ComputAbility - Sales Goals

ComputAbility, a mail-order company, began in 1982. An
authorized reseller of computer software and hardware,
ComputAbility offers their clients over 50,000 products.
The company has built their reputation on a foundation of
competitive prices and quality service. In August of 1997,
Creative Computers, also a mail-order company, acquired
ComputAbility. The acquisition provided a number of
benefits to the company, primarily a larger product
selection to offer to customers.

Currently, ComputAbility employs 60 + people with plans
of adding on 20 to 30 more sales representatives and
support staff during the next year. Prior to February of
1998, all of the sales representatives were in the inbound
division. This division handles all incoming sales calls.
Majorities of these calls are from individual consumers.
Creative Computers had started their company the same
way, but found the growth potential was in the business
sector. In February of 1998, ComputAbility started their
corporate sales division, an area already underway at
Creative. This division of the company was created to
develop relationships with business clients, and become the
primary way of increasing company profit. Computability
added a dedicated trainer to the staff at the same time the
corporate division was started. This individual’s primary
responsibilities were to train new hires in the areas of sales,
product knowledge, company policies and procedures and
computer systems.

Although there was a solid training program in place,
including ongoing new product training from manufacturers,
the company was not profiting at an acceptable rate.
ComputAbility experienced a decrease in sales and profits
during the first year after the acquisition. The expectation
was that the acquisition should have provided the tools
necessary to increase sales. So what could be the
problem? Although ComputAbility sales representatives
now had more tools available to them, something was still
missing.

Creative Computers decided to test a sales training
program for the corporate sales division. There are a
number of sales training tools available. Tools range from
books and seminars to dedicated sales training company
programs. Management decided to work with a company
who had developed a sales training program. The initial
step was for top management to go through the training to
see if it was worth the time and money investment. After
extensive research, the sales training program, from this
point forward called "Discovery", was adopted. Creative
Computers hired the company who developed
"Discovery," to train the company’s internal trainers and
select corporate sales representatives. After the initial
training, the company trainers conduct Discovery for all
remaining and new employees.

The training program consists of five courses, each
containing one to three modules. The modules focus on
techniques for cold calling, probing the company needs,
developing client relationships, and account and time
management. Representatives are given metrics (daily
goals) in the following areas; number of calls, talk time
(amount of time the representative spends on the
telephone), and dollar. The following goals show the
expectations given to the employees during the first 6
months the training was in place:

Calls: 80-120 calls per day

Talk Time: 3.5-4 hours per day

Dollars: $3000 - $28000 gross profit

(determined by months of employment)

The company who created Discovery developed the
metrics of calls and talk time. The dollar goals were
determined by ComputAbility.

Discovery has been in place for approximately 9 months.
ComputAbility has experienced a few issues regarding the
metrics. The first issue deals with the number of calls the
sales representatives are required to make. Representatives
have expressed to management that the goals are not
realistic and do not allow for development of client
relationships. As a result of the first issue, the company is
finding that not all representatives are following the
program. This typically occurs after a few weeks on the
job. At this point, the company needs to analyze if the
Discovery program is effective; are the metrics given
realistic? In addition, the determination needs to be made if
Discovery is followed, it leads to the representatives’
success. This is very difficult to analyze because as
mentioned earlier, not every corporate sales representative
is thoroughly following the program. It is also important to
measure other factors that may be hindering their
performance or assisting in their success, such as length of
employment. The best way to determine the effectiveness
of the Discovery program is to research proven sales
training programs and techniques, analyze existing sales
numbers in relation to the metrics and weigh additional
factors that may influence the end result.

RESEARCH

Telesales is the offering of goods and/or services by the
telephone, fax, television, computer, or other electronic
media (Zajas, Church, 1997, p.227). Telesales has several
advantages such as low cost personal contact, flexibility in
responding to customer needs, and flexibility in adjusting
the sales campaign. When telesales is integrated into a
company’s total marketing process