Sales is by far the most important function in any business organization because it is the only revenue-generating function. All other functions spend money. Selling is not easy but it has become even more challenging due to the changing business scenario.
Results dependent on other’s decisions: Sales people work with a kind of handicap in the sense that they are heavily dependent on the decisions of customers for their success. So, in a way, a salesman will be at a disadvantage when compared to say, a technician working on the shop floor. The technician is more in charge of his work environment and thereby his results.
Changing business scenarios: Also make the sales person’s job more complicated. Mergers and strategic alliances alter the market place, making the competition more intense. One good example is Renault Automobiles tying up with Nissan and taking on the bigger companies such as Ford or Chrysler. These kind of alliances were unheard of earlier where competing companies come together and take on a much bigger player. If you think for a while, these changes – the mergers, takeovers, alliances create a great turmoil in the market where sales people operate.
Disappearing home territories: Companies have expanded globally and most of the big companies have their presence in other countries apart from their country of origin. No longer is a market anybody’s home turf. There is nothing like home territory. We can’t say Unilever’s home territory is UK or for that matter Europe and therefore nobody can enter it. P & G is very much present wherever Unilever is present. So no large brand can claim assured returns in its home territory because every competitor at brand level, product level are in their backyard and this obviously makes sales that much more difficult and that much more impactful to the top and bottom lines of companies.
Newer distributions models: Added to this, there are new ways of selling, new distribution models. We also find a great leveler in the form of technology. A very small company can compete very effectively with a very large company using technology. These are all the new things that have changed the market scenario. These changes have made selling much more difficult.
Sales as a job is very difficult, operating in an extremely dynamic environment but nevertheless, the fortunes of a company are directly linked to the performance of its sales force. In such complex and dynamic market situations, training to sell has become more challenging.