IT’S NOT HOW, IT’S HOW MANY…

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I have invited my colleague and friend Steve to share his blog contribution from today here in my blog for you to read as well.

I think his story is so spot on explaining the changes and challenges multinational selling organisations meet in the market place these days; and also how they act proactively to embrace these changes and change their approach to create more value for their clients.

Now enjoy the story…

IT’S NOT HOW, IT’S HOW MANY…
Author: Steve Thurlow, Business Dirctor Industrial and Engineering at Huthwaite International

So runs the old golfing adage, making the point that it doesn’t really matter how skilled or elegant your golf shots are, as long as you get the ball in the hole in fewer strokes than your opponent.

Back in the day the same argument held true for many sales organisations. There’s a story in my own company of a sales representative at one client who, despite failing to hit any of our skilled seller success indicators, out-performed most of her more skilled colleagues. When we looked a little closer the answer was simple; each morning she’d drive to the biggest office building she could find, walk into the first office on the ground floor and ask “want any Xerox?” She’d then go to the next office and repeat the question, and so on and so on…  Her success was purely and simply down to the fact she made over 100 sales calls a day, many times more than her colleagues.If only that was still true today. It doesn’t need much, just a limitless supply of prospects, a clearly differentiated product and ultra-competitive pricing – not much to ask for. And the move away from abundance has other consequences, in areas like performance management.  In the good old days success could be measured by simply how hard one worked, so easy, hard metrics, like the number of sales calls made, were all that were needed. As times changed and an ethos of ‘work smarter not harder’ began to emerge so sales management had to adapt and rise to the challenge of capturing softer, more qualitative metrics, things like call outcomes and number of needs uncovered.

Now even that is not enough. The world has changed again, as exemplified by a recent case study in The Manufacturer about our client Granta Design.

Granta typify the ultra-high tech specialist provider with strongly differentiated products who have grown over recent years but now face a new challenge. Traditionally Granta have sold their solutions, specialist materials analysis software and tools, to the people who use them, materials and design engineers.  However, today’s environment is more joined up. Granta’s customers have realised the solutions have impact across the whole business and, in response, Granta know they can help customers make fundamental improvements in entire business processes.

That changes the whole sales dynamic once again. Now Granta can sell across the entire customer organisation at all levels, from engineers to supply chain specialists, the environmental team, sales & marketing and the executive board. And to meet this change Granta has changed their customer interface at every level. Now, by equipping all their client facing teams with the right analytical tools to understand each differing contact’s needs, and the skills to uncover and develop them, Granta have created a multi-faceted but customer-centric sales organisation that truly reflects the deep, complex selling relationships that exist today.

Which begs the question; have you?

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