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PTMBA2023 B2B Sales Management

Course code
Course type
PT MBA Lecture
Weekly Hours
HS 2022
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 includes four parts:

Part I: Fundamentals (self-study for sales beginners)

  • The Domain of Sales
  • The World of B2B
  • Channel Systems
  • Sales Forces and Sales Jobs
  • Sales Force Management Framework

Part II: B2B Pricing

  • Pricing Commodities
  • Profit Impact of Pricing
  • Pricing Value-Added (includes case Singapore Metals, HBS)
  • Pricing Services

Part III: B2B Selling

  • Selling and Negotiating Value-Added Products (includes role-play Windblades, WHU)
  • Pricing Process and Selling process (includes case: Boise Automation, Ivey)
  • Building a "Sales Machine"

Part IV: B2B Sales Force Management

Classic Sales Force Management Challenges

  • Sales Force Size
  • Compensation Plan Design
  • Autonomy and Authority (includes case Cabot Pharmaceuticals, HBS)
  • Potential-Based Sales Force Management (includes case StepSmart Fitness, HBS)

Contemporary Sales Force Management Challenges

  • CRM Systems
  • Pipeline-Based Sales Force Management
  • Automation and Augmentation
Date Time
Saturday, 19.11.2022 10:45 - 18:15
Saturday, 03.12.2022 09:00 - 16:30
Sunday, 04.12.2022 09:00 - 16:30
Sunday, 18.12.2022 23:50 - 23:59
Any business model has two sides: operations and sales. The operations side is traditionally transparent and over-managed. In contrast, the sales side is intransparent and under-managed. Many general managers perceive sales performance as a black box. This course introduces critical aspects of managing sales performance. Without sales knowledge, your business education would be incomplete.

B2B is larger than B2C. In B2B firms, sales and service are often the largest functions. In B2B, marketing is a part of sales, not vice versa. Most country subsidiaries of multinational enterprises are essentially sales organizations. Thus, mastering business administration requires learning to lead the sales force.

The course intends to enhance five categories of competencies:

  • factual knowledge, for example, applying salespeople jargon to discussing the status of a sale (such as the "buying center," "red flags," "mentor," "RFQ," "gatekeepers," and other idioms), applying sales management jargon (such as quota, forecast, pipeline, DSM, and other idioms), and defining sales performance indicators,
  • conceptual knowledge, for example, analyzing economic value-to-customer, calculating price-trade-offs against other profit drivers, analyzing the composition of a buying center, organizing the elements of a structured selling methodology, classifying different types of sales forces and sales jobs, classifying the dimensions of sales performance management, and evaluating sales KPIs,
  • sales-specific procedural knowledge, for example, demonstrating economic value to the customer, assessing the win probability of a sales opportunity, analyzing sales pipelines, and generating sales forecasts,
  • general business-relevant procedural knowledge, for example, preparing for business meetings, making the best out of a limited preparation time budget, making concise contributions to discussions, and constructively building on arguments by other participants,
  • metacognitive knowledge, for example, creating a skill profile for salespeople and evaluating the excellence of sales organizations.
There is no required textbook. I have not found a book covering all the topics discussed in this course. The learning material for this course includes presentation slides, articles, case studies, role-plays, videos, and whiteboard notes. These and further course-related information are available on the learning management system myWHUcourses (another name is "Moodle").
The learning method in this course follows the ideas of problem-based learning and the "reversed classroom" (a.k.a. "flipped classroom"). The "reversed classroom" replaces classroom lectures ("Frontalunterricht") with a blend of self-study at home and interactive discussions in the classroom. Problem-based learning refutes the traditional, passive learning sequence: "First hearing a concept. Then hearing problems that it could solve". It reverses it to an active learning sequence: "First trying to solve a problem oneself. Then discussing solutions with the group, led by the professor. Finally, getting additional insight from the professor".

The learning method mix includes role-play sessions between students with joint debriefings, case-based discussions with concluding mini-lectures, interactive concept lectures, and managerial guest presentations. Watch this video showing the style of case-based sessions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbNNsq1fC0A. Problem-based learning requires a significant amount of energy from both the student and the teacher.

The course grade wholly rests on individual performance. There are no team grades and no peer evaluations. The course grade is composed as follows:
  • 40%:four case preparation notes (pdf, bullet points are enough)
  • 10%: one role-play preparation quiz
  • 50%: open-book, time-constrained (150 minutes), take-home exam. The take-at-home exam is a laptop-based Moodle quiz with quantitative calculation and qualitative multiple-choice questions.
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