Field service control systems

Field service control systems are the entirety of the instruments that are used to influence the behavior of field service employees in terms of corporate goals. In principle, this can be done by taking the following precautions:

Explicit regulation of field service activities (e.g. visiting norms, which, however, can have an inhibiting effect on motivation if handled very strictly), targets and remuneration incentives.
Die drei genannten Möglichkeiten der Einflussnahme sind nicht überschneidungsfrei, da für die genaue Einhaltung von Besuchsnormen oder Zielvorgaben Prämien als Entlohnungsanreize in Aussicht gestellt werden können. Aus Controllingsicht kommt dem Audit der Steuerungsverfahren (Marketing audit) und der Bereitstellung geeigneter Steuerungsinformationen besondere Bedeutung zu.

In practice, in addition to the traveller's fixed salary, sales-related commissions are widely used as a reward incentive. However, this can lead to conflicts between the personal income drive of the sales representative and the company's profit targets, since it cannot be ruled out that the sale of high-turnover products with below-average profit margins will be particularly promoted. The numerical example given in the table makes this clear.

While the traveler with a uniform sales-related commission rate (2%) improves his variable remuneration most through the sale of product C, this product (measured by the contribution margin per € sales unit) is not so profitable for the company.
In the case of profit margin-oriented commissions, the sales force is encouraged to promote those products (here: A and B) that have a high profit margin rate in relation to sales. This can be seen in the last line of the table. The commission rates shown here are mathematically expressed in relation to sales, but are now staggered according to the contribution margin rates. At the same time, it can be seen from this that the sales force employees do not have to be given any figures on the absolute contribution margins, but that the differentiation of the commission rates is sufficient.

With such graduations, additional, e.g. longer-term operational benefit aspects can also be included (graduated benefit commissions). The pure profit margin orientation also shows shortcomings if, for example, a newly introduced product with a currently still low contribution rate offers very low commission incentives. With regard to the contribution margin expected later, a higher commission rate can be specified in order to accelerate the implementation efforts of the field service.

However, commission incentives are generally less suitable for controlling in sectors that deal with long-term order acquisitions and processing (e.g. in some capital goods industries). Rather, monetary or non-cash rewards come into consideration, which can be made dependent on the fulfillment of certain criteria (e.g. acquisition of new customers).

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