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Unit 20: Sales Planning and Operations

    Learning hours: 60

    NQF level 4: BTEC Higher National H2

Description of unit

    The aim of this unit is to develop a critical awareness of sales planning and operations. Learners will analyse the stages involved in the selling process, and evaluate the role of personal selling in creating value and developing customer relationships in a variety of contexts

     environments. The unit will also consider the management and organisation of the sales and

    force to achieve sales objectives.

Summery of learning outcomes

    To achieve this unit a learner must:

    1 Explore the role of personal selling within the overall marketing of organisations

    2 Identify and evaluate the stages in the selling process

    3 Analyse the role and objectives of sales management

    4 Examine the implications of operating in different sales environments and contexts.



    1 Personal selling

    Promotion mix: personal and impersonal communication, objectives of promotional activity, push-pull strategies, integrating sales with other promotional activities, evaluating omotion, allocation of promotion budget pr

    Understanding buyer behaviour: consumer and organisational purchase decision-making

    processes, personal, psychological and social influences on consumer purchase behaviour, environmental, organisational, interpersonal and individual influences on organizational buyer behaviour, purchase occasion, buying interests and motives, buyer moods, level of involvement, importance and structure of the DMU, finding the decision-taker, distinction between customers and users

    Role of sales force: definition and role of personal selling, types of selling, characteristics for personal selling, product and competitor knowledge, sales force responsibilities, information gathering, customer and competitor intelligence, customer databases, prospecting, stock allocation, sales reports and records, liaison with sales office, sales force communications and the role of IT in improving communications

    2 Sales process

    Principles: customer-oriented approach, preparation and objective setting, opening remarks, techniques and personal presentation, need for identification and stimulation, presentation, demonstration and use of visual aids, handling and pre-empting objections, techniques and proposals for negotiation, buying signals and closing techniques, post sale follow-up, relationship marketing

    3 Sales management

    Sales strategy: setting sales objectives, relationship of sales, marketing and corporate objectives, importance of selling in the marketing plan, sources, collection and use of marketing information for planning and decision-making, role of sales forecasts in planning, quantitative and qualitative sales forecasting techniques, strategies for selling Recruitment and selection: importance of selection, preparing job descriptions and

    personnel specifications, sources of recruitment, interview preparation and techniques, selection and appointment

    Motivation, remuneration and training: motivation theory and practice financial and

    non-financial incentives, salary and commission-based remuneration, induction and ongoing training, training methods, preparation of training programmes, the sales manual Organization and structure: organization of sales activities by product, customer, area, estimation of call frequency, territory design, journey planning, allocation of workload, team building, creating and maintaining effective working relationships, sales meetings and conferences


Controlling sales output: purpose and role of the sales budget, performance standards,

    appraisals, self-development plans, customer care

    Database management: importance of database building, sources of information, updating the database, use of database to generate incremental business and stimulate repeat purchase, use of database control mechanisms, importance of IT methods in database management

    4 Sales environment and contexts

    Sales settings: sales channels retailers, wholesalers, agents, importance of segmentation, industrial selling, selling to public authorities, selling for resale, telephone selling, selling services, pioneer selling, systems selling, selling to project teams or groups International selling: role of agents and distributors, sources, selection and appointment of agents/distributors, agency contracts, training and motivating agents/distributors, use of expatriate versus local sales personnel, role, duties and characteristics of the export sales force, coping in different cultural environments

    Exhibitions and trade fairs: role, types and locations of trade fairs and exhibitions,

    principles of stand design, setting objectives for exhibition attendance, audience profile and measurement, qualification and follow-up of exhibition leads, evaluation of exhibition attendance, financial assistance for exhibition attendance


Outcomes and assessment criteria

    Outcomes Assessment criteria for pass

    To achieve each outcome a learner must demonstrate the ability to:

    1 Explore the role of personal ;; provide two examples of objectives from different

    selling within the overall elements in the communication mix and explain

    marketing of organisations their roles and the relationship between them

    ;;illustrate how an understanding of buyer behaviour

    can be used in personal selling

    ; identify the environmental and managerial forces

    affecting personal selling

    ;;describe the main types of personal selling 2 Identify and evaluate the stages in ;; discuss the principles of personal selling

    the selling process ;;analyse the stages in the personal selling process 3 Analyse the role and ;;explain how sales strategies are revised in line with

    objectives of sales corporate objectives

    ;;devise appropriate recruitment and selection procedures management

    ;;evaluate the role of motivation, remuneration and training in enhancing sales performance

    ;;describe two techniques used to co-ordinate and

    control sales output

    ;;use given information to recommend appropriate

    organisation structures and procedures 4 Examine the implications of ;;identify and give three examples of the differences

    operating in different sales in the nature of sales tasks and skills in a variety of contexts

    ;;explain the role of sales staff operating in an environments and contexts

    international environment ;;explain the purpose of trade fairs and evaluate their





    This unit is designed to have a variety of theoretical and practical delivery mechanisms. The use of case studies and sales organisation evaluation could be used to develop theoretical knowledge. A data-bank of sales figures relating to number of customers, number of sales visits and number and value of orders for a number of sales staff could be analysed to evaluate sales force performance against a variety of criteria such as profitability or new business generation. The use of outside speakers and visits to organisations could be used where appropriate to support delivery. Efforts should be made to ensure that learners gain a good understanding of the marketing knowledge they gain and can apply it to real life situations and case studies.


    Evidence of outcomes may be in the form of written or oral assignments or tests. The assignments may focus on real problems or case studies. Learning and assessment can be at unit level as an integrated unit or at outcome level. Evidence could be at outcome level although opportunities exist for covering more than one outcome in an assignment.


    This unit forms a direct link with the other marketing units in the HN Business programme: Unit 1: Marketing, Unit 17: Marketing Intelligence, Unit 18: Advertising and Promotion and

    Unit 19: Marketing Planning.


    There are numerous textbooks covering sales planning and operations. It is important that learners are directed to a balance of comprehensive theoretical texts and the more readable ‘how to’ books which exist and provide an excellent source of practical exercises.

    Marketing and sales journals are a good topical source of personal selling and sales management activities. Over the years a number of videos have been produced demonstrating good (and bad) sales techniques. Many of these form part of sales training programmes which can be purchased.

    Throughout the course of an academic year, topical programmes often appear on television. Support materials



    Sufficient library resources should be available to enable learners to achieve this unit. Particularly relevant texts are:

     Selling and Sales Management (FT/Prentice Hall, 2000) Jobber D and Lancaster G

    ISBN: 0273674153

    Johns T Perfect Customer Care: All You Need to Get It Right (Random House, 1999)

    ISBN: 0099406217

    Noonan C Sales Management (Butterworth Heinemann, 1998) ISBN: 0750633611

    Journal and newspapers


    The Financial Times and other daily newspapers which contain a business section and market reports

    Harvard Business Review

    Journal of Marketing Management

    Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management


    Marketing Business

    Marketing Review


    Over the years a number of videos have been produced demonstrating good (and bad) sales techniques. Many of these form part of sales training programmes which can be purchased. Throughout the course of an academic year, topical programmes often appear on television. There is also a good source of topical video material available from: The Open University Broadcasting Office

    P O Box 953

    Walton Hall

    Milton Keynes MK7 6EB

    Telephone: 01908 652777

Websites provides case studies appropriate for


    educational purposes The Chartered Institute of Marketing’s site

    contains a useful Knowledge Centre Marketing magazine Revolution magazine multimedia resources


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