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Guidelines for Managing an International Sales Force


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Guidelines for Managing an International Sales Force

  1. 1. Earl D. Honeycutt, Jr. John B. Ford
  2. 2. Introduction Internationalization - expansion of the firms’ marketing and sales effort in other countries. Diverse customer needs for different countries “Do not automatically assume that what has worked in one country will work for another.” Close examination of the sales management process to effectively serve international clients.
  3. 3. Questions to Consider Do they currently buy Who are the target Are competitors local or products from consumers? multinational? competitors? If necessary, how do we Does the company effectively recruit, train,What buying process is possess the labor skills compensate, motivate employed by the needed or must outside and direct sales potential customer? personnel be hired? personnel for these markets?
  4. 4. Sales force Organization Structure Appropriate Conditions •Undeveloped Markets Geography •Small Sales volume •Similar Language /Culture, Single Product line Product •Established Market Customer •Broad Product lines •Large sales volume Combination •Large/Developed Markets •Distinct Language/ Culture
  5. 5. Advantages and Disadvantages of Salesperson Types Category Advantages DisadvantagesExpatriates •Product knowledge •Highest costs (e.g. •Trained for promotion turnover and training •Greater home control costs)Host Country •Economical •Needs product training •High market knowledge •Low esteem •Language skills •Importance of language •Best cultural knowledge skills declining •Implement faster •Not so loyalThird Country •Cultural sensitivity •Face identity problems •Language skills •Blocked promotions •Economical •Income gaps •Allows regional sales •Needs product/ coverage company Training •May allow sales to be in •Loyalty assurance conflict with the home country Based on culture!
  6. 6. Managing the Sales Force Sales Sales Sales Training Compensation Selection and Motivation Sales Sales Management Administration Control
  7. 7. Sales Selection More complicated for international customers Interviews lack reliability Be aware of cultural factors Clearly define expectations to sales personnel
  8. 8. Sales Training Viewed differently in each culture (methods vary) Exercise caution in translating manuals All should be trained in • How to sell • Company policies and procedures • Product line and performance information • Local market conditions
  9. 9. Sales Compensation andMotivation“Each culture has differentexpectations and motivations.” “Do not assume that similar compensation system works universally.” “Be sensitive in achieving balance between monetary and nonmonetary factors.”
  10. 10. Sales Administration What type of activities – office hours, reports, should be required? This differs depending upon cultural expectations. Sales automation is imperative for success. There is a need for awareness in how to properly communicate.
  11. 11. Sales Management Control Level of freedom given to overseas managers to make decisions Varies across cultures • Quantitative Measurement • Asia = Less, US = More Firms in highly competitive markets = increased level of controls Types of control should reflect a sensitivity to the local needs and conditions
  12. 12. Conclusions Similarities between domestic and international issues Opportunities are easy to recognize • Challenges are hard to overcome Globally oriented vision • Understanding of different cultures
  13. 13. Managerial ImplicationsMarketing and sales managers :1. must thoroughly understand the market the company is entering.2. should not automatically assume global markets are managed like domestic markets.3. must select the correct sales person for the situation.4. must consider the role of culture in every decision.