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13.7 Discussion Questions and Activities

Discussion Questions

  1. As a customer, would it be important for you to know how your salesperson was paid? Why or why not?
  2. Should salespeople be responsible for handling all their customers’ complaints or should customers be told to call the departments responsible for the complaints? Explain your answer.
  3. What impact would a service-dominant logic approach have on how you craft sales strategy?
  4. Assume you sell plumbing supplies via a distributor that sells to retailers.

    1. What can you, as the manufacturer’s sales representative, do to shorten the distributor’s sales cycle? To improve its conversions?
    2. Assume you are the distributor and you have five salespeople working for you. Two call on plumbing companies and large construction companies at job sites, whereas the other three work as salespeople in your warehouse to handle walk-in customers. What can you do with marketing to shorten the sales cycle of each group? How might your efforts affect the performance each group differently?
  5. Assume you invented a new plastic-shaping technology that allows plastic products to be manufactured much more cheaply. When you talk to manufacturers, though, they are skeptical because the new method is so radically different from any technology they have ever used before.

    1. What do you think the sales cycle for the technology would look like? What would the most important step of the sales cycle be? Why?
    2. What type of sales force would you utilize and why?
    3. What marketing activities could help you shorten the sales cycle and how?
  6. In many organizations, marketing and sales do not get along very well. Describe what you would expect to be the results in an organization such as this.
  7. Based on this chapter, what are three questions you would want to ask in a job interview if you were interviewing for an entry-level marketing position?
  8. Salespeople are often viewed with disdain by the general public. What has this chapter taught that could change those perceptions?
  9. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines show companies ways to avoid legal responsibility for ethical violations by salespeople and other employees. Do you think this is a good thing? Do you think companies can successfully monitor and manage ethics?
  10. When does outsourcing the sales force work well? When should it be avoided?


  1. Contact a salesperson and ask if you can spend a half-day observing sales calls. Whether you are able to observe or not, ask these questions: What are the segments within that salesperson’s territory? How do they make decisions and what are the key sales activities?
  2. Contact a professional who works with salespeople. This exercise can be done with physicians who have reps call on them, professors who have sales reps call on them, as well as professional purchasing agents. What do they think of salespeople and the value that these professionals get from their salespeople? What separates the good salespeople from the ones that are not so good?
  3. You are trying to convince a potential roommate to move into your apartment. Develop a list of questions you would use to understand what that person needed in a place to live and in a roommate. Then, with someone else in the class, take turns selling each other on why you should room together.

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