A privately held distributor in the sporting goods market who sold directly to independent retailers wanted to increase their revenues and profit margins in a highly competitive industry. They settled on a strategy of changing their sales process from an industry standard transactional model to a more relational, consultative approach. The challenge was the sales professionals had to build strong relationships with the business owners and their designated managers by phone, with only occasional visits to the larger retailers, and no visits to the majority of them.
THE NOVO SOLUTION.
We first sat in two different regional offices to listen to multiple sales pros conduct their sales calls in the transactional manner they were accustomed to using. We then assessed the entire sales team to identify the behavior differences between the higher performing and lower performing sales professionals. (A positive finding was that while being transactional in nature, the high performers also had higher natural competencies in building and managing relationships.)
From this data, the current sales professionals were provided a mandatory a two-day intensive training on relationship selling skills. And, the Sales Managers were provided a three-day training that included the selling skills and how to coach their employees through the transition to the new model.
Following the two-day intensive training, one-day reinforcement training/coaching was provided on a quarterly basis for two (2) years. Additionally, group coaching calls were scheduled with each region on a bi-monthly basis to coach around specific customer interactions. From the initial assessment data, a hiring success profile was identified for new sales professionals joining the organization. Today, 9 years later, they continue to use the hiring success profile and assessment tool.
The client organization began to see increases in market share within the second quarter of beginning the process. Over a period of three years, the company revenue increased from approximately $165 million to $450 million and peaked at around $700 million. While this was not entirely due to the change in the sales process, in an independent industry market research study, our client’s sales professionals were consistently rated as the “best in the industry” by the independent retail owners year-after-year.