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Transformation of the Traditional Salesforce: Imperatives for Intelligence, Interface and Integration

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Abstract:

Many conventional sales organizations are under intense pressure from escalating customer demands for superior value, accompanied by the emergence of new business models that replace some traditional sales functions and processes (e.g., Internet-based direct channels, Customer Relationship Management technology), and new organizational strategies to partner with major customers (e.g., key account management and global account management). While this scenario suggests continued down-sizing and closure of conventional sales operations, particularly those with primarily order taking roles, it also identifies a major opportunity for the evolution of the conventional sales organization towards a strategic customer management role. Underpinning this role are three major issues: new ways of leveraging of intelligence to provide added-value for major customers, better management of the interfaces between sales and other parts of the organization to identify new value-creating opportunities; and, the integration of all processes and activities that impact on a company's ability to deliver seamless and superior value to customers. We identify the major challenges for marketing and sales executives to address in transforming the sales organization towards strategic customer management.

Keywords: CROSS-FUNCTIONAL; CUSTOMER VALUE; INTEGRATION; KEY ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT; SALES; STRATEGY; TRANSFORMATION

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1362/026725703322189959

Publication date: June 1, 2003

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