It is possible to implement a successful company wide marketing strategy during changing markets. We will be discussing a strategy that assists company decision makers in creating a new way of conducting business that will provide positive results for all those involved.
It was interesting to learn that how we treat people is still very important and plays a higher role than the almighty dollar.
Commission Sales to Virtual Sales
I found this research article by three professors, Implementing Changes in Marketing Strategy: The Role of Perceived Outcome and Process-Oriented Supervisory Actions, to be fascinating! Their research is based primarily on an independent study, textual analysis, and a stress theory.
The researchers worked with a company that was transitioning their salespeople from in-person transactions to online transactions. This transition had the potential of greatly improving the overall profit while increasing the customer base of the company. And at the same time, dissolving the individual salesperson’s commission earning opportunity and potentially their very jobs. In order to complete this transition with the smallest amount of degradation the company chose to work with these researchers.
The researchers wanted to find out if they could properly formulate a system, that would help the company decision makers, implement a well-received plan and conclude with positive actions from all stakeholders. The researchers’ focused on working directly with sales supervisors to learn how effective they are when implementing a strategic change with their staff.
The emphasis of this study also focused on studying the stress level of the salespeople according to the stress theory developed by Lazarus in 1980, and Lazarus and Folkman in 1984. The researchers believed there was a Primary appraisal and a Secondary appraisal that each salesperson would conduct when faced with the change being mandated by their supervisors.
The Primary appraisal evaluates the event’s impact on the salesperson’s well-being. The Secondary appraisal evaluates the salesperson’s ability to cope with the event’s impact on them, by considering their personal, social, economic, and organization resources. This means each person will be trying to figure out if they could emotionally, mentally, and physically handle the changes being asked of them. While also trying to figure out if they would be required to make these changes with or without assistance from their supervisors. They needed to know if this change would hurt their pocketbook due to losing their commissions.
The researchers came up with 11 hypotheses. Focusing on what they believe would happen throughout the course of the transition.
Focusing on Supervisors
The results found the supervisors needed to:
- demonstrate empathy with employees
- be transparent about any changes
- tell employees about all provided training for the training
- inform staff how their commission will be replaced
- empower staff by letting them be part of the process.
The researchers discovered that the salespeople who most positively responded to the new rewards system were driven by their peers decision to accept the new program.
They also found that salespeople responded well to the organized structure of:
- outcome risk containment,
- outcome reward emphasis,
- process risk containment,
- and process reward emphasis.
However, the salespeople preferred more emphasis on outcome risk containment than outcome reward emphasis in regards to their Secondary appraisal since “loss avoidance looms larger than gain seeking.”
Therefore, when employees feel empowered and safe within their working environment they tend to care less about the exact dollars they are putting in the bank. Work culture can be a very important decision factor for employment.
Sarin, Shikhar., Challagalla, Goutam., and Kohli, Ajay K. “Implementing Changes in Marketing Strategy: The Role of Perceived Outcome and Process-Oriented Supervisory Actions”. Journal of Marketing Research, (2012), 49(4), 564-580.