Case Study: A Lackadaisical Sales Force Reenergized

Not long ago we were hired by a component manufacturer. This company specializes in developing solutions for complex components with challenging material requirements including heat treatable stainless steel, titanium, and nickel alloys. They specialize in the areas of medical instruments, aerospace, defense, electrical motors, business equipment, hydraulics, and pneumatics.

Prior to calling us in, they realized that their sales were stagnant and needed help. They wanted us to look at their overall sales process and determine what could be done to increase sales.

We reviewed the overall sales process at this company, interviewed upper management and the sales staff, and consulted the operations staff to find:

  • 80% of sales were from one client
  • Nobody in the organization knew how they attained this client
  • No one had brought in a new project recently
  • Reps were not aggressively marketing our client because they all were either reps for several other companies with shorter sales cycles or they were close to retirement
  • There were limited marketing materials for reps

After discovering these problems, we took the following actions:

Inside Sales Organization

  • Called former and potentially new customers
  • Locally developed relationships
  • Expanded coverage developing relationships in areas at each individual office

Sales Management

  • Took responsibility for managing the manufacturer’s reps by running a monthly sales meeting, which had previously not been done, and maintaining regular contact with the reps
  • Set up best practices where reps shared their knowledge and experiences
  • Reintroduced the company, their strengths, and benefits of selling their products
  • Worked with upper management to develop a “sample board” for reps to bring to clients to show some of the custom designed work they produce.

These were the results:

  • New sales opportunities increased almost 15%
  • With new opportunities and a feeling that they were supported, reps moved our client up on the list of what they talked about to customers
  • Strong increase in activity for everyone at the company
  • Uncovered operational issues not previously known, such as a slow response to quote requests
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