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Sale representatives are vital members of an organization's workforce. Sale representatives deal with selling goods, services, and products to a company's target market or consumers. Fundamentally, a sale representative is an organization or an individual designated by an organization to solicit enterprise on its behalf in a foreign nation or a particular territory. Sale representative will market and sell product and services to government agencies, organizations and businesses, rather than vending directly to the end consumers. It is essential to understand that sale representative is indispensable to the wholesalers and manufacturers because they are the ones that market and promote the products and services on their behalf. Sale representatives chiefly focus on inside sales which usually encompasses "cold calling' for novel customers while in an office setting, or outside sales which normally incorporates visiting clienteles in the field with existing or new consumers. As such, most sales representatives will have an amalgamation of inside and outside sales job. This documentation will explore the business work routine of a sale representative at Apple Inc. and also explore the prospects for improvement under sales, marketing, confronting and dealing with complaints and order, receipt and document control.
Improving Sales and Marketing
According to Lancaster and Massingham (2017), sales are transactions between two parties where a consumer or a client receives goods or products (intangible or tangible), assets and/or services in exchange for money. In addition, sales may also refer to an agreement between a seller and a buyer on the price of a given security. As such, sales price refers to the total of the sum of unit cost and profit, this is regarded as a clean full cost calculus. It is calculated by the actual cost (self-expenses) minus plus profit.
As is needed in any profession, sale representatives at Apple Inc. must be organized, determined and prepared for different challenges. Versatility and quick to adapt are also essential skills that sales representatives must possess in the technology industry particularly because the business environment is constantly changing and sale representatives must be able to accommodate these changes (Lancaster and Massingham, 2017). For sales representatives to accomplish their everyday task, it essential to develop an elaborate business work routine to help in planning for their daily routine. As a sales representative, it is necessary to plan for activities beforehand. One should have a routine by developing a schedule in order to avoid time-wasting or failing to execute particular tasks. This can be created by marking out essential days on a calendar or creating a reminder on the phone. The fundamental success of an Apple Inc. (sales and profits) is dependent on the sales representatives.
According to Datta et al. (2017), approximately 57 percent of acquisition decisions are completed before the consumer contacts a supplier. With this in mind, sales representatives must prepare in order to boost the sales for Apple Inc. Apple's sales representatives have sales meeting twice a week, on Monday and Friday where they discuss events of that week. On Monday, sale representatives are prepped on the activities and task they need to deal with for that week. In addition, the sales representative receive relevant training on skills to apply for the week's sales projections and are also motivated to give them extra incentive to work diligently. During this meeting, work is shared among the available group and this ensures efficiency in handling the issue and also everybody in the sales team participates towards the organization's success. Friday, the sales representative team reconvenes and to review and assess whether they were able to attain the week's sales objectives and discuss the prospects of the subsequent week.
Under sale preparation, sale representatives are trained to rethink the need for advertising. Sales representatives at Apple Inc. depend on product placement (particularly in popular shows and with celebrities) and thrill created by positive appraisals in social media platforms as effective and cost-effective means of advertising their products (Oakey, Cooper, and Biggar, 2018). The sales representatives at Apple Inc. applie unique value proposition for their product range and assortment and this tactic aims at avoiding price wars by emphasizing the company's unique value proposition. This is essential because it helps boost company sales and turnover. Sale representatives will be trained on how best to talk to the target market because this will help ensure clarity in pitching products to consumers and this will work to help boost sales and profitability (Oakey, Cooper, and Biggar, 2018).
Sales and Follow-Up
The main objective of the sales department is to ensure high product sales, to attain this, there are five strategies that the sales representatives follow to ensure they maintain an open communication flow and mitigate the feared "gone dark" situation at Apple Inc.
Every time the sales representatives' team is running a marketing campaign, the leads we encounter can be categorized into three key sets:
1. Leads that are currently ready (hot leads)
2. Leads that will be completed after a while (warm leads that are crucial to Apple's success)
3. Leads that may never be completed (bad or cold leads)
The main concern is, it is not possible to divide the leads into categories because sale representatives don't know which lead will fit in which groups. As such, the sales representative team must pursue every lead a number of times until they are certain the lead will be fruitful. In order to improve Apple's turnover and sales, sales representatives collaborate to get more out of their leads.
Timing is essential to the success of any business. Consumers usually buy products when they are ready to buy and not when representatives are ready to sell. As a consequence, Sale representatives must strive to be in front of wholesalers and other distributors when they are ready to buy from the company's product range and subsequent assortments (Datta et al., 2017). As sales representatives, it is essential to follow up on prospects frequently and consistently for a long period of time. This is key in order to ensure one is able to land clients when they decide to use the company products.
Another key strategy that sales representatives employ is incorporating sales and marketing. As is the case in various organizations, the role of the marketing department is to look for prospects (leads) while the work of the sales department is usually to pursue these leads and close the sales (Oakey, Cooper, and Biggar, 2018). In order to close the gap between the two departments, it is essential to note that:
1. The role of marketing doesn't start and end when a prospect is acquired
2. The role of the sale department doesn't start and end with pursuing these leads
3. Someone (Sales or Marketing) must take charge of warming the prospects that will not be closed in the near future but will eventually materialize.
By integrating sales and marketing, representatives are in a position to communicate effectively with future prospects in an organized manner, sales representatives are able to receive adequate information that they send to a prospect on demand. Sales representatives also track the progress of every prospect through the sales pipeline to ensure they are always in the loop with regards to every prospect.
According to Datta et al. (2017), if an organization wants a strong client base, then it is essential to methodically and systematically build its consumer base. Sale representatives must have all the information regarding their client base and this will help in determining the consumer base needs. Sale representatives are consequently placed in expressive groups. It is also necessary for fellow sales representatives to have the flexibility to sort through the database so they can be able to locate prospective customers who will boost company sales.
Apple follow-up uses a combined strategy that integrates some key elements:
Education- Apple Inc.'s follow-ups must inform the customers and prospect. Sales representatives must have access to valuable information that they will use to pitch company products and assortments to the clients (Oakey, Cooper, and Biggar, 2018).
Variety: in order to attain success and maximize sales, the sales representatives must use a multi-step follow-up sequence that will orchestrate and incorporate different methods of pitching to consumers and prospects.
An integrated sales and marketing unit will be in a position to develop a marketing campaign with the objective of increasing product range awareness and also the sales and subsequent turnover. Marketing and sales representatives act as point persons for inside, outside and partner sale teams. Collaborate closely with the marketing team to develop programs.
To ensure all activities run smoothly, sale representatives will properly document all the marketing strategies that will be employed in increasing Apple's consumer base and subsequent sales. For sales representatives, this will documentation must entail the plan, methods, and objective. The general goals and objectives can be noted in the documentation and can be employed in targeting more customers.
Outlining SMART Objectives
One could state that the entire human effort is driven to setting and attaining goals. For sale representatives, having a particular objective is essential because it helps avoid chaos since members will have a particular goal to aim for. According to ürbüz, Albayrak & Alaybeyoğlu (2014), SMART goal is one of the most effective tools used tool for attaining Apple's objectives. After the sales team has developed an outline of the project, sales representatives will develop particular intermediary objective. By employing the SMART checklist, sales representatives are in a position to develop a culture of transparency through the Apple Company because it describes the way company objectives can into fruition and the standards of their implementation will follow. Marketing objectives will encompass metrics plans such as using ads. To ensure that Sales representatives reach a wider consumer base, the team will have to employ different media platforms that in the long run will be costly if it doesn't reach the targeted consumer base.
Confronting and Dealing with Complaints
A customer or consumer complaint is a manifestation of displeasure on the consumer's behalf to an accountable party. Consumer complaint can also be offered in a constructive sense as a report from a consumer offering documentation about a concern with a service or product. Typically consumer complaints are informal complains which are directly addressed to a public service provider or a company and most customers are able to solve concerns about services and products in this manner (Davidow, 2014).
All organizations will face issues of customer complaints at one stage or another. Complaints can usually arise as a consequence of the changing business environment or the wants of the consumer. The primary focus of any business is to ensure consumer satisfaction. In order to attain this, Apple Inc. has put in place an elaborate complaint handling mechanism that recognizes the benefit of guaranteeing consumer satisfaction which includes: high customer retention, increased brand loyalty and also improved advertisement by word of mouth as well as free notification of likely service concerns. As such it is necessary to look at some of the ways in which Apple employees and specifically sale representatives can address the issue of consumer complaints in the workplace.
Dealing with Customer Complaints
As is the case in any other business, Apple Inc. receives consumer complains. Most of the complaints border on company services while others deal with organizational products. The consumers are the cornerstone of any business and as such it is essential to address every issue or complaint that consumers bring forth. Sales representatives usually deal with clients and consumers on a daily basis and as such, they must receive proper training on how best to handle and address consumer concerns. According to Breitsohl et al. (2016), the best way to deal with consumer complaints is to first handle the unsatisfied consumer and then look for a lasting solution by executing techniques gained from sale representative training on handling consumers' complaints.
For most companies, consumer complaints are widely viewed as frustrating processes. Notwithstanding, by building an effective and efficient system, consumer complains can be addressed easily and quickly. There are different step that sales representatives can use to deal with unsatisfied consumers:
Taking the Customer Complaint
After a consumer makes a complaint about Apple's service or products, as a sales representative it is essential to take a step back. It is hard to remain unemotional in the face condemnation, yet it's essential to understand that an emotional response will only infuriate the consumer more.
Don't Jump to Conclusions and be Understanding. One may have dealt with such complains in the past, nonetheless, it is necessary to let the consumer finish presenting their complaint before attempting to address the matter. Also in the event that Sale representatives address consumer complains, they should be composed and put themselves in the shoes of the customer in order to see the consumer's perspective on the matter.
When Dealing with Complaints One Must Always Use their Initiative. This is especially significant if the fault lies with one member of the staff, then it is essential to remove the client from their presence in order to defuse emotion and tension and assist the client re-assess their anger (Davidow, 2014).
Finding a Solution
Once a client has aired their complaints, the sales representative must instantly offer a heartfelt apology. A lot of factors may have transpired and the sales representative may not be at fault, none the less, it is essential to take responsibility for the issue and sometimes, an apology is enough to defuse the situation.
There are times when a customer complains will be accompanied by a request for some form of compensation typically a voucher or a refund. In such events, one should ask the client of the desired outcome and this will help make the customers feel valued and involved.
Useful Tips for Addressing Customer Complains
It is necessary for sale representatives to remain calm even in instances where the consumers become confrontational or irate. This is essential because the overall aim is to calm the client because arguing with the consumer will only make the situation worse (Davidow, 2014).
According to Breitsohl et al. (2016), customer complains should always be treated as a matter of urgency. This is done with the objective of making the consumer feel though their complaints are being treated as a priority without being rushed.
It is necessary to keep a consumer complaint database that contains the actual problem and the eventual solution. With these documents, a sales representative will be in a position to evaluate the records and identify recurring complaints and subsequently develop measures that aim to improve the company procedures.
Finally, it is necessary to ensure that all employees who will encounter customers are adequately trained to address customer complaints. It is necessary to ensure all employees who deal with consumers are adequately trained to address complaints because waiting for a manager can escalate a situation (Breitsohl et al., 2016).
Order, Receipt, and Documents Operations
A sales representative in Apple Co. is responsible for maintaining sales documents paramount to the sales process. The sales representative is required to check for correct documentation, make changes or add document data in quotations, contracts of direct orders. The representative is further required to do follow-ups on order fulfillment and perform steps required in processing orders. Apple Co. as a company has discovered that the way forward in improving their order, receipt and document operations is through keeping their records upon receiving (Ferrell p 236, 2016). Apple Co. is a company is a company that mainly deals in IT hence their Sales order management software have come in handy in improving their customer services and increase in revenue all in a nutshell.
Service representatives are able to access the company inventory in real time. The system is automated to process a consumer's unique options on their products. The sales representative is required to expand the average order value in due time to enable the system to give consumers latest product promotions that they can choose from. There are various order types, flexible pricing options, and numerous catalog sourcing options. Apple Sales representative management systems are seamlessly connected and integrated with current and next generation system modules which are able to provide immediate data on products consumers and past information (Ferrell p 251, 2016). This ensures that the sales representative enters information into the system concerning orders quicker and more accurate.
Sales representatives are required to make credit checks in Apple Co. regardless of the formats that the orders are entered into the sales order management system. If the order is entered online, the representative is notified automatically whether or not there are any credit problems. They have full visibility of sales orders placed on credit hold with provision to customer details that are up to date. This data will assist them in reviewing credit processes in times of releasing an order from the company's credit hold.
Apple Co. like most businesses make cash receipts in form of cash, credit cards or check payments. In the three modes of payment, cash has been voted to be the most vulnerable mode of payment due to theft by malicious employees. Apple has placed internal control cash protection procedures for anti-theft (Ferrell p 269, 2016). This internal control mainly deals with the procedures for security collection and transportation of the cash receipts.
Each representative has been allocated to a cash drawer that is to be opened only the representative's thumbprint. This ensures that every representative in the company is accountable for their cash receipts at the end of the day. In the case that the representative is handling a large sum of money, security escort must be arranged in the case of transporting the funds. At one time or the other, the sales representatives are rotated and segregated with different duties. This segregation and rotation are paramount in the sense that the sales representatives will not make modifications to the accounts (Peppers p247, 2008). These modifications will result in the personal use of the payments. All in all, a sales representative should be honest with or without the safety measures hence a proper background check of the representative is required in the organization.
Documentation to sales representative is as paramount as it is to the entire organization. A sales representative is required to keep documents from the invoices, orders and receipts. This will ensure that the representatives will give a follow up of all the products that are coming in and moving out from his desk. On the other hand, documentation in Apple Co. is vital in the sense that the sales representative is accountable for all the transactions that he or she makes. Documentation enables the representative to balance the books of accounts in the position (Peppers p297, 2008). They must balance the assets and sales to the liquidity that they have in their cash boxes.
Documentation in Apple Co has been automated when it comes to the sales of the products that they have. The sales representative is required to give a printed double receipt to the customer upon payment. The customer should then take the printed receipt to another sales representative who will stamp and issue the product. One copy of the receipt will leave with consumer and the other will remain in possession of the representative. This will enable the two representatives to come together and balance the books after which they will issue the documents to the top management for assessment (Peppers p307, 2008). In this case, when one sales representative has a minus on his or her part, he or she is answerable. This has reduced theft in Apple Co. to almost zero because none of the representatives would like to get sacked due to the other sales representative's mistakes.
Breitsohl, J., Khammash, M., Griffiths, G. and Kunz, W., 2016, July. DON’T MESS WITH THE SILVER SURFER–HOW TO DIRECT NEGATIVE CUSTOMER ONLINE COMPLAINTS INTO BENEFITS FOR THE RETAILER. In 2016 Global Marketing Conference at Hong Kong.
Datta, H., Ailawadi, K.L. and van Heerde, H.J., 2017. How Well Does Consumer-Based Brand Equity Align with Sales-Based Brand Equity and Marketing-Mix Response?. Journal of Marketing, 81(3), pp.1-20.
Davidow, M., 2014. The a-craft model of organizational responses to customer complaints and their impact on post-complaint customer behavior. Journal of Consumer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Complaining Behavior, 27,
FERRELL, O. C. (2016). Marketing strategy. [S.l.], Cengage Learning.
Gürbüz, T., Albayrak, Y. E., & Alaybeyoğlu, E. 2014. Criteria weighting and 4p's planning in marketing using a fuzzy metric distance and AHP hybrid method. International Journal of Computational Intelligence Systems, 7(sup1), p. 94-104.
Lancaster, G. and Massingham, L., 2017. Sales management. In Essentials of Marketing Management (pp. 243-269). Routledge.
Oakey, R.P., Cooper, S.Y. and Biggar, J., 2018. Product marketing and sales in high-technology small firms. New Technologies and the Firm (London, Routledge, 1993), pp.201-222.
PEPPERS, D., & ROGERS, M. (2008). Rules to break and laws to follow: how your business can beat the crisis of short-termism. Hoboken, N.J., John Wiley & Sons. http://www.123library.org/book_details/?id=6213.
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