Managing the Sales Force

Various policies and procedures guide the firm in recruiting, selecting, training, supervising, motivating, and evaluating sales representatives to manage its sales force (see Figure 17.2).

Recruiting and Selecting Representatives

At the heart of any successful sales force are appropriately selected representatives. It’s a great waste to hire the wrong people. The average annual turnover rate of sales reps for all industries is almost 20 percent. Sales force turnover leads to lost sales, the expense of finding and training replacements, and often pressure on existing salespeople to pick up the slack.20

FiGURE 17.2 Managing the Sales Force

Studies have not always shown a strong relationship between sales performance on one hand and background and experience variables, current status, lifestyle, attitude, personality, and skills on the other. More effective predictors of high performance in sales are composite tests and assessment centers that simulate the working environment and assess applicants in an environment similar to the one in which they would work.21 Although scores from formal tests are only one element in a set that includes personal characteristics, references, past employment history, and interviewer reactions, they have been weighted quite heavily by companies such as IBM.

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