15. leading the sales force

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Chapter 15:

Chapter 15 Leading the sales force

PowerPoint Presentation:

Prof. Sunitha Ratnakaram, Associate Professor, VVSB MBA, M. Phil, MFM, M. SC. (Psychology), UGC – JRF , (Ph. D)

In this chapter we will discuss: :

In this chapter we will discuss: Nature of leadership Characteristics of an effective leader Leadership styles of sales managers Skills essential for a leader

PowerPoint Presentation:

“Leadership is the ability to convince people to follow a path they have never taken to a place they have never been – and, upon finding it to be successful, to do it over and over again.” - John Mariotti The Enterprise group

Introduction :

Introduction Mary Kay’s visionary leadership Role of sales manager’s leadership style in influencing the effectiveness, performance, motivation and job satisfaction of the sales force.

Nature of leadership:

Nature of leadership “It is a process by which one person influences others to accomplish a mission, task or objective” Attributes that help develop leadership qualities : Beliefs, values, character, knowledge, skills, ethics, ability to take people along with

Nature of leadership – Contd..:

Nature of leadership – Contd.. True leaders decides where they are going and charts out a path of getting there Effective leadership is a prerequisite for the success of an organization

Nature of leadership – Contd..:

Leaders skillfully creates a feeling of healthy dissatisfaction about the prevailing situation and presents a vision of improved status – motivates sales people to work towards it and creates right environment for them. Nature of leadership – Contd..

Characteristics of an effective leader:

Characteristics of an effective leader Sales force automation, team selling, empowerment, reengineering etc. have resulted in an evolution of sales manager’s role & functions Managing sales teams means training them to take decisions on their own.

How does leaders differ from managers?:

How does leaders differ from managers? Leaders: Energizes & motivates team Have a mission & purpose Innovative & risk taking Make things happen Makes followers to perform at their best Managers Merely managers Makes sure of system only, not result oriented

Set of characteristics:

Set of characteristics Personal characteristics of the manager Needs & motives Bases of power Past experience

1.Personal characteristics of the manager:

1.Personal characteristics of the manager Some of the traits given below can make a sales manager as an effective leader Clarity Consistency Urgency Assertiveness Ego drive Ego strength Risk taking ability Innovativeness Empathy Eye for talent


Clarity Clear communication of organizational expectations to the team. Giving clarity of objectives Specification of accounts of strategic importance


Consistency Consistency in expectations to bring out the best in the sales force Consistency can be reflected in its compensation model, sales meetings or communication process

Urgency :

Urgency Should be able to perceive the urgency of a situation as well communicate to team. Urgency is the trait which can differentiate competent manager from laid back manager Customer queries and problems to be given more importance Finally, manager should be judicious in deciding which matter required to be treated with urgency


Assertiveness Should be able to assert his authority so that the sales teams obeys his orders Leader needs to be tough when the situation calls for it.

Ego drive:

Ego drive Level of satisfaction one derives by persuading others to take a particular action For a sales manager, ability to convince his sales representatives to perform in the way required to reach the desired goal. If sales person does well manager’s ego drive is satisfied.

Ego strength:

Ego strength Optimism & confidence to face rejection within himself and needs to ensure that all his sales persons too possess the same Positive thinking to be prevailed.

Risk taking ability:

Risk taking ability A manager who is always averse to risk cannot become a good leader Manager who takes risk may win the deal along with client’s good will Calculated risk always pays off in the long run


Innovativeness Manager should come up with innovative solutions for problems E.g. a sales person who brought in new mega client may want to serve him in all territories which would antagonize other sales persons. How to solve it?


Empathy Ability to sense the feelings of others Should understand the concerns and apprehensions of the sales persons, take personal interest in their problems, find ways to address the same For being empathetic, he should never compromise on organizational objectives E.g. firing a sales person Emphasize on increasing the bottom line.

Eye for talent:

Eye for talent It is important while hiring people, to identify right person for the right job Unsuitable candidates hampers organizational growth and even may result in losses too.

2.Needs & motives:

2.Needs & motives These too influence the development of leadership qualities. E.g. a person confined to social needs may not become a good leader, where as one who has self-esteem needs may prove to be a good leader

3. Bases of power:

3. Bases of power Sales manager can influence the sales people by exerting the following powers Expert power Referent power Legitimate power Reward power Coercive power

Expert power:

Expert power Originates from the expertise of the person in a position of authority This cannot be delegated It originates from knowledge & Information held, presentation, selling skills of the sales manager which brings respect from sales people.

Referent power:

Referent power It originates from the attraction that one person has to another Basis can be friendship, desire to identify with a successful person or feelings of shared identity Sales manager can have this due to his super salesman image.

Legitimate power:

Legitimate power It arises when the position held by one gives the right to command obedience from others The very relation between sales manager and sales person gives this power to manager It is based on societal and institutional acceptance of the relationship

Reward power:

Reward power It comes to one due to his authority to confer rewards on the other. E.g. sales manager has the power to evaluate the performance and reward accordingly.

Coercive power:

Coercive power It originates due to an individual’s perception that another person has the right to confer a reward or punishment on him It has a negative connotation

4. Past experience:

4. Past experience This prepares sales manager to deal with similar situations & similar individuals in a specific manner. E.g. a sales manager may have used authoritarian approach successfully to tackle a problematic person in the past, tend to use the same to deal with another person with similar traits.

Leadership styles of sales managers:

Leadership styles of sales managers In general, leadership styles have been studies on the basis of following 3 factors Who is involved in decision making Manner in which sales goals are achieved How the sales persons are compensated, rewarded, or punished

Leadership styles of sales managers:

Traditional leadership styles Autocratic style Bureaucratic style Consultative style Democratic style Laissez-faire leadership Modern leadership styles Transactional leadership Transformational leadership Situational leadership model Leadership styles of sales managers

Autocratic style:

Autocratic style He gives orders and expects his subordinates to obey them He instructs every aspect of the job to the subordinate Suitable for new and inexperienced sales persons

Bureaucratic style:

Bureaucratic style Here the sales manager abides by the rules, policies, and procedures of the organization and expects the sales people also to do the same Strictly enforces the above even if he is not the creator of the same

Consultative style:

Consultative style Consults subordinates before making decision but, he makes the final decision after reviewing all the other view points E.g. Involving employees in designing a new compensation system It is suitable when the sales force is harmonious in nature and people are experienced.

Democratic style:

Democratic style Similar to that of consultative style with a difference that final decision is taken based on majority vote. It is suitable when the sales force is small in size, concentrated in one area and sufficient time is there for making a decision. Suitable for experienced sales force only

Laissez-faire leadership:

Laissez-faire leadership Here sales manager sets goals but gives total freedom to sales managers to manage their accounts Least supervision, direction control Suitable when independent representatives are working under the manager.

Modern leadership styles:

Modern leadership styles Most organizations today are characterized by modern styles of leadership. They are Transactional leadership Transformational leadership Situational leadership model

Transactional leadership:

Transactional leadership Most common style being followed today Here the interaction of sales manager and sales person is more of a exchange process with an implied agreement. It has three components: Contingent rewards Management by exception Follower’s level of experience

Transformational leadership:

Transformational leadership Transaction leader identifies the current needs of sales persons and tries to satisfy them where as transformational leaders identifies the latent needs of the sales persons transforms in to current needs and motivates sales people to satisfy those needs. E.g. May Kay cosmetics

Characteristics of transformational leaders:

Characteristics of transformational leaders Charisma Inspirational motivation Intellectual stimulation Anticipates future needs Individualized consideration


Charisma Comprises magnetic personality Other traits Risk taking ability Assertiveness High level of confidence Persistence Determination Courage This influences the sales persons in his team to share his sense of vision and mission

Inspirational motivation:

Inspirational motivation Conveys the sales persons of his high expectations and motivates to improve them selves to take new challenges He uses symbols, language and images to project the future and tries for continuous improvement

Intellectual stimulation:

Intellectual stimulation Encourages followers to think creatively Cautions sales people not to blindly accept assumptions but to question their validity. Devises innovative prospecting and selling methods for sales persons. Contributes toward maintaining organizational stability E.g. Hershey chocolates follows proactive approach of recruiting where they see unsolicited applications as an opportunity to source people with initiative and inner drive.

Anticipates future needs:

Anticipates future needs Anticipates future needs and takes precautionary steps to prevent later problems Thomas Watson of IBM is known for his ability to encourage constructive thinking among employees. “Think” pervaded every where in the organization.

Individualized consideration:

Individualized consideration Gives more importance to individual needs than administrative matters and policies. Gives personal attention & devices learning and development opportunities to each one of them. Practices management-by-walking-around which enables him to understand the needs of the sales people.

Transformational leadership:

Transformational leadership Sales people working for these managers feel more satisfied. Committed, less stressed than who work fro transactional leaders

Situational leadership model:

Situational leadership model One of the popularly accepted models from all the contingency theories which can be named as under Path goal theory Normative theory Contingency leadership theory Few companies which follow this model are Caterpillar, IBM, Xerox, Mobil Oil, and Bank of America.

PowerPoint Presentation:

S 1 S 2 S 3 S 4 Relation ship behavior Task behavior Low Low High High Situational leader ship model High task behavior Low relationship behavior High task behavior High relationship behavior Low task behavior High relationship behavior Low task behavior Low relationship behavior

Situational leadership model:

Situational leadership model Manager should adopt an appropriate leadership style based on the maturity of the subordinates. But, later researchers, it is the readiness of the subordinates and not their maturity that determines the leadership style of the manager

Skills essential for a leader:

Skills essential for a leader To be effective as a leader, a manager should possess certain soft skills. Delegation skills Communication skills Team-building skills Administrative skills Interpersonal skills

Delegation skills:

Delegation skills To be an effective leader, sales manager has to learn to delegate responsibility to his sub ordinates What to delegate, whom to delegate depends on the level of trust he has on subordinates Helps in enhancing the morale & commitment of the subordinates.

Communication skills:

Communication skills Should be able to clearly communicate to the sales force about the market trends and organizational expectations For giving effective feed back Effective listening skills are an equally important component Communication should be an on going process

Communication skills – Contd.:

Presentations at the time of campus recruitments and business plans presentations, addressing large gathering are testing points. Listening skills are required to listen customers as well E.g. Cisco entered into LAN switches, when a net work manager of Boeing corporation told that these have greater potential in future. Communication skills – Contd.

Team-building skills:

Team-building skills Much important when sales persons are engaged in team selling.

Administrative skills:

Administrative skills This is to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of sales force irrespective of whether they are concentrated or dispersed geographically Disciplinary skills to enforce discipline among subordinates

Interpersonal skills:

Interpersonal skills These are required to interact with a wide variety of people inside & out side of the organization (peers, top management, subordinates and stake holders) Good interpersonal skills helps in projecting a positive image of the company and sales force.

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