Customer Stratification” has the power to enable us to transform our company from being product-driven to customer-driven. It has helped us understand our customers in greater detail, enabling us to optimize our selling resources, which will result in an improved ROI.
Realigning Salesforce Effort: How are you going to market?
Once you reinvent customer value in today’s digital transformation, you must look internally and address how your salesforce goes to the market. Traditionally, outsides salesforce had more accounts than they could manage. In the pre-digital era, salesforce had the luxury of reaching out to those customers at their own pace, it does not work anymore. Non-traditional digital competition (substitute ‘Amazon Business’ or other online platforms) or your traditional competitors with higher “digital” quotient are racing to those “long tail” prospects that your outside salesforce never had a time for. This raises the question of how you assess and define salesforce effectiveness at present.
In light of digital commerce and commoditization, customer expectations have changed. Customer analytics such as customer stratification sheds new light on customer profitability/profile. With these insights, how should you realign salesforce deployment? What kind of expectations should you set for your salesforce? How should you serve the “long tail” of customers that were never served before? Some of these customers may not even want to see an outside salesperson. The short answer is having a blended sales model, where distributors redeploy their sales efforts creatively (and analytically) by combining outside sales, inside sales, e-commerce, and specialists. Does it sound overwhelming? At ActVantage we help you achieve this in bite-sized chunks with quick-wins using our proven “Test-N-Learn” approach.
A Case Study
An industrial distributor redefined customer value using the customer value builder methodology. Using the value builder, top management uncovered how customer expectations in their business had changed – personally and locally, while facing competitive pressure from both traditional and non-traditional competition. The second step was to address realignment and redeployment of salesforce efforts across their diverse customer base. ActVantage began with salesforce account and performance data. In a region, 10 outside salespeople served 859 accounts, generating $7MM annual sales. These accounts were grouped based on their growth rate (recent three years). One-third of the accounts were classified as “inactive” with no revenue during the 3-year period. 45% of the accounts did not grow and the remaining grew marginally. This analysis was extended to the rest of the company. ActVantage developed a blended sales model that helped the distributor go to market with inside sales force taking an active selling role while selectively assisting the outside salesforce. The difference between CSR and inside sales functions was well-defined. Talent development, performance management and training/coaching solutions have been put in place to make it actionable and sustainable. What-if the outside sales do not buy-in? ActVantage developed a transition process that addressed both compensation and performance concerns. How would you assess and rate your salesforce deployment and effectiveness? Afterall, it’s your expensive resource in action (or inaction). Would you like to learn more? Please give us a buzz to learn the blind spots and next practices.