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Leading the High-Performance Sales Force

Course code
MKT609
Course type
MSc Course
Weekly Hours
2,5
ECTS
5.0
Term
HS 2019
Language
Englisch
Lecturers
Prof. Dr. Ove Jensen
Please note that exchange students obtain a higher number of credits in the BSc-program at WHU than listed here. For further information please contact directly the International Relations Office.

The course content is organized around three themes:

1) Sales force deployment

  • Field sales, inside sales, and key account sales roles (includes case InsideSales.com, HBS)
  • Sales force sizing and territory alignment (includes case StepSmart Fitness, HBS)
  • Increasing active selling time

2) Sales force steering

  • Compensation plan design
  • Goal setting and sales contests (includes case I.M.A.G.E. International, Darden)
  • Feedback and coaching (includes case ZenRecruit, HBS)
  • Customer prioritization and visit frequencies (includes case PowerTools, WHU)
  • Administrator-driven vs. algorithm-driven vs. autonomous work (includes case Cabot Pharmaceuticals, HBS)
  • Pipeline management and forecasting (includes case PackMach, WHU)

3) Sales force transformation

  • Creating a high-commitment sales culture (includes case DEC Culture, WHU)
  • Transforming from transactional product sales to consultative solution sales (Hilti guest lecture)
  • Leading as a young sales manager (includes case Pilgrim Drugs, HBS)
  • Communicating change
  • High sales performance with high integrity
Date Time
Tuesday, 29.10.2019 11:30 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Tuesday, 05.11.2019 13:45 - 15:15
Monday, 25.11.2019 11:30 - 13:00
Tuesday, 26.11.2019 11:30 - 15:15
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 11:15
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
Tuesday, 10.12.2019 08:00 - 09:30
The course intends to enhance five categories of competences. The practical orientation of the course shows in its emphasis on procedural knowledge:

1) In regard to factual knowledge, participants are enabled to

  • apply salespeople jargon (such as quota, accelerators, boosters, contexts, pipeline, DSM, and other idioms),
  • understand the specifics and terminology of sales management in various industry sectors, and
  • to define sales performance indicators.

2) In regard to conceptual knowledge, participants are enabled to

  • classify elements of compensation plans,
  • analyze the optimal size of the sales force by different methods,
  • classify the dimensions of sales force performance management,
  • evaluate territory structures, and
  • critically assess motivation theories.

3) In regard to sales force leadership-specific procedural knowledge, participants are enabled to

  • communicate pay plans,
  • introduce territory realignments,
  • introduce selling methodologies/CRM,
  • provide constructive feedback on selling behavior and performance of others,
  • coach salespeople on a sales opportunity,
  • conduct pipeline reviews, develop sales forecasts, and
  • build work relationships with employees older than themselves.

4) In regard to general business-relevant procedural knowledge, participants are enabled to

  • prepare for business meetings and internal committee sessions,
  • make the best out of a limited preparation time budget,
  • make concise contributions to meetings,
  • constructively build and comment on contributions by other participants in the meeting, and
  • derive a course of action from a careful analysis of the situation and a structured evaluation of alternatives.

5) In regard to metacognitive knowledge, participants are enabled to

  • evaluate their own leadership behavior,
  • evaluate the ethical dimension of a sales leadership situation,
  • create a skill profile for salespeople and sales leaders.
There is no required textbook. We have not found a book that covers the range of topics discussed by this course. The learning material for this course includes presentation slides, copies of articles, case studies, role-plays, videos, and black board notes. These and further course-related information are available on the learning management system myWHUcourses (another name for it is “Moodle”).
The overall learning method mix across all class sessions of this course is:
  • 70% case-based discussions,
  • 15% interactive concept lectures, and
  • 15% role-play between students.

This video shows our case-based sessions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbNNsq1fC0A. This way of learning requires a great amount of energy, both from the student and from the teacher.

The grading policy in this course has two differentiating characteristics:
  • 100% individual performance. No team grades. No peer evaluation.
  • No sit-down, speed-writing exam under time pressure, no memorizing of PowerPoint slides, no black-out risk.

The course grade is composed as follows:

  • 46%: ten class preparation notes (pdf, bullet points are enough, ca. 500-750 words),
  • 4%: two role-play videos,
  • 50%: two individual take-home papers (pdf, essay)
Enrollment in this course is not limited by pre-experience prerequisites. In particular, it is not necessary to have taken my other courses in the program - this course stands alone. However, what you should be aware of before enrolling in this course is:
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