Personal-Selling Objectives and Personal-Selling Strategy

The qualitative personal-selling objectives vary with the kind of competitive setting. These objectives concern the nature of the contribution management expects personal selling to make in achieving long-term company objectives. These objectives influence both the nature of the sales job (that is, the kind of sales personnel needed) and the size of the sales force. For instance, a company that expects its salespeople to do the entire selling job (as when it does not plan to use advertising or other forms of promotion) needs a dif­ferent kind of sales staff, and a larger one, than does a company that expects its salespeople only to “service” existing accounts and backs them up with heavy advertising and other promotion. Qualitative objectives are long term and are carried over from one operating period to another. But when quali­tative objectives change, there are changes in the nature of the sales job and in the size of the sales force.

The quantitative personal-selling objectives also vary with the kind of competitive setting. These objectives are short term and are adjusted from operating period to operating period. In all competitive settings, companies regard the sales volume objective—the dollar or unit sales volume that is to be obtained during the period—as the most critical. In all competitive set­tings, too, most companies benefit from assigning other types of quantitative personal-selling objectives as, for instance, one directing that sales volume be obtained in ways that contribute to profit objectives (for example, by sell­ing the “proper” mix of products). In monopolistic and oligopolistic compet­itive settings, companies assign still other quantitative objectives, including ones specifying the securing and/or retaining of a certain market share.

Quantitative personal-selling objectives, like .the qualitative personal­selling objectives, influence both the nature of the sales job and sales force size. A company, for instance, that increases its sales volume objective sig­nificantly either expects its sales force to perform differently (that is, changes the nature of the selling job), or increases the size of the sales force, or, per­haps, does both. Being short term and changing from one period to the next, the quantitative personal-selling objectives, however, impact more upon the size of the sales force than upon the nature of the sales job. That is to say that, in all competitive settings and in nearly all companies, changing the nature of the sales job is a rarer event than changing the size of the sales force. Changes in the nature of the sales job, in addition, usually flow from changes in key qualitative personal-selling objectives.

Source: Richard R. Still, Edward W. Cundliff, Normal A. P Govoni, Sandeep Puri (2017), Sales and Distribution Management: Decisions, Strategies, and Cases, Pearson; Sixth edition.

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