AuthorSCHACHT, JOHN FRANCIS.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe primary focus of the research is the application of computer technology to the field sales function. A review of the literature, a survey of an industry and a study of a geographic market indicate the general lack of direct computer support currently available to the field salesman. At the same time, selling costs are increasing and capable sales people are scarce. Computer support that results in better sales calls meets an existing and important need. A model of the sales decision process was developed. It addresses the two major questions all field salesmen ask: on whom to call and how to prepare. The information content of the model was identified and a decision support system was designed and developed to provide the needed data. A number of organizations were studied to test the implementations. These case studies formed the basis for the results. The computer based system collects, maintains and retrieves data on customers, prospects and sales calls. This information helps the salesman to select daily those companies on which to call and to better prepare for those calls. Management control of sales activity is improved and the data becomes a company resource. The system does not make decisions for the salesman. It does provide information to help the salesman manage his territory and it offers continuity to the organization when responsibility is transferred. The research also investigates the behavior of system users and the iterative nature of the design process. The system provides a convenient vehicle to do this as its five implementations have spanned four and a half years and have included six organizations, seventeen salesmen and real-time, batch and service bureau modes of operation.