Establishing a sales capability

This family-run print business was profitable and successful, but there was a high concentration of turnover in just a few key clients. The owner perceived this as a threat.

Our challenge

Although the owner and another family member had built the business to a multimillion-pound turnover, they had done so without prior sales management experience.

They had experimented in the past with hiring industry-experienced salesmen, but had parted company with them after a year or so of poor contribution that had left them with the belief that salesmen’s key skills were “selling themselves”.

They now felt that the business had hit a plateau from which they were unable to climb.

What we did

We started with a detailed audit of how the business currently managed the sales process, and how its core capabilities were perceived by key and occasional customers.

This threw up some interesting data – particularly on the differences between what the company thought it was selling and what the customers valued about its service. From this, and subsequent discussions with the owners, we arrived at a redefinition of the company’s core positioning.

We then brought design and production staff and the sales team together to develop a sales process that they could all understand, and created support materials.

We worked with the management team to devise a control-and-monitor system so that they could actively track the effectiveness of the sales team effort, and coached them on its application over a six-month period.

The outcome

A year after the initiation of the project, turnover was up by two thirds and the turnover dependency on the top five customers had been reduced by 12 percentage points.

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