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The aim of this unit is to provide learners with an understanding of sales planning, sales management, and the selling process, which can be applied in different markets and environments.
Selling is a key part of any successful business, and most people will find that they need to use sales skills at some point in their working life – if only to persuade or win an argument. For anyone who is interested in sales as a professional career it pays to understand the basics of selling, to practice, and plan. This unit will introduce learners to the theory of selling and sales planning, and give them the opportunity to put their personal selling skills into practice. The unit starts with an overview of how personal selling fits within the overall marketing strategy for a business. Learners will be taken through the main stages of the selling process, and be expected to put them to use. Once they are confident about the selling process, learners will investigate the role and objectives of sales management. This is knowledge that can be applied to a wide range of organisations. Finally, learners will be able to start planning sales activity for a product or service of their own choice – this is another valuable skill that is transferable to many different situations learners may find themselves in as they move into employment or higher education.
Promotion mix: personal and impersonal communication; objectives of promotional activity; push-pull strategies; integrating sales with other promotional activities; evaluating promotion; allocation of promotion budget
Understanding buyer behaviour: consumer and organisational purchase decision-making processes; influences on consumer purchase behaviour (personal, psychological, social); influences on organisational buyer behaviour (environmental, organisational, interpersonal, individual); purchase occasion; buying interests and motives; buyer moods; level of involvement; importance and structure of the DMU (Decision Making Unit); finding the decision-taker; distinction between customers and users
Role of the sales team: definition and role of personal selling; types of selling; characteristics for personal selling; product and competitor knowledge; sales team responsibilities (information gathering, customer and competitor intelligence, building customer databases, prospecting and pioneering, stock allocation, maintaining and updating sales reports and records, liaison with sales office); sales team communications; the role of ICT in improving sales team communications
Principles: customer-oriented approach; objective setting; preparation and rehearsal; opening remarks; techniques and personal presentation; need for identification and stimulation; presentation; product demonstration and use of visual aids; handling and pre-empting objections; techniques and proposals for negotiation; buying signals; closing techniques; post sale follow-up; record keeping; customer relationship marketing (CRM)
Sales strategy: setting sales objectives; relationship of sales, marketing and corporate objectives; importance of selling in the marketing plan; use of marketing information for planning and decision making (sources and collection methods); role of sales forecasts in planning; quantitative and qualitative sales forecasting techniques; strategies for selling
Recruitment and selection: importance of selection; preparing job descriptions and person specifications; sources of recruitment; interview preparation and techniques; selection and appointment Motivation, remuneration and training: motivation theory and practice; team building; target setting; financial incentives; non-financial incentives; salary and commission-based remuneration; induction training; training on specific products; ongoing training and continuous professional development (CPD); training methods; preparation of training programmes; the sales manual
Organisation and structure: organisation of sales activities (by product, by customer, by customer type; by area); estimation and targeting of call frequency; territory design; journey planning; allocation of workload; team building; creating and maintaining effective working relationships; sales meetings; sales conferences
Controlling sales output: purpose and role of the sales budget; performance standards: performance against targets (financial, volume, call-rate, conversion, pioneering); appraisals; self-development plans; customer care
Database management: importance of database building; sources of information; updating the database; use of database to generate incremental business and stimulate repeat purchase; use of database control mechanisms; importance of ICT methods in database management; security of data; Data Protection Act
Sales settings: sales channels (retailers, wholesalers, distributors, agents multichannel and online retailers); importance of market segmentation: business-tobusiness (BTB) selling; industrial selling; selling to public authorities; selling for resale; telesales; selling services; pioneering; systems selling; selling to project teams or groups
International selling: role of agents and distributors; sources, selection and appointment of agents/distributors; agency contracts; training and motivating agents/distributors; use of expatriate versus local sales personnel; role, duties and characteristics of the export sales team; coping in different cultural environments; the role of ICT in communicating with an international sales team
Exhibitions and trade fairs: role, types and locations of trade fairs and exhibitions; how trade fairs and exhibitions fit in with corporate strategy and objectives; setting objectives for participation in an exhibition; audience profile and measurement; qualification and follow-up of exhibition leads; evaluation of exhibition attendance; setting budgets; financial assistance for exhibition attendance; principles of stand design
Learners must have access to a suitable business teaching environment with access to the internet in order to carry out research. They also require access to a range of organisations that have active sales teams currently engaged in personal selling. Tutors could consider building a bank of contacts and resource materials to ensure there is a sufficient supply of relevant information across a range of business types and sectors.