The sales force (SF) allocation was modest initially, starting at 127 and adding 11 for a total of 138. At this juncture, Allround was in the growth or “rapid market acceptance” phase of the product life cycle (PLC) and the moderate SF designation was satisfactory. Market share grew and the stock price increased.
The team’s strategy was to then base the SF on the distribution channel’s performance with data gathered from the sales report. For instance, if in the prior period the indirect/wholesale group contributed the biggest percent of sales, SF staff was added in that category in an attempt to increase that particular channels sales success. When implemented, Allround as a whole performed poorly, dropping over ten dollars in stock price and losing market share. Zoltners, Sinha, and Lorimer (2006) state that although the growth phase of a company’s product life cycle is often rewarding organizations still make crucial errors in sizing their sales forces resulting in lost opportunities.
With back-to-back periods of poor performance the team chose to purchase the sales force report going into period 4. Zoltners et al. (2006) recommends that in the growth phase of the PLC that, companies must invest in market research and in developing forecasting methods and sales response analytics in order to make better decisions about sales force sizing. The report proved enlightening. In comparison to the competition, Team A was still understaffed significantly. An additional 40 sales force personnel were added. This addition proved beneficial. The SF was now in line with the primary competitor Besthelp, and Allrounds performance improved which resulted in a dramatic increase in market share, net income, and stock price.
Having learned the importance of investing in market research Team A purchased the sales force report again and initiated a more aggressive sales approach for the introduction of the new allergy product, Allright since it was in the first or “introductory” phase of the product life cycle. Zoltners et al. (2006) stresses that by not hiring enough salespeople, companies miss the opportunity to earn tens of millions of dollars in additional sales and profits in their first three years. The team increased the SF significantly from 249 to 377. Heavy sales force emphasis was placed amidst the detailers in an effort to stimulate new sales for the allergy product. Organizations must deploy sales forces strategically so they “call on the right customers, at the right time, in the right way” (Kotler & Keller, 2012, p. 554). This strategy proved successful, the SF designation in line with other marketing decisions helped launch Allright and capture 21.7% of the allergy market. The winning formula proved to be optimizing the sales force’s effectiveness by utilizing the market research to ensure the right size sales force and align the force per proper channel