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Leading the Effective Sales Force

Program Overview

Organizations expect more from their sales organizations, yet sales teams aren’t necessarily getting the resources to deliver on these higher expectations. How can sales organizations become more productive on the ground when things are increasingly more complex, uncertain, volatile and diverse? Sales forces are crucial to a company’s success, with many top-performing companies sharing the common practice of aligning their sales teams to corporate strategy.

Leading the Effective Sales Force, a global program Wharton offers in partnership with INSEAD, will enable you to leverage tools to improve your sales performance, motivate your team, and grow revenue.

Read more about the Experience & Impact »

Sales Force Leadership Highlights & Benefits

  • Improve how you deploy your sales force
  • Align sales roles to corporate strategy and customer buying behaviors
  • Better leverage key accounts and focus your sales team on activities that will maximize their impact
  • Configure your compensation and incentive plans to reinforce corporate marketing strategies and attract and motivate top sales performers
  • Enhance your negotiation and persuasion skills to enhance leadership effectiveness
  • Participate in a simulation that tests the long-term effectiveness of your strategy for major sales

Contact Us

Schedule a personalized consultation to discuss your professional goals:


To apply for programs held in Singapore or Fontainebleau, please visit INSEAD’s website.

October 24 - 28, 2016SG$ 13,950


April 3 - 7, 2017€ 8,950

Fontainebleau, France

June 19 - 23, 2017$10,250

Philadelphia, PA

Download the program schedule, including session details.

Tuition for Philadelphia programs includes lodging and meals. Prices are subject to change.

Still considering your options? View programs within Marketing & Sales or use our Program Finder.

Experience & Impact

Sales – more than any other function – serves as a company’s engine for growth. In a business climate where sales leaders are inundated with information and often have limited resources, they need the best analytical tools and business insight to drive a world-class sales team.

Leading the Effective Sales Force delivers both cutting-edge tools and the ability to take a broader view of the business that these leaders need to thrive. Wharton and INSEAD faculty, led by Leonard Lodish and V. “Paddy” Padmanabhan, experts in marketing resource allocation and sales force decision support, apply their field-based research and the latest strategic insights to help sales decision-makers be more effective at aligning their sales processes to the needs of their organization. 

This program builds on Wharton’s 45 years of experience offering sales management courses globally, with faculty members providing a real-world perspective on what types of tools are available to maximize your sales force’s effectiveness.

You will learn how to design compensation and incentive programs that ensure that your sales team is aligned to the marketing strategy of the company. You also will gain a better understanding of what strategies work best in a particular selling situation, with rich opportunities to discuss real-world cases with global program participants.  This program additionally will help answer common questions that plague sales leaders – including, “Should I pay on profitability or volume?” and “What is the appropriate mix of base salary versus incentive pay?”  Finally, a full day session will look at what drives sales leaders' judgment and decision-making to uncover the unconscious biases that often drive decisions and can lead to serious mistakes in decision-making.

You will leave the program with a stronger sales acumen and toolset to inform every strategic decision you make, with the ability to generate immediate revenue growth and transform how you define sales roles in your organization.  Wharton’s sales allocation software module alone has been shown to help course participants increase their sales revenue and profits by 3% to 30% with the same amount of resources.

Ultimately, the program will give you an analytical edge to be more effective as a sales leader, with a better alignment to the corporate strategy of your organization.

Session topics include:

  • Sales Force Application Workshop
  • Sales Force Control Systems
  • Sales Role Design
  • Improving, Evaluating, and Measuring Salesforce Performance – Leveraging Predictive Analytics
  • Designing & Implementing Compensation Strategies
  • 100-Day Action Plans

Through highly interactive lectures and numerous sales-related cases, participants will work hands-on in groups to apply course learnings. They also will create action plans relating to their specific sales-leadership goals.

Overall, you will gain:

  • A broader understanding of sales and the tools available to you as a sales executive
  • Ability to align accountabilities of the sales team to match company strategy with customer expectations
  • Insights into when solution or value-proposition selling process is appropriate
  • Practical knowledge on how to use sales allocation software to deploy your sales teams for the greatest revenue and cost-savings impact
  • New insights into the differences of selling to customers in emerging and developed markets so you can build the right team and achieve the best outcomes
  • Awareness of how unconscious biases can drive decisions, sometimes leading to serious mistakes
  • Rich opportunities to network with a global community of sales leaders, faculty and peers

Participant Profile

Participants by Industry

Leading the Effective Sales Force participants by industry

Participants by Job Function

Leading the Effective Sales Force participants by job function 

Participants by Region

Leading the Effective Sales Force participants by region

Who Should Attend

Leading the Effective Sales Force is designed for leaders who have responsibility for managing sales forces, whether they are national sales managers, global sales managers, sales VPs or the chief sales officers of their organization.  These managers oversee business development and planning in either local or international markets and typically spend over 50% of their time managing sales force issues.

This program attracts a diverse group of leaders from multiple industries and geographies who share their biggest challenges with the class. Faculty members tailor the program content to address these issues, so participants gain actionable information that they can immediately apply to their organization.

Participants leave the program with an expanded peer network, plus specific sales allocation and other tools and frameworks they can use to maximize their sales team’s effectiveness.  

Group Enrollment

To further leverage the value and impact of this program, we encourage companies to send cross-functional teams of executives to Wharton. We offer group enrollment benefits to companies sending four or more participants.

Plan Your Stay


Leonard Lodish, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Academic Director

Samuel R. Harrell Professor Emeritus, Professor Emeritus of Marketing; Leader and Co-Founder, Global Consulting Practicum, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Marketing resource allocation and deployment; sales force, advertising, and promotion decision support; entrepreneurial marketing, marketing experimentation

V. Paddy Padmanabhan, PhDSee Faculty Bio

The Unilever Professor of Marketing, INSEAD-Singapore; Academic Director, Emerging Markets Institute, INSEAD

Research Interests: developing economies, economic crises, pricing and supply chain management

G. Richard Shell, JDSee Faculty Bio

Thomas Gerrity Professor, Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics and Management; Chairperson, Legal Studies and Business Ethics Department, The Wharton School

Kathy Pearson, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Adjunct Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania; President, Enterprise Learning Solutions


As a veteran of my company, I found attending Wharton has done a lot to juice my internal credibility, especially when I pull out the data and show the science behind it. I manage the corporate Enterprise Legal Management sales group for LexisNexis’s software division. One of the tools Wharton introduced was sales allocation software [used to determine how best to deploy your sales force]. Within my department I am using it to determine whether I want to strike a headcount in one division and reallocate it to another division as well as get funding for another spot. I ran the numbers and I expect to be able add about 10% in sales to my group.

I also plan to share what I learned about sales contest best practices with my peers and propose we restructure our sales contest culture. It’s clear from all the research and being at Wharton that having one big winner is the wrong philosophy. A better philosophy is to spread the wealth – to have more winners to keep people engaged.

I have recommended this program to everyone at my level and my boss. It was an invaluable program – a great combination of real data, real research, and then making it practical and applicable. It delivered tenfold on my expectations. This wasn’t just the right course; it was the best and the only course on sales leadership for me.”

The Leading the Effective Sales Force program has been very valuable to me, especially during the re-engineering of the route-to-market structure which I led in the Philippines early this year. The initial results have been amazing.”

Tommy Del Mar

National Sales & Trade Marketing Manager, Perfetti Van Melle

As a global technology company, Xerox continues to invest not only in industry-leading products and services, but also in its motivated, highly trained sales team. This class was outstanding, as it helped further strengthen my sales leadership. I’ve attended several business management courses, but this was the first directed to executive sales management and taught by academic faculty. It was well worth my time.”

Toby Tobin

Vice President, Sales Operations, Mountain West Operations, Xerox

Since I returned, we have been intensely reviewing and drafting changes to our sales model, applying some of the specific things that I learned at Wharton. One of the fundamental changes we made...was that we reduced the number of people helping our product-led services sales. We determined that it was only necessary to have a much smaller set of people supporting those sales and that the incremental amount of sales generated by all the additional people was so small that it did not justify the cost. Second, we refocused those resources on the services that would benefit from having additional sales resources.”

Ivan Bou

Sales Operation Manager, Global Technology Firm

I was recently promoted to VP of Sales, and I know that the Wharton Executive Education course was a factor in the CEO’s decision!”

VP of Sales, Technology Firm

Leading the Effective Sales Force was quite an experience, and my takeaway has given me plenty to work on in the next few months that I can implement into my sales force. It was hands down the best class I have ever taken, and I thought your presentations to the group, along with your other colleagues’, was second to none.”

Manager of Sales, Financial Services Firm

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