Tekniikan ja innovaatiojohtamisen yksikkö, 2019
Master's Degree Programme in Industrial Management
It has been proposed that the sales manager’s job is one of the toughest and most important in management since the sales department is the only department that directly brings revenue to the company. In recent years, many companies have found that improving the working skills of sales managers through training can be a key to gaining a competitive advantage, as the responsibility of the sales managers is to manage the entire interface with the customer, which is the most critical overall success factor of the organization.
This Master’s thesis was conducted to order for ABB. The purpose of this research is to evaluate the results of ABB’s internal Effective Sales Management (ESM) program, as well as find areas for improvement. Moreover, this study aims to identify the critical factors for success and failure of the training, which helps to understand why some participants achieve better results than the others. This research was conducted by applying Brinkerhoff’s (2003) Success Case Method. First, the data was collected from 30 sales managers who had completed the ESM program in the space of one year, by conducting an online survey. After that, the empirical material was collected through a series of semi-structured interviews, and 10 participants with extremely high or low results based on the questionnaires were interviewed.
The findings of the study suggest the trainer and the project work topic were the most crucial factors contributing to the success of the ESM program. These were also identified as areas for improvement. First, it was found to be important that the trainer was internal or knew ABB well, but also had comprehensive personal experience in the sales field. Secondly, the training included individual project work, so choosing the right topic for the project was found to be a key to success. If the topic was not related to the course content, the participant was not able to apply the learnings and tools from the program, which was the actual purpose of the project. Both individually and within their sales teams, the interviewed participants reported increased effectiveness and productivity as the most important result of the ESM program.
sales management training, training evaluation, success case method