Skelton Truck Lines: The Sales Force Effectiveness

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Introduction

Skelton truck lines limited is one of the Canadian companies that has established itself with trucking services. The company has established a reputation of being reliable. This is not only in Canada but also in other countries such as America and Europe. Although this has been the case, they have not reached their full potential in terms of sales. This is because of a non-effective or partially effective sales strategy. As much as business might be good to the company, chances of expanding its market share are real and this can be achieved by enacting measures to curb the problem of a non-effective or partially effective sale force. Some of the problems that have to lead to ineffective sales forces are lack of sales forces, lack of marketing, lack of information on the company, and absence of consultative selling. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance of solving the problems, propose the ways of solving them, and show the benefits of putting up measures to improve the sales force’s effectiveness.

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Salesforces

Sales forces are that part of the business whose mandate is to sell products or services. Their key objective is to make sure that the customer is provided with goods or services when needed and make them accessible (Zoltners, Sihna, & Lorimer, 45). The lack of these forces implies that businesses are underperforming in terms of sales. It also implies that business is only concerned with providing goods or services to certain customers while ignoring their potential clients (Rackman & DeVincentis, 58).

Such a scenario does not provide chances for the business to expand at its rate (Lidstone, 134). This is because its expansion is restricted to the expansion of its few clients since the business deals with some clients. This is the case with Skelton truck lines limited. The company deals only with the same pharmaceutical companies and steel companies so they do not have sales forces. Sales forces are important for this company because they will facilitate growth in sales. This is possible because the person will be able to bring in more clients other than the current ones. The company needs to set up a sale strategy as soon as possible.

In setting up a sales force, there are certain steps to be followed. The first step is to evaluate and establish what the company wants the sales force to do for it. This involves coming up with a good description of the sales force which outlines the jobs to be undertaken by the salespeople. The second step is to hire or get personnel to undertake the jobs as salespersons. This could be through asking the employees to recommend individuals, hiring through human resource firms, online applications, or awarding short-term contracts services. After a sales force is acquired, there is a need to monitor it as there are several challenges that can be encountered. The final step is to get qualified and experienced personnel to manage and control the force (Cichille, 45).

Some of the challenges include; salesforce making huge sales which may lead to poor customer services which might cause the company future sales. The personnel may move huge amounts of poor-performing products which may be expensive to support. In the case the salesperson is not good, a negative image of the company may be portrayed. But despite this, it’s clear that a properly controlled and managed salesforce leads to an increase in sales. In setting up a sales force, the cost of human resources is likely to increase but this will be offset by the increase of sales and subsequently increase of sales revenue. Other advantages are; the company will be able to get new clients, establish a relationship with the new and current clients enhance ensure customer retention.

Marketing

For the growth of sales and subsequent growth of the company, marketing is essential. This is because it facilitates customer awareness about the company at first and then the products and services it has to offer. Although this increases the costs the company has to incur in their operation, it has much importance and its advances outweigh the costs. There are two options in establishing an effective marketing system. They include setting up a marketing department or hiring a marketing firm to undertake the task of doing your marketing (Carter, 22).

In setting up a department, several key important things are supposed to be established. These include: establishing the structure of the department, interviewing and hiring qualified personnel in the department, building or creating the place they are to work from, and offering them the equipment they need in performing their duties (Lidstone, 44). In hiring a marketing firm to perform and offer marketing services, very little is required as compared to the previous option. This is because the company makes a list of their requirements and qualification for those who are to apply for the contract to offer the marketing services. Afterward, this is made public either by advertising in the media or by word of mouth. After applications are received, the best of them all is chosen and the contract is awarded upon agreement of terms of association.

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Let’s compare the two options. More time is required to set up a department as compared to outsourcing. This is because a lot of time will be spent in interviewing personnel, setting up and establishing structures to host the department which is not the same case as outsourcing. Again, it’s cheaper to outsource as there is no need to: do the construction or create space to host the department and buy equipment to facilitate their working. Lastly, outsourcing gives a guaranteed chance of working with the best in the industry which is not the case with setting up a department.

Concerning the two options, my advice will be to hire a marketing firm or to outsource rather than setting up a marketing department. This will be less expensive and faster as it will save the company’s time in acquiring this so much-needed service. Again, this will guarantee the company of better services every time since the outsourced company has to maintain a high level of service or their contract will be probably terminated. This will be an added advantage.

In acquiring the market services, the company expenses of operation will increase by any percentage up to 12% depending on the firm hired. This will be offset by an increase in sales of which will go up to 30% in the short run and expansion of the company by up to 18% in the long run. Comparing the cost and the benefits, it is advisable to undertake marketing as it increases the efficiency of the sales force. Through contacts established, we as the sales consulting firm could offer assistance and advice in acquiring these services as we have contacts that could be made available to you upon request.

Other advantages are; acquisition of new customers as the products information will be made more available than before hence creating attention to those who had none and making the sales force work much easier. Expansion of the company will be due to increased sales revenue and an increase in the market share of the company.

The lack of information regarding websites is not a new thing. Probably, the greatest reason as to why some websites have limited traffic. The immerging trends and issues make it clear that every organization has to change with the current technology; hence the incorporation of a website is crucial to any organization seeking recognition. Over the years, we have seen the developments that have taken place in the online community, from satellites to optic cable technology (Carter, 112). This has increased the much-needed business exposal; this is because there is an unlimited marketing space. In the online community, one can send an unlimited number of emails to potential customers. At the same time, an organization gets to use this opportunity to send links to their websites. This is among the best ways to create awareness about one’s website. Once the link is clicked it takes the surfer to the desired website. This is easy and is not expensive, the client also does not waste time going about to try and call the organization since it is just one click away.

Another conventional method of creating awareness of a website is by the development of marketing and sales techniques. This may include, advertisements especially through the media, popular channels still include television. This offers the best channel of communication; this is attributed to the coverage it receives. A recent study shows that television receives the best feedback, for example, opinion polls televised get more publicity. The website is a must-have for any business; however, a lack of awareness can easily slay the website. Also, awareness can be created by using print methods and techniques. It is said pictures speak a thousand words, the use of banners and graphical billboards to advertise the business’ website helps a lot in spreading the web link (Lidstone, 42).

Past customers and clients form one of the best ways the traffic on the website can be increased. This is made possible by the fact that they get to refer their friends and partners to the website. The organization may decide to hire a specialized team that will see to it the website is properly advertised. A specialized team carries with it several advantages, one of them being its ability to professionally deliver to a client. The team should be responsible for maintaining the current traffic as well as working on increasing it. This will allow the organization to focus on other important things, as the team will be handling any business being transacted on the website. The organization can as well incorporate an information and technology department; they will be carrying on with the same responsibility as the specialized team. The difference between the specialized team and the I.T department will only be the terms of work whereby in the hired team, it will be on a short-term basis, while in the I.T team it will be permanently.

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A good website should be able to increase the sales in an organization, this is due to the wide coverage it has. The website is no longer popular among the youths; hence its application is not limited to age making it more convenient to reach additional customers. The fact that a good website is running then the sale revenue of an organization can also be guaranteed. Going with the fact that an increase in potential customers will reflect an increase in the sale revenue. These factors among others make it paramount to ensure the website is in a good condition at all times and most important of all, people know of its existence (Cichille, 65).

Consultative selling is the selling whereby consultations play an imperative role in the process of selling. This is usually coordinated by an experienced consultant who delegates the duty to his or her subordinates. This type of selling is important in that, it improves customer relationships with the organization. This helps create future deals with the customer or client, hence maintaining the current clients. The organization can also inform the client of any new products or services. It becomes also possible for the organization to inform the customer of any inconveniences that might happen shortly in its business (Carter, 45). This is made possible by the fact that the organization has the contacts and addresses of the client mainly due to consultative selling.

Consultative selling helps an organization to probe the client and get important information that may proceed as feedback. Feedback enables an organization to collect information to be used to gauge the level of customer satisfaction. The organization can come up with consultative selling by delegating part of its sales personnel the task of consultation. This is preferable to creating another department dealing with consultation, as it would be cumbersome and technical.

The consultation duties should be carried out by trained professionals; this is because it is very sensitive in its capacity, as it deals with the customer in a direct method (Cichelli, 134). The consultants should have all the information that the customer may need. The consultant should also probe the client to get any necessary information that might be of help to the organization; this also enables the organization to improve on its goods and services.

As much as one would be quick to highlight the pros to consultative selling, one cannot help but outline the cons as well (McLeod, 117). These may include time consumption, the consultants will be checking out for information from the clients and this may take a lot of time. Even though not all consultations will consume a lot of time they are still not as time-friendly as compared to other conventional methods. This problem can be dealt with by ensuring only trained personnel gets to direct contact with the client.

Another disadvantage of consultative selling is that it is very expensive that is when compared with conventional methods which may include mailing and telephone. One of the reasons why consultative selling is expensive is the employment of sales persons and experienced consultants. The unavailability of these experienced consultants is itself another disadvantage. Consultation is a complex psychological process that in most cases it entails convincing the customer about a product and service. This makes it a very delicate profession with only a lucky few being good at it.

Consultative selling will help buyers to identify their needs and at the same time suggest products that satisfy them. The consultation helps the client know what they want by advising them on the available products, by studying a customer’s preference and tastes’ a consultant can know the kind of product or service he or she wants. The consultant goes further by probing to know what exactly limits the customer to have what they want. After he or she has this information it becomes possible for the company to know how to deal with it and make the necessary adjustments to enable the client to enjoy the products he or she so desires.

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Consultation selling should be done in such a manner that enough information is collected to help improve customer support this can be done by incorporating feedback in this type of selling. Also, the organization may collect complaints from current and past customers to help it improve its services.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Skelton trucks limited first of all has to establish what it wants the sales force to do for it, this is paramount as it will help in obtaining optimum results. Another important thing to note is the fact that the sales force might do very well,l but then it poses another problem. That is to say, an increase in sales due to the sales force will result in an increase in trade, and might lead to poor customer care services. However, the company can work to ensure it maintains optimal sales levels.

The development of websites has seen the growth of industries and companies. The company has to take advantage of this but at the same time, it should keep in mind that it has to market it. Not all companies have benefitted from websites as some have failed to market themselves hence proving the importance of marketing a website.

Consultative selling as seen above is of paramount importance, this puts the company a step ahead. Consultative selling is all around as it gives the company a chance to collect information about its customers, get instant feedback from the client as well as receive complaints.

Works Cited

Carter, Tony. Contemporary Sales Force Management. New York: Routledge, 2008.

Cichelli, David. Compensating the Sales Force. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004.

Lidstone, John. Motivating your Sales Force. Gower Publishing, Ltd., 2005.

McLeod, Doug. The Zero-Turnover Sales Force: How to Maximize Revenue by Keeping Your Sales Team Intact. London: AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn, 2010.

Rackman, Neil & DeVincentis, John. Rethinking the Sales Force: redefining selling to create and capture customer value. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999.

Zoltners, Andris, Sihna, Prabhakant & Lorimer, Sally. Building a Winning Sales Force: Powerful Strategies for Driving High Performance. New York: AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn, 2009.

Zoltners, Andris, Sihna, Prabhakant & Lorimer, Sally. Sales Force Design for Strategic Advantage. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

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