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The Sales Process from a Project Manager’s Perspective

STUDENT PAPER

By Jonas Fieux Bencze

SKEMA Business School

Paris, France

 



ABSTRACT

This case study was done within the framework of the class “International Project Contract”, under Doctor Paul D Giammalvo’s oversight for the Master “Programme and Project Management and Business Development” of Skema Business School.

Its aim is to analyse the sales process, the lifecycle of the product (start, production and end) under the control of the sales management. The core base of such a study here was the role of the sales manager-ment during the entire process.

There are different approaches to a proper sales management, which is quite ironic as theory and practice are two distinct things here. On one hand, it’s quite hard to understand how far management influences the process, on the other hand it is quite interesting to see how far it has a direct impact on the risks that may be posed by such a process.

Key Words: Project Requirements / Production / Delivery / Responsibility / Logistic / Sales Management

INTRODUCTION

As keynote sales speaker Mark Hunter has explained, “It’s not about having the right opportunities. It’s about handling the opportunities right.” Even the least performant companies do have opportunities which they must handle right in order to move on. This example pretty much underlines how far the sales process is a complicated task and how far various actors of the company may deal with it.

The sales process may be (prior to the organization and structure of a company) the central part of a firm. It implies the purchase of goods and services so that it can be embedded to the company’s schemes. But this procedure can’t simply be seen as a mere acquisition, it also implies a purchase order which is the the formal and legal side of the transaction. In fact, beforehand there must be a precise definition of how the good or service is going to be fabricated, when it is going to be delivered and how it will be installed. This actually underlines the worries of the CSO of a company: they try to erase as many shadow points as possible in order to ensure the projects proper delivery.

Furthermore, this sales process is hiding who actually pulls the strings: the sales manager. For a correct sales process there needs to be a proper sales management. The main objective isn’t getting rid of guessing points but rather being able to set the priorities of the process so that counterparts and other actors can understand the thorny issues they have to be meticulous with. Also, through a proper sales management, company’s employees know what part they are clearly assigned to. Thanks to that and general meetings, the sales manager can have a frequent comeback of its co-workers, thus enhancing a good synergy and a good progress of the different procedures.

To put it simply, there are three sore points that need to be closely looked at by the manager:

  1. A proper definition of the thorny issues through a clear purchase order.
  2. A prioritization of the different tasks thanks to an efficient sales management.
  3. Good communication and feedback in order to enhance the company’s performance.

As a result, this initial study of the subject leads to the following problematic:

To which extant does the project manager have an impact on the sales management process? How far does he have the control on the project delivery?

Feasible alternatives

  1. Precisely define the needs and identify sore points
  2. Establish a solution meaning the right approach to the problems
  3. Set up an agenda and a program for the team that states clearly roles and duties
  4. Enhance teamwork, emphasizing frequent feedback to keep a clear overview

Development of the outcomes

1) Precisely define the needs and identify sore points

Even though in theory sales management follows clear rules, the practice is way vaguer on this point. In fact, many decisions depend on a concrete situation and can’t accept a pre-established protocol. Taking care of the sales management mustn’t be confused with having a rather supportive role (like coaching) in a team. Thus, defining the needs has to be seen as the process of properly defining the thorny issues that may undermine the whole project. Thus, by knowing precisely what issues the team may come across, the project won’t be endangered and they keep a clear overview on budget and prices. By using this method, managers keep in mind future problems and adapt to it on long term.

2) Establish a solution meaning the right approach to the problems

This methodology provides comfort and serenity to the team. Through a very simple analyse of the solution, the sales management follows a rather ‘classic’ process, meaning: representatives meet with the manager, quickly analyse the situation and directly offer potential solutions. In a rather unsophisticated comparison, this method can be seen as a “Realpolitik”. It is a move forward and adapt to the situation analysis: whether problems are known or not, they will be taken care of at a given time.

3) Set up an agenda and a program for the team that states clearly the roles and duties

This a very strict and rigorous method. No sore points are left without precise analysis: be it budget, time management or even team coaching. Everything has to be closely managed and known. By doing this, managers make sure to keep a complete control of things so that nothing will ever be a bother. Through those mechanism, the team moves on in a rather confident way as they believe they won’t have to face any sort of thorny issues.

More…

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Editor’s note: Student papers are authored by graduate or undergraduate students based on coursework at accredited universities or training programs.  This paper was prepared as a deliverable for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director [email protected].



About the Author


Jonas Fieux Bencze

France and Germany




Jonas Fieux Bencze
, is a curious and eager to discover new horizons student. Currently doing his M2, he is about to finish his 3-year program in project management and business development. He possesses a French and German background and has experienced life in both countries. These origins are the roots for his will to discover new people.

He was lucky enough to experience and be part of the world of work. Those experiences and origins mainly explains his interest in Project Management. Yet he wants to go further and has already increased new opportunities. His desire to try to explain the complex world of management can also be explained by his German sense of organization and his French creativity that he likes to apply to the further knowledge he would like to acquire so that he can build great things in his future workplace.