Donna Marie Vazquez Marketing Management Week 6 Sales Interview Paper John Lavelle is our Sales Development Specialist. He has worked in the International Department of Graco Inc. for forty two years. John has held a variety of positions in our company. He was in charge of National Accounts for ten years, then moved to managing accounts in Europe for five years, however, among all the responsibilities, he enjoys working with distributors and sales force.

He is currently in charge of designing and implementing training sessions for worldwide distributors and district managers. Our interview was long and we split it into three different lunch sessions. Today I believe the purpose of splitting the interview was so he would enjoy three free lunches. I really enjoy working with John and he has been one of my mentors. John stated that sales and marketing strategies will be defined by dramatic business change, disruption, and innovation. Sales and marketing leaders must capitalize on the potential of technology, anticipate changes in customer buying behavior, and create innovative selling models to survive and grow dales.

Rapid advances in technology will create opportunities and risks that will profoundly impact most aspects of sales and marketing strategy and management, including: o resource planning and allocation o sales and distribution channel management o product and market planning and development o customer behavior and expectations o customer service and support o demand chain planning and partner management o sales and marketing mix o performance measurements and incentives John mentioned that in the near future businesses that can build highly efficient selling systems that succesfully develop high levels of growth, customer intimacy, and competitive differentiation will dictate market leadership. To achieve aggressive revenue growth objectives and establish market leadership, sales and marketing leader companies must: o maximize the return on their sales and marketing investment dollars o anticipate rapid changes in customer buying behavior o capitalize on powerful new interactive, database and communication technologies o stay ahead of rapidly evolving demand chains, changing business models and a new breed of virtual competitors One of the problems John has encountered can be defined as selling more with less resources. Product commoditization, e-business and new competition are putting pressures on already thin margins, forcing organizations to reduce sales and marketing budgets. At the same time, John stated that revenue growth targets remain aggressive, forcing companies to find new sales with fewer resources.

To grow more for less, companies must maximize the return on their sales and marketing from investments. Another issue John encountered is that end users are adapting to advances in new technologies faster than many marketers can keep up. An example he provided was that customers would migrate from one selling channel to another, moving from the high touch appeal of shopping at face-to-face retail outlets to 24-hours-a-day/7-days-a-week access of call centers and self-service electronic commerce. John mentioned that customers will expect seamless service from businesses, whether they are interacting with a salesperson, a telemarketer, a shipping clerk, a Web site, and ATM, or a retail kiosk. These customers will expect more customized and personalized products, services and relationships. As technology lifecycles shorten and the pace of innovation explodes, customers will expect better quality, personalized services and access to more information, creating new markets while making other obsolete.

Business must anticipate and respond to these new market segments and deliver products and services that meet customers' needs, or they will lose market share. John loves technology. He stated that technology is radically changing sales and distribution strategies and redefining the traditional 4 Ps of marketing -- product, pricing, promotion, and placement. Pressures to improve growth, productivity and customer intimacy with limited resources will force companies to reconfigure their selling systems to maximize returns on their sales and marketing investment dollars. The potential of technology to create selling leverage, enhance customer relationships and increase competitive differentiation will drive dramatic shifts in the sales and marketing mix. John emphasized that to remain competitive, sales and marketing organizations will significantly increase investment in selling technologies and technology-enabled marketing programs.

Market leaders will adapt to changing customer needs, pre-empt new competition and capitalize on the potential of technology to create competitive advantage. Sales and marketing organizations will be challenged to: o optimize sales and marketing resource allocation o manage complex channels and demand-chain networks o adapt to changing branding, direct marketing and pricing models o create world-class customer-centric organizations Based on my conversations with John, I believe that the emerging business environment will significantly change the role of the sales and marketing professional and will present a new set of management challenges, market opportunities and business risks. What worked in the past will not necessarily work in the future. Success will require new vision, new skills and new disciplines. Today's sales and marketing executives should anticipate that budgets will be dramatically reallocated or outsourced; incentives and compensation will change significantly; conflicts will arise between organizations and partners over control of brand, customer relationships, and market access; and markets may suddenly vanish due to channel disintermediation or customer migration. I would like to end this paper by stating that to survive, tomorrow's sales and marketing leaders must manage inevitable channel conflicts, learn new, cross-functional skills; prioritize and justify investments in new technologies; gain tighter control over customer data within the demand chain; understand patterns in customer buying behavior better; redefine brand, pricing and direct marketing strategies, and build stronger customer relationships with higher levels of intimacy and new switching costs.

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