Why Remodel Your Sales Force?

Remodel Sales ForceThere are times in the life of every business when bold decisions are required to move forward rather than back.

Such was the predicament of GenTherm’s medical division CSZ (Cincinnati Sub Zero). In order to meet the performance expectations of their company parent, they completely changed the personnel and organization of their sales force.

Gary Price, Director of Global Sales and Marketing for CSZ tells us how he did it. The lessons here apply to hiring a single sales person or a new army.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM GARY PRICE OF GENTHERM’S CSZ – CINCINNATI SUB ZERO

WHAT LED YOU TO RE-ORGANIZE YOUR U.S. SALES ORGANIZATION?  (2:23 in)

In Gary’s words – The healthcare market is under tremendous cost pressures and there is a lot of competitive pressure. Many of these organizations (competitors) have multiple divisions or reps. We were lucky to get one or two sales calls a week and they’re getting several calls a day. The level of expertise on our products was not there as well.

Insight – Assess the depth and quality of the sales calls and service of your sales force.

WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF YOUR NEW SALES FORCE? (3:24 in)

In Gary’s words – Have our reps represent themselves as a trusted adviser. Reduce territory so they could get better penetration.

Insight – A consulting sales approach is known to be better received by customers than hardball tactics.

DESCRIBE YOUR RE-ORGANIZATION PROCESS AND THE STEPS YOU TOOK? (4:28 in)

In Gary’s words – We engaged a company to help us analyze the market potential. From there we chose the top 33 cities we needed to make an investment and put a direct rep in. Then what size territories are to get the penetration. Then what’s the profile of the rep we want. We put together a recruiting and interview plan.  

Insight – Consider using a company / sales assessment tool to uncover things you don’t necessarily pick up in an interview. Obtain competitive information on what competitors are paying sales reps.

HAVE YOU BEEN PLEASED WITH THE PROCESS AND THOSE YOU’VE HIRED? (8:45 in)

In Gary’s words – We have. It took about 7 months to get them hired. We’re starting to track the activity metrics, the pipeline growth. It’s all very encouraging.

Insight – Once the new team is in place, CSR isn’t leaving its sales force to fend for themselves. Monthly training activities are in place to sharpen sales skills and deepen product knowledge.

DID YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR MARKET SHARE WAS BEFORE YOU DID AN ANALYSIS? (11:36 in)

In Gary’s words – We did not. It gave us some really good data.

Insight – The assessment of market share and competitor standing helps CSR with developing their sales targets.

IF YOU HAD TO GO THROUGH THIS PROCESS AGAIN, WOULD YOU DO ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY? (12:25 in)

In Gary’s words – The biggest challenge is trying to estimate what the return on investment is going to be, meaning how much lift are you really going to get from an indirect to a direct sales force. Modeling of expense and lining that up with revenues is probably the most challenging part.

Insights– It may take 90 days or more for even seasoned sales reps to begin to generate sales at the level you want.

YOUR ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE FOR INTERNATIONAL SALES IS DIFFERENT, ISN’T IT? (15:49 in)

In Gary’s words – We have about 80 some distributors around the world. They’re their own businesses. They buy at a wholesale price and sell at whatever the market will bear in their country.

Insights – This arrangement works well to overcome language and cultural barriers and well as for handling compliance with government regulations.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE ELSE LOOKING TO RE-MAKE THEIR SALES FORCE? (17:43 in)

In Gary’s words – Be very clear on your goals. Invest in the planning upfront.

Insights– If you have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, going through the planning process and executing a plan to get there is easier to achieve.

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