Marketing in SMEs: The Sales Process of SMEs on the Food and Drink Industry

Marketing in SMEs: The Sales Process of SMEs on the Food and Drink Industry

Tony Douglas (Edinburgh Napier University, UK) and Maktoba Omar (Edinburgh Napier University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3886-0.ch043
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There would appear to be varied approaches to the sales process practiced by SMEs in how they go about locating target customers, interfacing with prospects and new customers, presenting the benefits and features of their products and services, closing sales deals and building relationships, and an understanding of what the buyers needs are in the seller-buyer process. Recent research has revealed that while entrepreneurs and small business owners rely upon networking as an important source of sales, they lack marketing competencies, including personal selling skills and knowledge of what is involved in the sales process to close sales deals and build relationships. Small companies and start-ups with innovative products and services often find it difficult to persuade potential buyers of the merits of their offerings because, while the products and services may be excellent, they have not sufficiently well-developed selling skills necessary to persuade their target customers.
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There are a number of key areas that are currently being debated and researched within the selling and sales management discipline: - the sales and marketing interface Rouzies (2005) selecting and developing sales personnel (Cron et al., 2005); leadership; motivation, compensation and control (Brown et al., 2005); technology and customer relationship management (CRM) (Tanner et al., 2005); and key accounts and team selling (Jones et al., 2005). The tracking and updating of research in this discipline together with the inherent complexities are reviewed regularly in the Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management (Gordon and Howell 1959; Pierson 1959; Swan et al., 1991; Moncrief et al., 2000; Marshall and Michaels, 2001; Weitz et al., 2005). The state of selling and sales management research is documented as being healthy, vibrant, and evolving. It is important to note, that the majority of the current literature is USA-based though over the last ten years there has been a considerable increase in non-US authored articles (Richards et al., 2010).

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