Sales Force Management [chapter]

J. Clement Sudhahar
2016 Strategic Marketing Management in Asia  
Sales training is considered critical in a marketing organization because it improves "sales competencies such as creativity in the sales process, problem solving, ethical decision making, and effective listening skills." 1 According to scholars such as Attia, Honeycutt, and Leach, 2 sales force training improves the effectiveness of marketing strategies, specifically to achieve higher sales and consumer satisfaction. Leach and Liu 3 report that effective sales training programs improve
more » ... tional commitment, sales performance, and customer relations. Studies have assessed the influence of training from the perspectives of both buyers and sellers to get 360-degree feedback. 4 However, previous sales management studies have not explored how training influences knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors of both the sales force and consumers, attributes that are at the core of a consumer persuasion process. We contribute to the sales force training literature by exploring these influences using Donald Kirkpatrick's model 5 for evaluating the effectiveness of sales training. Kirkpatrick's model recommends carrying out the process in four steps: at level 1 (the reactions stage), trainees provide information on how much they like and comprehend the training program. Level 2 (the learning stage) entails assessment of the skills and knowledge trainees have acquired and how their attitude toward the subject matter has changed. Level 3 (the transfer stage) emphasizes ascertaining whether trainees' changes in knowledge and attitude transfer to change in sales behavior. Level 4 (the results stage) measures change in sales and consumer performance as a result of sales training. While the influence of sales training on sales force performance has been investigated in large-, small-, and medium-sized commercial companies 6 as well as public sector organizations, 7 previous studies have failed to assess the influence of training efforts on social behavior change. Influencing social behaviors (e.g., replacing unsafe sex with condom use or delaying childbirth) is considered to be more challenging than influencing commercial behaviors (e.g., switching brands of soda; Lee and Kotler 8 ), requiring a higher level of personal selling 9 and hence increasing the importance of sales force training in the social sector. We thus test the Kirkpatrick model in an under-researched and rapidly growing area of the social sector. Specifically, we look at Project PRACHAR (Promoting Change in Reproductive Behavior) of Pathfinder International India and its efforts to assess the influence of training of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), the frontline health workers, to promote reproductive and child health services and increase their utilization among women of reproductive age. Health services by social sector are an important component of the health sector in any society. In countries like India, healthcare is delivered by the public healthcare and commercial and noncommercial private sectors. Of these, the noncommercial private and the public healthcare systems are largely under-researched, although they cater to large sections of society, especially the poor. A study conducted in a social healthcare setting, especially among frontline health workers, will potentially benefit both the
doi:10.1108/978-1-78635-746-520161016 fatcat:2lye4uvyevdyhjccid7cfgtr7i