International Office Products Distributor

Situation

  • A national distributor of office products and supplies was attempting to grow their share of market in a highly competitive marketplace
  • Margin pressure and price competitiveness eroded profitability
  • The organization placed a high value on the largest accounts; however, the sales force did not have the tools or support mechanisms to introduce additional product categories to these accounts and their various buying locations
  • Customer coverage was inconsistent with mid-market customers being underserved/neglected while large accounts were also limited by coverage bandwidth

Objectives

The following strategic platforms were established to help increase sales while also improving profitability:

  • Develop methodology to gain customer insights and provide actionable results from that feedback
  • Create a structured approach for mid-market account acquisition and penetration
  • Develop programs to expand product and service offerings to large accounts while also increasing adoption in new non-buying locations of the same accounts
  • Test and implement integrated coverage models, support tools and response systems to increase the scope and effectiveness of the sales force

Approach

Several different approaches were used to address each objective:

  • Develop an Integrated Sales Model
    • Ensure coverage of the entire account base
    • Balance the cost of selling to the economic worth at a customer level
    • Use lower cost media to significantly increase volume of customer contacts
    • Create a competitive advantage through relationships with customers
  • Create a Large Account Management and Penetration Program
    • Identify sales opportunities for product/service offerings
    • Identify, target and convert additional non-buying locations within strategic accounts
    • Develop system to identify and fix lost revenue opportunities and product/ service related issues
    • Create criteria to help identify and save at-risk accounts
  • Create new/existing customer response systems and standardize processes for field sales involvement
    • Identify, pursue and convert mid-market accounts and smaller locations of large accounts
    • Drive qualified opportunities to field sales
    • Stimulate repurchase behavior and route small businesses and individuals to self-service solutions
    • Build knowledge base and rapid response to provide higher service levels and perceived value to existing customer relationships

Results

  • Grew year-over-year sales at a 14-18% rate each month through a 6-month pilot
  • Maintained double-digit annual sales growth over 3+ years
  • Drove substantial increases in customer satisfaction and customer retention