This report will begin with a brief introduction DiGi, then we will be looking into each of the six steps in the sales force management process, which begin with designing sales force strategy and structure, followed by recruiting and selecting salespeople, training salespeople, compensating salespeople, supervising salespeople, and evaluating salespeople. This section discusses on how DiGi implements these steps based on the data collected from the interview. Finally, we will recommend a few possible solutions to the weak areas of their sales force management.
Our group had an interview with Billy Wong from DiGi who is the Senior Associate Consumer & Enterprise Sales (Accounts Manager). The interview was held in Bangsar Shopping Center’s Coffee Bean at 2pm. Billy Wong is a senior who had been working for three years in DiGiand he is still serving the company. He is a friendly and nice person who is willing to share his experience and answer our doubt, our group had a good discussion with Billy Wong on the topic of the six sales force management in DiGi.
Besides, DiGi provides variety of affordable mobile communication services such as internet mobility and broadband servicesthat allow consumers to have easy access into the internet through wireless service (The Edge 2011). In addition, DiGi had set the standard of innovative and creative data plans, prepaid and postpaid to serve consumers (DiGi 2012). According to Wong (2012), DiGiis one of the top three stable mobile communications companieswith a high market share of 30%. “There are 22 people in charge of the central region which forms the sales force of DiGi in Shah Alam.
Likewise, the sales force consists of permanent employees”, said Wong (2012). Wong (2012) also mentioned that DiGihas a competitive advantage of strong internal direct work force team. Compare to DiGi’s competitors, it has direct teams that deal with their individual and corporate customers on a one to one basis. For instance, DiGi provides service and solution to corporate customers such as iPhone, Blackberry, Samsung, T. G. I Friday, Nando’s and etcetera. According to Henrik Clausen the CEO of DiGi. Com, DiGi has a history of being game changers in the way they deal with customers and provide services (The Edge 2011).
Structure and Strategy Organizational structure determines how well activities are coordinated in serving customers profitability, and how quickly the organization can adapt to changes in the marketing environment (Hair et al. 2008, p. 161). Basically, DiGi is working under a horizontal organization structure. We look into the sales department, starting from head of department, then head of hunter and farmer team, followed by mangers and lastly the based-level workers(Wong 2012).
Hunting team is in charge of finding new customer to increase the sales whereas farmer team is in charge of serving the existing customer and maintain the relationship with them. The staffs work in individually basis. Diagram below is the illustration of the structure of DiGi sales department. Despite the organizational structure, employees are welcomed to approach anyone in the any layer of the organization. The only disadvantage of this structure is that there slightly more reporting to be done and takes more time (Wong 2012).
According to Wong (2012), DiGi practices open concept in their internal officewhere there are limited cubical rooms. Employees are not bound to a table but are able to work anywhere and everywhere with their laptops in the office and they are allowed to wear casually to work. The aim is to let the employees themselves feel more comfortable while working in this lovely and friendly environment. Strategy planning is the process of setting overall objectives, allocating resources, and developing broad courses of action (Hair et al. 2008, p. 155).
Wong (2012) revealed that DiGiis now at a high growth and high market share state which is the “star” state of BCG Matrix. Wong (2012) added, “To improve the business DiGi is always innovative and differentiate their product with the others. ” DiGi often comes out with new ideas with data plans. Currently, DiGi offers several rewards like birthday bonus, reload bonus, discounts on certain brands, new plans and packages etcetera. So we can say that DiGi places itself as differentiation in Porter’s Three Generic Strategy and using market penetration in Ansoff Matrix Strategy to increase their sales growth.
Recruitment and selection Recruitment is finding potential job applicants, telling them about the company and getting them to apply (Hair et al. 2008, p. 212). Likewise, selection is choosing the right salespeople for the company (Hair et al. 2008, p. 234). DiGi recruits salespeople on an ongoing basis and whenever recruitment is needed (Wong 2012). Wong (2012) explained that DiGiprefers salespeople with at least few years of sales experience so that they can save up the training cost. However, fresh graduates are not hired but internship is available for them.
According to DiGi (2012), the duration of DiGi internship programmes for fresh graduates have a range from three months to a year. Besides, this one year internship provided for fresh graduates to develop potential employees’ skills, personal development and technical rotation (DiGi 2012). Outstanding interns with right attitudes will be offered employment (DiGi 2012). In addition, DiGi recruits salespeople through online recruiting from Jobstreet and through employment agencies and professional recruiters.
Wong (2012) said that potential salespeople should have the experience in similar roles in the previous company and there is an advantage for potential salespeople who come from the same industry which is telecommunication. Wong (2012) said, “InDiGi, potential salespeople have to go through several stages of interviews. Generally, an interview has two rounds. The first round is just a getting to know session where DiGi will find out about individual’s previous job and working experience.
In the second round, DiGi will give salespeople a problem scenario to solve and set expectations for the potential salesperson. ” Based on Wong (2012) experience, he has gone through four stages of interview. Billy Wong has two interview sessions with the superior, one with the Human Resource Department and a confirmation interview. Wong (2012) explained thatDiGi will shortlist potential salespeople from the pool of job applications. Salespeople who are shortlisted are the potential salespeople that have the qualification.
Therefore, when there are vacancies for positions in the company, DiGi will select potential salespeople from a smaller pool of applicants who are shortlisted. Furthermore, the types of employment testing methods such as personality test and attitude and lifestyle test are used to select potential DiGi salespeople. 3. Training Salespeople Training is a continuing process that equips salespeople with the required knowledge, skills, and character (Hair et al. 2008, p. 250). According to Wong (2012), DiGi conducts sales training once a year for its salespeople.
The types of trainings that the salespeople have to undergo includes product training, training on selling skills and soft skills such as relationship management between colleagues and customers. For instance, on the 23-26 April 2007 DiGi arrange Intellectual Property (IP) training to increase employees’ knowledge on IP rights such as patent, copyrights, trademarks and etcetera (DiGi 2012). Product training is not only about knowing the company’s product, but also to be prepared to solve customers’ problems and able to distinguish their product from the competitors’ (Hair et al.
Since DiGi is using a relationship based strategy to retain its major customers, salespeople must possess the soft skills to listen to customers’ needs and problems, answer customers’ enquiries, and build a long-term relationship that benefits both parties. For example, DiGi organized integrity programme to train employees’ to face ethical issue and challenges with the right attitude and value (DiGi 2012). Besides conducting classroom trainings, DiGi also applies on-the-job training and mentoring (Wong 2012).
For instance, junior salespersons will be supervised by seniors during their sales presentations. After that, the supervisor will analyze how the presentation was done and discuss on which areas to improve. In addition, on-the-job training and mentoring allows junior salespeople to learn directly from their senior teammates. Once the junior salespeople have developed the required skills, they will be asked to conduct sales presentations on their own. Wong (2012) stated that DiGi’s training courses and activities are organized by external training providers.
For instance, DiGi’s Telenor group will select 12-20 graduates in every 18 months from all over the world to join the Telenor Global Trainee Programme (DiGi 2012). Likewise, “DiGi meets” programme an internal programme was arranged for employees by inviting external speakers to speak in order to challenge employees’ thinking and creativity (DiGi 2012). These trainings build salespeople’s confidence and enhance their knowledge, which have a significant impact on the sales force’s performance. Hence, by conducting training for new and current salespeople, company’s overall productivity will increase.
At the same time, salespeople will be able to secure more accounts and develop continual growth. 4. Compensation Compensation is defined as a way to remunerate the employees for their works in term of financial and non financial support (Hair et al 2012, p. 358). DiGi offers several types of compensation including salary, commission, bonus, share option and insurance. According to Wong (2012), basic salary for sales staff is generally lower than other employees but they also earn commission which is based on their performance in achieving their targets.
Besides, DiGi’s sale force is generally divided into two different teams, the farmer and the hunter team (Wong 2012). The hunter team is responsible to seek out new customers while the farmer team has the responsibility to retain existing customers (Rackham 1989). Targets are usually set on an annual basis. For example, the corporate team has a target of 10,000 new lines for the Central Kuala Lumpur region (Wong 2012). In addition to salary and commission, the sales staff also receive bonus on a quarterly and annual basis.
Sales staff receives quarterly bonus ranging from 0.25% to 0. 5% of their monthly income, depending on the key performance indicator which is evaluated every 6 months(Wong 2012). For staffs who have been employed for ten years, they will also be awarded one lot of share option (Wong 2012). Insurance and medical benefits are available to staff after they pass their probation period and become permanent staff (DiGi 2012). After probation, each staff will also be given RM 1,000 cash for telephone related expenses and after that, the same amount will be given once every two years (Wong 2012).
The primary aim of DiGi’s compensation package is to provide adequate salaries and employee benefits. The sales force has a commission scheme that offers high financially rewards to strong performers in order to encourage more sales. Likewise, DiGi always improve and match the salary and commission structure to what is being offered by other telecommunication companies (Wong 2012). Non-financial compensation offered by DiGi includes promotion and upgrade to a higher job band (Wong 2012).
The sales staffs are more motivated by financial compensation rather than non-financial compensation; therefore, DiGi focuses more on the financial aspect of the compensation (Wong 2012). The compensation scheme should change to adapt to the DiGi’s sales target and any changes will be communicated by the managers prior to implementation. In general, DiGi does not allow commission to be higher than 12 months’ salary (Wong 2012). 5. Supervising salespeople Supervising is observing and directing the worker on their job.
Through supervising, manager is able to understand the behavior of salespeople, motivate or even find out whether they are suitable for the job. The normal working hour for DiGi is 9am to 6pm. DiGi’s working hours are flexible, salespeople are allowed go back after they have completed their target of the day (Wong 2012). Billy Wong stated that DiGi do not practice the punch card system. According to Wong (2012), they go home after completing their work outside the company. Besides, in companies conflict happens all the time.
DiGi deals with conflict by listening to both parties, explaining and clarifying the situation,then allow both parties to solve the conflicts between themselves (Wong 2012). In addition, DiGi does not send salespeople to motivation courses or counsel sessions. If salespeople fail to achieve sales target, the manager will provide one-on-one mentoring and coach the salespeople rather than issuing a warning letter, demoting or firing the salespeople (Wong 2012). The sales target of DiGi for every month is approximately 10, 000new lines (Wong 2012). The salary will increase 3 to 5 percent based on salespeople’s performance states Wong (2012).
Besides, if salespeople do not respond to the incentive of more money, the employees will change role or switch to other companies (Wong 2012). According to DiGi (2012), salespeople have to obey DiGi’s policies such as anti-corruption policy, fraud and integrity, codes of conduct, supplier code of conduct and Health Safety Security and Environment policy. For instance, salespeople are allowed to receive gifts that do not exceed RM150 (Wong 2012). Hence, a warning letter will be issued by the senior manager to salespeople who are caught bribing, stealing, lying and cheating (Wong 2012).
Sales Force Performance Evaluation Basically, every company would have performance appraisal on their employees in order to evaluate the employees on how they are performing the duties and responsibilities in their current position (Hair et al. 2008, p. 423). Moreover, performance management model with specific KPI is implemented by DiGi (Wong 2012). For instance, salespeople are evaluated base on their target sales achievement and performance. Besides, the sales department conducts evaluation on salespeople in every six months.
Every salesperson will be evaluated personally based on their working behavior (Wong 2012). On the other hand, DiGi employees’ performance evaluations are conducted on a monthly basis by DiGi’srespondents. 80 percent of DiGi’s respondents will prepare performance evaluations and review performance plans monthly for all the employees. This is to ensure that all the employees are doing their jobs and archiving target sales. The employee performance review questionnaire is used to evaluate the satisfaction about their work environment and overall job responsibilities (INC 2012).
Besides, the review questionnaire can be used to create a great relationship between employees and managers, develop a quality work and increase productivity. Wong (2012) added, “DiGi uses one-on-one approach to employees and managers, to discuss the direct report’s service monthly and focus on the individual’s needs of the direct report. ” Furthermore, DiGi’s parent company in Norway also takes part in evaluating DiGi’s employees every year (Wong 2012). Recommendations According to Goh (2012), it shows that Maxis is the leading of market share in 2012 with 39. 1% and follows by DiGi with 27. 5% and Celcom with 33.4%.
These figures are not consistent as it may change over every month. To catch up with the other competitors, DiGi should improve several issues. Firstly, DiGi salespeople should take a great interest in addressing the customer affairs and complaints and inflict the problem to the technical department. Most of the issue about DiGi is that the poor coverage network connection. Many consumers feel that other providers such as Maxis and Celcom have a better network coverage. To help DiGi sales team to increase sales, this issue should be solved immediately in order to maintain relationship with customers.
Therefore, DiGi can improve their network coverage by implementing Femtocell technology which is capable in improving the coverage and sound quality (Reed 2007). Secondly, motivation is playing an important role among the employees. Aside from the existing training, DiGi should design a motivation course for the employees especially the salespeople. Motivation course is capable to help employees to practice and apply good motivational techniques in their working practices and understand how the job satisfaction can influenceitself.
Besides that, motivation is important to encourage the employees to reach the desired goal, for DiGi salespeople it is the 10,000 new lines annually. Motivated salespeople are able to perform better. DiGi practices individual selling; however, these practices will cause salespeople to be aggressive and competitive. Furthermore, this will cause an unhealthy environment. Therefore, DiGi should organize leadership and team building camp to focus on building team work among the employees to improve the relationship between departments.
All departments in DiGi should work together towards the same goals and wants of the company. Conclusion This report covers the six steps of sales force management process of DiGi Telecommunication Sdn Bhd. DiGi has a horizontal organization structure with hunter and farmer team. The hunter team finds new sales while the farmer team retains the existing customers. DiGi uses market penetration strategy to improve their sales growth. Another strategy used by DiGi is differentiation, DiGi always come out with something new and different.
Besides, DiGi recruits salespeople through online recruitment and professional agencies. DiGi doesn’t accept fresh graduates because experienced salespeople save up training cost. DiGi’s management team selects salespeople who have the potential and the qualification for the job after having two rounds of interview with them. Likewise, simple trainings are provided like product and soft skills training. After coaching, salespeople would be capable in working on their own. DiGi compensates employees with salary, bonus, commission and incentives. For salespeople, they are paid with low basic salary with high commissions.
Managers supervise and mentor employees to help them reach sales target. Besides, employees solve the conflicts by giving counsel on one to one and allow them to solve the problem on their own. Every month, DiGi let respondent to evaluate the performance of salespeople. DiGi’s manager does the evaluation with the employees every six months. Furthermore, the parent company in Norway does the evaluation of salespeople every year. To sum up, DiGi is a leading telecommunication provider today because they have an efficient and effective sales force management.