Organizing the Overseas Sales Force: How Multinationals Do It

Hill, John S.; Still, Richard R.
March 1990
Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management;Spring90, Vol. 10 Issue 2, p57
Academic Journal
The article discusses how Multinational Corporations (MNC) organize their oversea sales force. It surveys the personal selling and sales force management practices in fourteen large MNCs, with one hundred and thirty-five subsidiaries providing details of how they orchestrate their overseas selling efforts. Data were collected from forty-five countries. Industry factors play key roles in determining the organizational forms that MNCs adopt abroad. Most start with international divisions, but as their product lines expand or as they enter new markets, problems mount in coordinating product and country strategies, communication loads increase, and so do difficulties in implementing coherent strategies across countries or products. The decision on how many personal selling resources to commit to individual markets--whether to use company-owned sales forces or independent sales organizations--is clearly industry-related. The U.S. MNCs in large part take proven sales structures into overseas markets and, with the exception of industrial products, make adjustments to structures mainly as subsidiary sales increase.


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