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Marketing Basics - Kotler Philip

Setting objectives for the company's trading apparatus

Firms set different tasks for their sales staff. IBM sales agents are responsible for the “sale, installation and modernization” of computer equipment used by customers. Trading agents of the ATT Corporation are responsible for “attracting customers, selling them company products and protecting the interests” of the existing clientele. As a rule, sales agents are entrusted with the performance of one or a number of the following functions: finding and attracting new customers; distribution of information about the goods and services of the company; making a sale, including making contact, arguing, overcoming objections, and completing a transaction; provision of services; market research; collection of information and reporting on the results of visits; distribution of goods, because sales agents are able to assess the quality characteristics of customers and properly distribute goods between them, which are scarce in a given period of time.

Individual firms pose more and more specific tasks for their sales staff, more clearly define the scope of its activities. For example, one firm recommends that its sales agents devote 80% of their time to existing customers and 20 potential, devote 85% of their time to working with entrenched goods, and 15-working with new products3. In the absence of such instructions, sales agents strive to devote most of their time to selling rooted goods to existing customers, with almost no attention to new products and new potential customers.

As the company increasingly focuses on the market, its sales staff also needs appropriate orientation. Sales agents must know how to achieve customer satisfaction and at the same time provide profit to the company. They should be able to analyze trading statistics, measure market potential, collect market information and develop marketing approaches and plans. A sales agent must have marketing analysis skills. These skills are especially necessary for specialists in the highest echelons of sales management. Market leaders believe that ultimately, a trading apparatus that focuses on market needs, rather than increasing sales, is more effective.