Managing sales is the process of forming a task force to coordinate sales operations and implement business sales techniques that facilitate a business meeting, its sales objectives, and targets. In other words, the sales management process is a step-by-step workflow necessary to complete a particular sales task. The following proposal will address several aspects necessary to restructure the International Business Machine Corporation (IBM) to accommodate the expansion while respecting the CEO’s and the sales director’s wishes.
Company and Industry Background
IBM is an American multinational technology company operating in over one hundred and seventy countries worldwide. Herman Hollerith founded the organization in the late 1980s as a computing, tabulating, and recording institution. In 1914, the cooperation resulted in new CEO, Thomas Watson, who developed three fundamental management philosophies for the firm. The theories included a dedication to every client’s success, engaging in important innovations, and developing trust and responsibility in all relationships. The leading firm’s objective is to top the manufacture and creation of the most advanced information technologies, including microelectronics, networking and storage devices, computer systems, and software (Okbagaber, 2019).
The current strategy is to continue promoting diversity staff-wise and focusing on innovative technology, including cloud, AI, and quantum (International Business Machines Corporation [IBM], 2019). In addition to developing technologies, the company conducts research in the relevant fields and shares the results with strategic partners (IBM, 2019). Overall, IBM has remained consistent in its values, which contribute to its lasting success.
Sales Management Department Positions
- A regional sales manager plays a crucial role in distributing and selling the company’s product within the assigned region. The position requires a bachelor’s degree, deep knowledge of the assigned region, leadership (directed towards lower-tier managers) and communicative skills, and strategy-building abilities based on careful analysis of the area’s unique features.
- A sales training manager specializes in hiring and training new personnel. The position requires a bachelor’s degree and the ability to create training courses from scratch and improve them, although other accompanying skills are also necessary.
- A district sales manager will supervise the firm’s sales activities in a particular area within a county or a market segment. It requires a bachelor’s degree, communication and analytical skills, and the ability to timely monitor the assigned area and advance the company’s presence there.
- A B2B salesperson is responsible for building professional relationships to encourage sales. The qualification is similar to managers, although marketing and communication skills will be especially valuable.
- A sales support assists the sales team by communicating with clients, gathering relevant data, and providing other services to facilitate its activity. A high school diploma may suffice, but the candidate should possess excellent communication, IT, and time management skills.
Ideally, a person applying for the underlined positions should have substantial experience in the field as the company’s success will depend on their performance.
Sales Planning and Forecasting and Organization of Sales Marketing
Sales forecasting is important for IBM as it helps determine production volumes and guides budgeting. The company forecasts to increase its sales of 16,620 million in 2020 by 5% in 2021 (Okbagaber, 2019). The organization of sales marketing will be done by regional sales managers who will be required to produce a yearly calendar of the company’s sales activities in their regions and employ B2B salespeople for promotional activities.
Organization of the Sales Function
The sales function has a significant place within IBM, considering its commercial orientation. It offers goods and services, which can be marketed to a wide range of professional fields, including accounting and education. Many employees are involved in performing the company’s sales function, from the CEO to district sales managers, all of which attempt to expand the business. IBM’s products, such as cloud environment and accounting software, are used by the staff to conduct most operations pertaining to management. The territorial division coincides with US states for regions and cities for districts, although the major ones are further divided. One is assigned to a sales position after accumulating sufficient experience to perform pertaining duties. Overall, the company relies on its sales function for profits and approaches human resources in this department with caution.
Recruiting and Selection
In order to enhance the company’s sales success, the process of recruiting and selection should be handled with due diligence. The human resource department will recruit and select employees, preceded by describing the available jobs and their specifications. The department will, therefore, proceed to advertise the identified and described vacancies. The succeeding steps will be interviews and subsequent job tests, and the qualified candidates will be selected to work for the company. The department will conduct training for successful applicants, which will start with a brief orientation of the new employees into IBM. The teaching will be based on the selected position, and one will only be trained on what is relevant to their job descriptions.
A well-designed training program will help IBM achieve its primary goal of being a leader in the manufacture of IT products. The process covers both the recruits and the existing employees in the organization (Armstrong & Landers, 2018). To develop an instruction program, one should begin with assessment training and then proceed to set the organizational training objectives. The third step involves creating training activities followed by implementing exercise initiatives. A system to evaluate the training process and a possible revision are, therefore, developed.
To facilitate better training, the company should adopt the suggested fundamental programs described in this paragraph. The first exercise is induction or orientation training. This type of preparation involves teaching employees immediately after they are hired, which equips them with the firm’s general knowledge and working routine expectations. The second training program that the managers of IBM should adopt is on-the-job training. This is when the organization’s employees will have to learn some of the skills to perform their jobs as they do the job itself. Company trainers will be going through the employees to impact knowledge as they work. Perhaps, every major IT organization ought to also adopt off-work training, which implies that workers engage in such activity after they have completed their routine duties.
Compensation and Incentives
The aspect of compensation and incentives is critical in every work environment. The IBM employees will be entitled to various remunerations and incentives according to their work in the organization. The top-level managers will have better compensation and incentives benefits; however, all employees have to be motivated. The regional sales managers will receive free houses, cars, and a house assistant in addition to their salaries. Their travel allowances are also proposed to be about 20% of their salaries. Following the hierarchy, sales training managers come second, and they will be entitled to free houses and cars, which will be relinquished to IBM upon retirement. Other employees in the hierarchy will be entitled to commissions and upon sales exceeding company set limits. The above will be added to the employee’s monthly salaries.
As part of employee motivation and incentives, IBM will help its employees cover some of the expenses accrued during work. The expenditures have exclusions, so the firm will not cover certain expenses, such as commuting and meals outside of the company’s building. The employer’s costs include office equipment and supplies, travel (if an employee is temporarily reassigned to another location), which may include transportation and living, and benefits. Although those expenses may involve a considerable sum, they are necessary to uphold the human-centric approach, retain the staff, and draw new recruits.
Regional managers should be tasked with assigning territory and quotas to other hierarchy employees. Sales training managers will only perform their duties in a single county to avoid travel expenses. Meanwhile, the district sales managers are to oversee specific market segments assigned to them by the regional manager. A state is to have ten specialists at a minimum, but their number may vary depending on the market. A proper marketing procedure leading to a sales increase may require three B2B officers under one district sales manager. The initiative will increase the influence of its marketing taskforce of IBM. As a result, the number of salespeople would exceed the number of all employees, and they should be scattered in different markets covered by the organization.
Performance appraisal is a necessity in human resource management as it determines how effective the company’s employees are towards achieving the organization’s more significant objectives. The assessment will be performed by the human resource department annually. Employees with a high score will be rewarded more because it is impractical to compensate them and those who exhibit poor work ethics equally. From performance appraisal results, it is possible to identify employees who qualify for bonuses, sales commissions, and promotions.
The appraisal process involves six essential steps, and the first one is to establish employee performance standards. The second stage is to communicate and understand the set standards. Performance measurement is the following step; the procedure is not complicated and is an example of assessing the parameters in cost, quality, and time (DeNisi & Murphy, 2017). After the performance is measured, it is prudent to compare the actual performance with the standards, which comprises the fourth activity. The fifth appraisal step is a discussion of the result with employees. It may be challenging but has to be done since the appraisal is an employee-based procedure. The implementation of personnel action comes at the last stage.
Sales Leadership Strategies
Leadership is key to any organization’s success, and for IBM to perform more efficiently, strategic leadership should be adopted. It involves company leaders who operate at the intersection between the company’s primary operations and its growth activities and always strive to exploit opportunities (Govin & Slevin, 2017). Simultaneously, they should also follow and promote the values of honesty and acceptance regarding sales and good customer relations. Some of the strategies are to avoid misleading advertising and provide genuine information. Consumer exploitation is another vice that the company will strategize to eliminate by charging fair prices.
Moreover, IBM will continue to employ people following the principles of diversity and create an appropriate environment for them. Altogether, a strategic leader will combine entrepreneurial skills and a Biblical worldview to elevate the company and make it human-oriented.
In conclusion, a robust sales management strategy can greatly benefit the company and allow it to meet its operational objectives and expansion goals. The report covered some key areas that will have to be reevaluated to improve the hiring process, the sales leadership, and facilitate territorial presence. A new training program, appraisal system, and approach to leadership are among the elements necessary to implement to guarantee the company’s improved sales performance.
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International Business Machines Corporation. (2019). 2019 annual report. Web.
DeNisi, A. S., & Murphy, K. R. (2017). Performance appraisal and performance management: 100 years of progress? Journal of Applied Psychology, 102(3), 421–433. Web.
Okbagaber, T. B. (2019). The effect of human resources management on employees’ retention in IBM corporation. Journal of Asian Business Strategy, 9(2), 158-173. Web.