Thomas N. Ingram, Raymond W. Laforge, and Charles H. Schwepker
This article considers the importance of job stress in the sales force to be an important management concern in many sales organizations. The complex business environment faces salespeople with escalating demands and expectations. There is continuous pressure to perform in the sales forces of most organizations. Stress is further compounded as salespeople regularly face non-routine situations, and often must work without the support that comes with supervision on a daily basis. The objective of this article is to examine the antecedents and consequences of job stress and to consider initiatives for reducing job stress among salespeople. While eliminating job stress in most sales organizations may be unfeasible, impractical, or even undesirable, the major negative effects of job stress require management initiatives to gain a reasonable level of control over salespeople's job stress. Finally, this article also develops a framework of salesperson job stress including antecedents, role stressors, and consequences.
Thomas E. DeCarlo
This article examines the advantages and disadvantages of using manufacturer's representatives, and develops a framework for managing and compensating independent agents. Strategic decisions concerning whether the selling function should be performed using a company sales force, an outsourced partner, or combination of the two have an important impact on a firm's competitive advantage. Commission-compensated representatives do not take title of the product, do not set prices, usually do not handle merchandise, and do not sell competing products. However, they typically sell non-competing products. Several factors affect the decision to outsource the sales force, including the feasibility of building commitment with the independent representative, market coverage efficiencies, and selling effectiveness. Several advantages are offered including stability of the rep, market focused agility, portfolio selling capabilities, and risk reduction. Certain challenges are involved in managing the relationship. A different set of management competencies is required compared to a conventional in-house sales force.
This article first reviews the alternative theoretical approaches to human resource management that have been developed in the academic literature and discusses why these need to incorporate conceptual advances from services' marketing and operations management. Here, it also discusses the evidence regarding what strategies lead to better service and sales, under what conditions, and why. It then examines alternative organizational models that rely on outsourcing and supply chain management for customer service and sales and the arguments for and against these approaches. The next section reviews real world trends: what strategies are companies actually pursuing and what are the results for consumers and employees? The article closes with conclusions about the future direction of service management strategies and the role of HRM in them.
Mark W. Johnston
This article provides a critical review of two of the most important responsibilities of the sales manager: providing the programs and support for salespeople to improve critical skills, and creating a reward platform that motivates salespeople and encourages success, while offering financial security. Creating effective training programs and a reward system for salespeople are the demanding responsibilities facing every sales manager. Companies spend billions on training every year. Training and reward initiatives are complicated when salespeople are geographically deployed. This article presents a plan for developing and assessing successful training programs. It also discusses the importance of setting objectives, developing programs that actually add value to the sales force, and creating relevant and useful success metrics. In addition, it defines a winning reward strategy and creates an action plan for implementing it.