The term marketing refers to all decisions and systems that are necessary to make a product or service for customers or end users available. It is the element of the marketing mix, which was designated in older textbooks as a distribution policy. According to the current understanding of marketing is referred to as distribution policy, in which the implementation of the sales strategy and the efficient design of the sales process in the foreground. The persons responsible in the distribution must have appropriate sales skills that are especially at industrial marketing and the marketing knowledge and technology- intensive products and services of particular importance.

Process of sales planning

The starting point of distribution planning is the marketing plan, which sets the framework for all other activities. After Manfred Bruhn, it is advisable to plan arising from the strategic and long -term nature of distribution of political decisions and the high costs and risks associated with the sales process systematically. The following planning phases are to be considered:

  • Analysis of distribution situation

Sales planning usually begins with a systematic analysis of key ( internal ) strengths and weaknesses as well as the expected ( external ) opportunities and threats ( SWOT analysis). It is about the most objective representation of one's position compared to the competition as a basis for setting realistic sales goals.

  • Definition of sales objectives

The sales goals are derived not only from the needs of customers and the company down, but should also groups such intermediaries ( eg wholesalers and retailers ) and sales workers (eg freight forwarders and warehouse operations ) include. Can be divided into the following categories of goals:

  • Economically -oriented sales objectives, such as increasing sales volumes, ensuring the price level and the reduction of distribution and logistics costs
  • Supply -oriented sales objectives, such as enhancing distribution efficiency, driving down delivery times and increasing the delivery and reliability
  • Psychologically oriented sales objectives, such as ensuring a good distribution image and the preservation or improvement of the cooperation of the trade
  • Development of the sales strategy

The sales strategy serves as a framework for all sales and marketing activities. These include the segmentation of retail and distribution organs, such as the channels of distribution, type and number of intermediaries and the development of relationships with this (see also the main article distribution strategy ).

  • Determination of sales budgets

Here, the financial scope is defined, which is, for example, for commissions for the sales and promotional activities in trading.

  • Implementation of sales activities

Here it is, involving strategy and budget to implement the distribution design. Among other things, such as the marketing agent to bind to the company which incentive and compensation systems are used and are to be constructed at which locations camp.

  • Distribution control

At the end of the planning is to examine whether and to what extent the sales targets (not ) have been achieved and what adjustments are necessary. This success control requires the definition of appropriate indicators.

Selection of the distribution system

When selecting a distribution system you can basically distinguish the direct and the indirect path (vertical sales channel structure) according to Bruhn or white.

The main distribution channels within the distribution policy of a company are here:

  • Direct sales Company-owned sales subsidiary
  • Direct to the customer ( by sales representatives or travelers )
  • Telephone sales of the manufacturer (not a dealer )
  • E -commerce by the manufacturer ( not a dealer )
  • Rent Direct (direct lease, charter)
  • Direct exchange
  • Trade sale ( Free and Dealers)
  • Franchising ( franchisee to act in its own name and for its own account )
  • Indirect Hire (indirect leasing)
  • Indirect exchange ( bartering )
  • Remarketing ( remarketing )
  • Couponing

In direct sales, the company sold directly to end-users, ie without the use of corporate foreign paragraph organs. A characteristic feature is the direct contact between the manufacturer shall assume all trading functions and the end customer. The design can be implemented through the use of its own sales employees (travelers) or by company- owned outlets. Also in the context of direct marketing sales can be made, eg, by direct mail, catalogs, mail order packages or telephone marketing.

The advantages of direct marketing are primarily in ensuring the quality of advice, direct and comprehensive control of sales activities and thus directly influencing the end consumer. Last but not least, the gross margin stays the manufacturer. Disadvantages are the high capital requirements of the distribution system and a potentially lower distribution level. An important role of direct marketing in the capital goods industry and the services sector (banking, insurance ). Furthermore, even at companies that want to distinguish themselves aware through direct sales, in the form of so-called door-to -door sales ( Avon, Tupperware, Vorwerk ).

Indirect sales is when non-corporate, legally and economically independent intermediaries ( wholesalers and retailers ) are turned on. The advantages are here in the achievement of high levels of distribution and the rapid expansion opportunities, greater flexibility and less capital tied up in sales. Disadvantages, however, are the large dependence of the intermediaries and the low distribution control. Here consuming cooperation strategies and incentives for the sales agents are often necessary to ensure sales success and to cover the resulting margin. After Homburg / Krohmer the choice between direct and indirect sales can be made using the transaction cost theory. This makes statements about the cheapest form of settlement of transactions depending on their properties.

Selection of the intermediaries or the selling organs

Within the marketing is sales policy, ie the type of sale, also known as a distribution or sales. Customer orientation and customer loyalty are key concepts here. The with the acquisition ( customer acquisition ) Seller commissioned have different job titles depending on their specialization and commercial position. As part of the sales policy, companies must decide which types of sales are to fulfill the institutions selling tasks. Basically, proprietary and non-company sales agents can be used.

Furthermore, a distinction must be on the legal form of cooperation and the organizational structure in the distribution. So determined, although provider and seller does not formally refer to a specific legal form in their co-operation and, if necessary, make any written agreement, the rights and obligations of both parties regularly to the actual prevailing conditions and the usual remuneration for this purpose. A so-called freelancer, which, for example, but for the provisions of the commercial agency law working false self -employed or do not know that jobs earning arise when certain criteria employed activities exist (eg, Subordination, utilization of the resources of the provider or organizational integration in the operation ), applies retrospectively compared to the social insurance than to pay them. Also, franchise agreements and brokerage agreements, like all legal relationships are interpreted in dispute if no agreement is made clear. A legal transaction is, however, not in a legal vacuum, just because no written contract was concluded.

For the hard setting the entrepreneur can decide whether the individual seller is properly positioned for the vacant position or in the so-called order center depending on job description using appropriate methods of aptitude testing. The expected bargaining unit in the shopping center of the customer determines the composition of the team in the industry sales. The choice of distribution channel, a company must consider a number of factors. Experience has shown that it outweigh the economic interests of the party over the interests of employees and customers. Such a position is then optionally vice versa, if the seller enters with important information about the market in the negotiation with the seller and may qualify the feasibility of the requirements due to his professional experience and / or its customer contacts (for example, showing data for customer behavior in this particular market environment ). The " sale" of the generic sales service is thus the most plausible working sample for the evaluation of sellers in practice.

The basic features of the company's own sales agents are employees whose fixed ratio and, consequently, the Subordination, both of which contribute to a simpler controller. The most common form is the sales staff, whose job it is to broker business as an employee for the company and complete. He is also frequently referred to in the literature as a traveler.

Among the non-company sales institutions include, for example, the sales representatives who complete on behalf of the companies they represent businesses that commission agents who act in its own name but for the account of the manufacturer and the brokers who are occasionally commissioned to buy and sell tasks. In most cases, reduced the selection to the alternatives traveler or agents, as commission agents and brokers are increasingly losing importance. Despite the differences in the legal status of travelers and sales representatives have very similar tasks. The decision relates primarily to the question of who can solve the distribution tasks effectively and efficiently. In this case, inter alia, the following criteria are considered: costs incurred and revenues, the controllability and flexibility of use, the possibility of obtaining market information as well as the risks posed by a legal bond.

In addition, the horizontal and vertical distribution channel structure is distinguished by Bruhn. It applies to both the nature of the intermediaries, as well as their number, to be determined after careful consideration of their sales skills. Depending on the type of products and the respective sales and marketing strategy, the strategies can be distinguished universal, selective and exclusive distribution.

When Universal sales of the manufacturers every sales agent who is willing to accept to offer its service program. The aim is to, Überallerhältlichkeit ' of the products ( ubiquity ) to ensure a high distribution degree. The strategy of selective distribution assumes that only those intermediaries accepted that match the specified selection criteria of distribution. Criteria for this selection can be, for example, sales significance, quality of advice and service, price policy and the business size and location. Will not only qualitative but also quantitative criteria in the selection of intermediaries into account, it is called exclusive distribution. The extreme case of this strategy is the exclusive distribution, in which only a single marketing agents for a given sales territory given the distribution rights. According to Homburg and Krohmer an advantage of the exclusive distribution lies in its ability to ensure a consistent market presence ( advice to clients, outer appearance of the partners ). For the universal distribution contrast speaks the extensive presence of the products; a uniform market presence can not be guaranteed because of the diversity of partners.

Employees seller

The so-called solid seller ( can also be a traveler ) is ff BGB tied with a service contract in accordance with § § 611 to his employer. Accordingly, the employer owes him regardless of the sales success of wage and welfare, especially social security benefits.

Self-employed intermediary

The commercial agent is an independent businessman and entrepreneur who provides commission-based business. According to the legal definition in § 84 para 1 HGB sales representatives who are entrusted as an independent trader in order to provide for a different business transactions or to conclude on its behalf. Is self-employed, who can structure their business substantially free and determine its working. Sales representatives can also be a partnership ( OHG, KG ) or a corporation (AG, GmbH). In contrast to salaried seller he can also work for multiple providers (so-called multi-company representatives ). Usually, several companies are represented by commercial agencies. According to the results of the CDH statistics, 2010, amounts represent the number of trade missions Companies on average to 5.4. The basic obligations of the commercial agent are fixed by law in § 86 HGB. After the agent has a duty to seek the mediation or the conclusion of transactions, safeguarding the interests of the represented entrepreneur and to give this necessary information. From duty to safeguard the interests of the represented entrepreneur to other obligations derive. These include, for example, the duty of confidentiality, the non-competition clause and the obligation to credit check. In the commercial agency contract, the rights and duties are set forth in more detail. However, the design of an agency contract is often difficult on the broad guidelines of an agency contract. If the contract is terminated, the commercial agent is entitled to a claim for compensation under the provisions of § 89b of the HGB. This is a claim for payment for the customer base created by him and represented entrepreneurs surrendered upon termination. A modern special form is the temporary appointment of commercial agents in the form of so-called Mietvertriebs (often through call centers and affiliated sales ).

Incentive systems and control of the distribution organs

Here it is the distribution organs in a way that the sales targets are achieved. Objects of the necessary control measures are here primarily the allocation of sales territories, the planning of sales quotas and routes, the visit ratios and measures for education and training of the sales force.

According to Philip Kotler, most sellers need to be constantly encouraged and encouraged with special incentives to give their best. In general, different Bruhn between tangible and intangible incentives. Material incentives are included in the remuneration system of selling organs. Frequently, these are additional compensation to a fixed amount for a commission system. Commissions are calculated in the simplest case as a percentage of turnover or profit margin. More complex calculations involving commission minimization or maximization and - graduation are quite common. In addition, frequently target agreements or bonus systems for use within which cash or in kind awards will be available for special sale services.

Among the intangible incentives include promotions, commendations, awards and enhanced sense of responsibility and work areas. Even regular vendor meetings fall into this category. They offer variety and the opportunity to meet managers and colleagues in a pleasant environment and exchange ideas. In most cases, we recommend a combination of tangible and intangible incentives to take account of the different value systems of employees. Is a prerequisite for the successful control of the distribution system and the effectiveness of incentive schemes to systematically develop the sales skills of all employees in sales.

After Waldemar fur the following questions to ask in order to identify key success factors of incentive systems in sales:

  • How satisfied are the customers with the services of sales staff ( customer survey )?
  • Do the employees directly influence the result by they have the necessary resources and skills?
  • If by the incentive system the "right" people made ​​and promoted as a model?
  • Is the performance measurement system across all hierarchical levels and functions as consistent a way that everyone recognizes the contribution it can make to the success of the company?
  • If the system is attractive for employees who are needed in the future?
  • Behavior of the employees, both customer and financial statements based?
  • How strong are the management and implementation skills of management pronounced ( employee survey )?

Acquisition and stimulation of distribution systems

Core question here is considered by Bruhns, the extent to which end-users or paragraph Mid -looking strategy is pursued: When endabnehmergerichteten (pull ) strategy, consumers are primarily addressed through the use of marketing and communication tools. Goal is to produce an active demand or a Nachfragesogs for the advertised products. Thus, the intermediaries are likely to be forced to list the products to satisfy customer demand. The sales oriented mid (push ) strategy aims to promote the willingness of intermediaries to include and support its products. This is done through the use of incentives, such as the improvement of margins, the granting of discounts, rebates and grants and the acquisition of services when marketing agents. In practice, the push and pull strategies do not represent as alternative courses of action, so Meffert and co-authors. Rather, most combinations of sales and consumer- oriented middle- measures are found. Here, it is optimal to distribute the available budget to push and pull measures.

Non-university education

  • Tested (r ) consultants / in sales - Germany -recognized Chamber of Commerce degree ( CCI Training Level I )
  • Fachkaufmann / female for sales - recognized European Chamber of Commerce degree (CCI - training stage II)


  • Professional Association of Sales Promoters and Trainers Association ( BDVT )
  • Federal Association of German sales and distribution forces BDV eV
  • Federal Association of German distributors eV ( BDV )
  • Federal Direct Selling Association Germany eV
  • Central Association of German business associations for trade and commission sales eV ( CDH)