Jefferson Pilot: Growing the Sales Force Essay

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Jefferson Pilot: Growing the Sales Force

Discussion Questions

1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a career sales force versus an independent sales force?

A career sales force that the company hires, trains, supervises, and compensates likely will be more loyal than an independent sales force. As the case notes, these career salespeople sell only JPF policies. They also learn and contribute to establishing and maintaining the organization’s “culture.” They learn how things work at the company and can do a better job of negotiating the bureaucratic structure of a large organization.

On the other hand, an independent salesperson by definition represents a variety of companies. He/she is not necessarily loyal to any
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They are willing to accept more fixed cost to do so.

Again, it is important to understand the trade-offs made in making compensation decisions and to see how those decisions fit with the rest of the strategy.

3. What problems do you see with JPF’s sales force strategy and structure decisions?

With respect to the career and independent agents, there really is no specific structure as discussed in the case. Any agent who is licensed by JPF can sell a policy to anyone, anywhere as long as the company approves the application. The field sales force is neither territorial, product, or customer focused, although individual agents could make such decisions for their own work.

For the SVPs, who are the subject of the case, there is a territorial structure (each SVP has an assigned multi-state area) and a customer structure (SVPs work only with IMOs, not with individual agents). Thus, considering the IMOs to be “customers,” we have a complex structure as described in the case.

The first problem develops when JPF considers the issue of sales force size. Bob Powell notes in the case that he doesn’t believe that a SVP can develop effective relationships with more than 30 IMOs. This suggests a workload approach to growing the sales force. However, the decision to compensate SVPs on the basis of 100 percent commission based on sales in their territories means that the SVPs are reluctant to see “their” territories subdivided. It is human nature to want to keep as much of
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