Identify, locate and interview a sales executive (in person or via phone/zoom) of a company of your choice (public company preferable). By definition, this would be a key individual in the firm who not only has sales responsibility, but also manages a sales force. Your interview should be a fluid, dynamic conversation with this salesperson. Prepare a written summary and analysis of your learnings. As well, you will present your findings to the class.
• Become familiar with interviews as research sources.
• Practice sound interviewing techniques and preparation.
• Demonstrate accurate note taking and use of quotations.
• Synthesize raw data (your interview notes as well as library research) into a
cohesive and informative essay.
• Learn through firsthand interaction key elements of Sales Management.
• Analyze the company’s Sales Management effectiveness/make recommendations.
PAPER CONTENTS: Your paper should have the following sections:
1. Company and Industry Background: Describe the context in which the sales function operates. Include a brief company history, description of company objectives, management philosophy, strategy, etc. You must do library research on the industry and company and present an overview relevant to the sales position (role of personal selling as related to the broad picture of company/industry.)
2. Description of Sales Manager’s Position: Provide background information as to the qualifications of the sales manager’s position: What previous job experience they had on their way to this current position? How many people do they manage? How much time do they spend working with their reps vs. office paperwork? Etc.
3. Organization of the sales function: Define the position and role of the sales function within the organization. Include a description of job responsibilities, lines of communication, territory division, account management practices and assignment. An org chart would be helpful (attach as an appendix to your report.)
4. Recruiting and Selection: Who performs the recruiting function, how are candidates identified, what selection procedures are used, what training programs do new recruits participate in, who conducts the training sessions?
5. Compensation: How are individuals paid, what compensation methods are used, what methods of motivation does the firm use, what rewards are given, etc.?
6. Territory Assignments: How are sales territories and quotas assigned?
7. Performance Appraisals: How often, who performs them, what is the impact on
compensation as a result of the performance appraisal?
8. Analysis and Recommendations: Critique the sales management activities of the firm that you have studied. What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong? Where could they improve? (In fact, you might ask your sales executive these same questions!) Good recommendations will incorporate class material with the information you gathered in the interview and from your library research.
• Write an essay (paragraph form) to recap your interview. Do not use question and answer format.
• Your paper should be typed and the title should include the name of the business and the name of the executive you interviewed.
• Begin your paper with a strong thesis statement and end with a strong conclusion statement that includes your own thoughts and opinions.
• Attach your handwritten interview notes and questions to your paper.
• References: Cite all library and published company information that was useful in supporting your paper. Include names and titles of the people you spoke with at your company.
• Aim to have half of your work summarizing how the company operates and the other half on recommendations/critique.
• Proofread and make your paper/presentation error free!
• Be professional and be prepared. Respect the executive’s time and your own.
Prepare a professional interview guide and list of questions.
• Schedule your interview in advance; show up on time – be friendly, but focus on your objectives.
• Start early: Do your background library research on the company and schedule an interview by midterms.
• When interviewing your selected company, do not ask for proprietary information.
Executives will most likely not give it to you, and it is not an assigned part of the project to uncover company secrets.
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: These are just some of the questions you can/should ask your sales executive. There are many more questions that could (and should) be asked (see paper requirements above!) Be creative and curious!
1. What strategies most directly affect the role of the salesforce?
2.How does your sales force strategy compare to that of your key competitors?
3.What career paths are typical. for a successful salesperson in your company?
4.How do you determine how many sales reps to employ?
5.How is the sales budget determined?
6. What training programs do you provide?
7. How are sales quotas set? What are the compensation plans/evaluation methods?
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