacting on sales performance.
Sales Management Related Tutorials
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Sales Management Tutorial
Roles And Functions In The Sales Force
Sales Structures And Organization
Motivational Management In The Sales Force
Sales Management By Objectives
Motivating Through Rewards And Incentives
Providing Appraisals And Feedback For Motivation, Training And Discipline
Communication In The Sales Force
Sales Meetings And Conferences
Recruitment And Selection In The Sales Force
Basic Sales Training
Field Sales Training
The Planning Process
Sales Force Administration
Sales Management Control
Merchandising At The Point Of Sale
Key Account Management
Alternative Sales Or Distribution Operations
Developing International Markets
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