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Successful companies focus on different aspects of their business. Some focus on the strength of their brand. Others focus on technological product innovations, develop into “solution providers” or commit themselves to commodity, high-volume bu- nesses. Other companies open international markets. Personal sales relationships with the customer play a decisive role in all of the stra- gies. The sales department does not merely assume the role of a mediator between suppliers and customers: it actively creates added value for customers. It adds value for customers through consultation, special offers and projects, and it coordinates the performance of the company. It negotiates fair prices. It also receives support from the numerous e-marketing, classical advertising, direct marketing, telephone marketing, trade fairs and events channels.In addition it draws on comprehensive research rega- ing the customer. Sophisticated corporate strategies only function when the sales department utilises them in interacting with key customers. Any successful market implementation begins with the sales department.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

1. Introduction: Excellence in sales and customer management

Abstract
Mercuri International, as the leading European sales consultation and training company, carried out one of the major international studies into success factors for excellence in sales together with the Institute of Marketing and Retailing from the University of St. Gallen in Autumn 2006. On the basis of this study we identified how companies can achieve excellence in sales and customer management.
Holger Dannenberg, Dirk Zupancic

2. The top 10 success factors for sales excellence

Abstract
Initially we were interested in which aspects of sales management most strikingly differentiated the high performers from the low performers. For this purpose we compared the differences in answers to questions between the high performers and low performers, as well as the average. The ten success factors we identified differentiate the company groups the most. In other words, the top performers utilise these aspects more frequently and more professionally. Using this approach we were able to identify a large number of clear success factors. The ten most important are shown in the illustration below. They will be covered and briefly explained (Dannenberg/Zupancic 2007) in the following sections. Further details will be provided in the course of this book.
Holger Dannenberg, Dirk Zupancic

3. Excellence in sales is an issue for the entire company

Abstract
Excellence in sales and customer management are not matters that solely concern sales employees. There is hardly a department that does not contribute towards the success of sales. The times are long past in which selling products and services was exclusively the task of the sales department. Today, there are numerous levels of contact that can have a considerable effect on sales success, between companies and customers outside sales. Thus every department and every employee within a company is directly or indirectly responsible for achieving excellence in sales (Briody 2007, p.36).
Holger Dannenberg, Dirk Zupancic

4. The interrelationship of marketing and sales strategies

Abstract
In the previous chapter we explained how factors relevant to sales should be built into the corporate strategy. The goals for other strategies, e.g. functional, product-relevant or regional, are then derived from the corporate strategy. In practice, we encounter numerous approaches to the interplay of various strategies within the company that are neither logically conceived nor can they be practically implemented with any success. Therefore in the following chapter we want to offer guidance as to how marketing and sales strategies relate to each other and should be developed. While the marketing department should set the goals for the sales strategy, on the other hand these goals require such a highly detailed knowledge of the market that they cannot realistically be developed and disseminated via a top-down process.
Holger Dannenberg, Dirk Zupancic

5. Development of successful sales strategies

Abstract
Even detailed corporate or marketing strategies often fail to provide information on how the sales department is to achieve the market positions envisaged in the strategy. The company trusts that sales knows its targets and will know what it has to do. Today many sales teams still tend to work intuitively rather than strategically (Holzheu 1996, p. 141). Working practices from the past simply continue with little or no precise planning or direction..
Holger Dannenberg, Dirk Zupancic

6. Sales strategy information base

Abstract
Every professional strategy is based on good analysis. The same applies to the sales strategy. The available instruments and tools are similar to those used in the corporate and marketing strategies. The corporate strategy specifies the customers and competitors as part of the definition of the relevant market. The marketing strategy should already be based upon an analysis of market segments. In the text that follows, therefore, we do not want to repeat information from standard textbooks on analysis for corporate and marketing strategies. A number of established sources already exist for this purpose. We will only explain those instruments and content we regard as being particularly relevant to the sales strategy.
Holger Dannenberg, Dirk Zupancic

7. Customer segmentation

Abstract
A sales team can only work efficiently and achieve its targets if it knows every customer’s potential and the extent to which that potential can be translated into sales revenue. If this is not the case then valuable sales resources are wasted on the “trial and error method”. A company’s customers should therefore be further subdivided within the specific market segments. Suitable criteria should be determined and combined for the evaluation.
Holger Dannenberg, Dirk Zupancic

8. Definition of sales process goals for customer segments

Abstract
After defining the customer segments and prior to designing the sales processes it is important to develop the link between both elements. For this purpose we recommend defining sales process targets.
Holger Dannenberg, Dirk Zupancic

9. Designing sales processes

Abstract
The definition of detailed targets for the retention, expansion or acquisition of new customers is a basic requirement for systematic sales work. These targets must then be used to drive concrete activities that combine to create different sales processes. Because sales personnel can only perform and sales managers can only manage concrete activities.
Holger Dannenberg, Dirk Zupancic

10. Management of sales processes

Abstract
A defined sales process with a detailed description of work steps and individual success rates forms the basis for managing sales work. Assigning success rates and the time requirement for each work step makes the demand on capacity transparent. On this basis an analysis can be carried out of the relative impact of different methods (e.g. different assignments of tasks within the sales team), and the effect of improvements in single steps on the overall earnings generated by a sales process, and on sales resources. Even established processes can be optimised by means of regular checks. As the saying goes:
Holger Dannenberg, Dirk Zupancic

11. Sales organisations

Abstract
The sales organisation is a topic that has been covered previously, and in depth (Belz 1996, p. 216). We will concentrate on what we consider to be the most important control point for optimisation.
Holger Dannenberg, Dirk Zupancic

12. Steering systems

Abstract
The next step towards excellence in sales and customer management is designing the steering systems. Compared to many other employees within the company, sales employees generally have a high degree of decision-making leeway when carrying out their work. Companies generally expect sales employees to spend the majority of their time visiting customers. This is automatically associated with a certain lack of awareness regarding where the employees really are, exactly what they doing, and how long they take to do it. As a result, companies need steering methods. Professional steering approaches ensure that sales employees are focused on the targets and conform to the company strategy.
Holger Dannenberg, Dirk Zupancic

13. Management in sales

Abstract
In many sales teams we still encounter the classic image of a salesperson: individual, headstrong, intuitive and difficult to control. At various points in this book we have remarked that this picture is one of unprofessional sales. Sales and salespeople can and must be controlled and managed, whether the individuals concerned like this or not. We believe that professional management as opposed to isolated work achieves better results for everyone concerned. We will therefore devote this section to three areas that we regard as important for sales management: management style, span of control and the role of the manager as coach.
Holger Dannenberg, Dirk Zupancic

14. Execution of sales work

Abstract
Until now we have primarily analysed the concepts, structures and instruments important for achieving excellence in sales and customer management. Now we will examine their implementation in direct customer contact between sales employees and customers. Sales remains a truly human process - despite its technical instruments and automation. Customers never make purely rational decisions. Salespeople will continue to exercise great influence on the purchase decision. In addition, they will increasingly become part of the performance and service themselves through complex forms of cooperation. The issue is how sales employees position themselves with customers in certain sales situations and how they adapt their sales styles to those different situations. Do they tend to be passive or (pro)active?
Holger Dannenberg, Dirk Zupancic

15. Digression: What salespersons can learn from top athletes

Abstract
Now let us indulge in a small digression. As we worked on this book we became aware of a number of parallels between excellence in sales and customer management, and excellence in sports. We subsequently examined this subject in more detail. One of the German Mercuri consultants and trainers, Christian Schulte, had played in the German national hockey team for many years, winning two world championships as well as a bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Athens. He helped us to transfer the principles of top athletes to salespersons.
Holger Dannenberg, Dirk Zupancic

16. Conclusion and outlook

Abstract
We are convinced – and have stressed this repeatedly in this book – that sales is not merely a channel to the customer. Once company sales and customer management have been correctly established they become competitive weapons. Moreover:
Holger Dannenberg, Dirk Zupancic

Backmatter

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