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Calvin Sales Management Newsletter, Laws, and Thoughts

Custom Corporate
Sales Management


Calvin at
 University of Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business

of Effective Sales Management

Key Points

Hiring the Right Salespeople

Training for Results

The Fundamentals of Organizing Your Sales Force to Maximize Results

Introduction to Effective Compensation Packages

The Basics of Sales Planning, Forecasting, and Expense Budgets


Performance Management

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Copyright 2007-2015
Dimensions, Inc


Sales Management and Entrepreneurship Newsletter

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As a sales manager in 2007, your sales force struggled with selling customers at higher prices and with delayed deliveries. In the Fall of 2008 your sales force is struggling with dramatically declining demand and a shrinking customer base. With sales people's performance pay on the decline and anxiety on the rise, how can you keep sales people motivated. Here are a few helpful ideas that have worked well in the past.

1. Show confidence in a rebound. At a sales meeting or one on one discuss past recessions and recoveries. How long did the dip last, how deep was the sales decline and how high was the recovery. Sales people need to know that your industry has been through this before. If the future is like the past, here is what they can expect.

2. Emphasize market share and customer share growth as a goal rather than just revenue and income growth. You might have to temporarily increase fixed pay to offset lower performance pay. The sales person's goal now is to get a larger share of a reduced market. This probably will require more time to do relationship building and entertaining. Emphasize spending more time with customers even at the expense of more orders. When market demand increases this will result in revenue increases.

3. Have sales people target mid-sized and smaller accounts and mid-sized and smaller orders. Small wins can make sales people feel more useful, important and worthwhile in difficult markets. In declining markets small wins can off-set some of the feelings of rejection.

4. Reduce sales people's non-essential administrative tasks and activity reporting. This usually helps morale.

5. As sales manager spend extra time doing field coaching, training at sales meetings, and empathetic listening. Let sales people know you understand their challenges and are available to help them.

During periods of weak demand, training represents an excellent way to motivate sales people. Through training in product, competitor, customer knowledge and selling skills, sales people receive a feeling of self-realization and fulfillment. They feel more skilled this year than last year and although revenues are down, better prepared for the rebound.

6. Examine each area where your company interacts with the customer. How can this interaction and service be improved whether in engineering, order entry or delivery? This type support motivates sales people and in periods of weak demand helps to increase market share.

7. Get top management involved with the sales force. This helps to make sales people feel more useful, important and worthwhile. It also improves top down and bottom up communication.

8. As sales manager be sure to promptly return phone calls and emails from sales people. In motivating sales people little things mean a lot.

In managing your sales force have a plan for dealing with a recession, be pro active not reactive. Listed above are eight ideas which might prove helpful in maintaining motivation.

To discuss this subject, email  Bob Calvin at

To find out more about this subject:
Attend the University of Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business Graduate School Of Business Workshop on the "Fundamentals Of Sales Force Management" or read one of the following books by Robert J. Calvin published by McGraw-Hill.

"Sales Management, The McGraw-Hill Executive MBA Series"

"Sales Management Demystified"