Chapter 7 Selecting the Global Sales Force Sales Management: A Global Perspective Earl D. Honeycutt John B. Ford Antonis C. Simintiras Introduction • Sales force selection one of most important decisions made by sales manager – Operate independently, at great distances, in culturally distinct situations – Essential to hire highly skilled & competent salespersons Hiring Process • Hiring process consists of four steps: – Determining the skills, knowledge and attitudes required for the open position – Attracting sufficient applicants – Conducting an interview process that accurately assesses applicant qualifications – Making an offer to one or more applicants Importance of Selection • Poor selection decisions lead to turnover – Costs are staggering – Total costs include generating applicants, screening the applications, interviewing and assessing applicants, training, salary, and foregone costs of lost sales – This can equal 150% of annual salary • Formalized selection process necessary Global Sales Force Decisions • Expatriates – salespersons or managers transferred from the home country – Technical expertise and a seasoned understanding of the company • Local Nationals – personnel from the country of operations – Understand local markets and culture/language • Third-country – salespersons or managers that work for a global firm in a third country – Global citizens with cross-cultural expertise Characteristics of Success • MNCs use educational levels, interview skills, and previous experience to gauge successful candidates (Randall & Randall 1990) – Interviews can lack reliabilty • Must identify needed skills and expertise • Essential to prepare for and conduct a formal interview Characteristics of Success • Aptitude – intelligence, verbal ability • Personal Characteristics – self-esteem, need for dominance, sociability, power • Skill levels – presentation, vocation, management • Role perceptions – understand expectations of firm and customer • Motivation – devoting necessary time • Organizational/Environmental factors – firm prestige or reputation Meta-Analysis • In a landmark study, a meta-analysis was conducted of all previous studies (Churchill, Walker, Hartley and Walker 1985) • No one area significantly contributed to success; however: – Skill levels and role perceptions appeared to be most responsible for success • Areas sales managers can influence Identifying Successful Characteristics • Job Analysis – determines how salespersons currently spend time and how ideally they should devote time • Job Description – describes what salesperson will be required to do • Job analysis used to write job description and job description used to find correct applicants Generating Applicants • Internal Applicants – known, observed, and acculturated (e.g. engineers, manufacturing) • External Applicants – Advertisements – Employment agencies – Educational institutions – Job Fairs/Career Conferences – E-Recruiting • Creative External Applicants Sources – Military veterans, 400 applicants in Hong Kong Selection Procedures • A Five-Step Process: – Application Forms – Tests – Personal Interview – References – Physical Exam • Steps examine different applicant areas and should be consistent and supportive Application Form • Standardized form – Provides consistent information about all applicants – Applicant must read and follow instructions – Information can be used by managers to plan interview Tests • Used as a confirmatory input to the interview process – Personality tests used to evaluate traits – Intelligence tests to assess mental abilities – Aptitude tests to measure interest or ability to perform • Tests must be valid and predict success Personal Interview • Most important step of hiring process – Applicant must respond to questions and interact with interviewer – US applicants try to sell themselves – Not the case in other cultures • Three types of interviews – Structured, Unstructured and Stress – Each has advantages and disadvantages References • How has applicant performed in the past? – Speak to former employers • Check facts of employment – Applicants primarily list references who will provide positive remarks – When permitted, ask references for other names – Check with clients, former employers, business associates, and financial references Physical Exam • Selling is hard work – Travel in diverse settings and time zones – Must be healthy and capable of performing • Physical defects could negate job offer • This is not legal in all nations, so sales manager must seek legal guidance when hiring Making the Job Offer • Once all applicants have been interviewed, they should be ranked • Contact the best qualified and see if they are still interested—if so offer job • Give applicant a specified period to accept • Send a confirmatory letter for the applicant to sign and return by the deadline Chapter Summary • Selection is very important for the firm – Sales manager must determine qualifications – Attract a sufficient pool of applicants – Interview and select the ―best qualified‖ – Make the job offer • Chapter provides manager with guidance – Following process increases probability of hiring the correct salesperson Discussion Questions • What are the advantages and disadvantages of hiring expatriate, local, and third-country salespersons? • What is the relationship between a job analysis and a job description? • Why is the personal interview often called the most important step in the hiring process?