Establishing a hierarchy of objectives - Sales Management

Objectives should be set and agreed at the company and department level. The objectives for all the departments should be mutually compatible between departments, and all focused towards promoting the achievement of company objectives.

Once company objectives are established,then each department should produce a plan with its own objectives. These department objectives should clearly contribute to the achievement of company objectives. Within each department its objectives should be further broken down to lower-level objectives,also demonstrably contributing to department and company objectives, for each unbeaten job function. That way each person is set goals and objectives within their sphere of responsibility that contribute to overall achievement of company objectives.

Within the sales division objectives (see Figure ) should be set for:

  • each product
  • each customer
  • each territory or salesperson
  • each sales call

A hierarchy of objectives for retail products

Retail customers typically receive sales calls from territory salespersons, or, in the instances of major retailers, from key account managers (possibly supported by territory salespersons making calls on branches of multiple retailer). Objectives (see Figure)should be developed for each relevant functional activity within the account, and at each level of your organization servicing the account, e.g. at the account head office,branch, and sales territory level.

  • Agree objectives for each sales and marketing functional activity within the key account, and at each branch, e.g.:

Market share by brand

Overall account volumes by brand by specific time period

Performance rebates – rebates related to volume objectives/achievements

Marketing and promotional programmers to account or supporting mainstream activity

Cooperative advertising (i.e. where supplier and customer contribute)

Price positioning and policies

Display standards by brand and category

Distribution procedures, i.e. branch ordering or central deliveries
Product knowledge training for the customer’s staff.

  • Set objectives at each level and for each function within your company sales organization servicing the key account,e.g.:

Branch distribution and ordering

Display locations and space allocation by brand

Volume targets by brand

Demonstration programmers activity – localized branch or supporting mainstream brand marketing strategies

Stock and order controls

Outlet coverage.


A hierarchy of objectives for industrial products

As Figure illustrates, individuals or departments within the industrial customer or business-to-business client organization will often have a quite different focus of objectives, depending on whether their functional activity is as a commercial buyer, product user or product specified (or other form of influencer in the buying process).

The salesperson servicing the customer must recognize and address these internal customer objectives in sourcing product as well as attempting to achieve his or her own company’objectives with the customer. The salesperson should develop objectives for each customer department that can use product, and for each functional depart mentor manager involved in the buying process,either in placing orders or in approving the product for use.

  • Develop objectives within the account’organization, e.g.:

Purchase and usage volumes

Product trial and testing by all parties or departments that influence purchase

Formal reports (feedback to the account manager) on any trials and tests (technical tests, productivity tests, performance tests,etc.)

Product knowledge or technical training (if necessary)

New opportunities to expand usage (such as in other locations or departments that could benefit from use of the product)

Opportunities to customize products to the account’s specific environment or needs
(binding the account to the supplier in supply chain partnership).

  • Develop objectives within your own company organization, involving all departments concerned with developing products for, or servicing, the customer.The objectives should be specific to that department’s functional activity, e.g.:

Product design or formulation/specification to meet client needs Production quantities and time frames

Product demonstration, trial and testing and quality control

Distribution (availability and timeliness to meet client needs)

Product after-sales servicing (product installation, technical training,maintenance)

Customer service (order processing,liaison, service levels)

Sales contact and support (sales volumes,terms of trade, prices and profit, building relationships and contacts within the account organization).



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