Gustave A. Larson Charts a Course for Sales Transformation - Modern Distribution Management

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Gustave A. Larson Charts a Course for Sales Transformation

Larson’s Matt Wisniewski provides a blueprint for how, and why, distributors can craft their own inside-out sales transformation.
Gustave A. Larson Sales Transformation

When Matt Wisniewski joined Gustave A. Larson Company three years ago, the distributor had many outside sales employees. After implementing an “inside-out” sales transformation, the number reduced by 80%.

While Larson culled a large number of its outside salespeople during the move to an integrated sales model, it has picked up additional employees across new roles at the company.

“Our goal was to build a growth engine with more capacity that can be handled more efficiently by the inside sales team, while still calling on the customers the way that they want to be served,” said CEO Andrew Larson.

Gustave A. Larson, which has more than 50 locations from the Midwest to the Mountain West, replaced its traditional wholesale distribution model with one that embraces a team sales concept. Larson does business across commercial refrigeration, HVAC, residential HVAC and sales and services.

Larson is just one example of how distributors’ sales teams are evolving from the traditional outside sales approach that includes in-person branch visits from salespeople to one that includes an omnichannel approach. Larson does business across commercial refrigeration, HVAC, residential HVAC and sales and services.

The ‘Team GUS’ model

To help foster the integrated sales model, Larson created its “Team GUS” or Giving Unbelievable Service model. The “G” also stands for founder Gustave A. Larson. Team GUS is a model for the territory teams that consist of a  territory manager, a customer experience representative, and various support specialists. Instead of having an outside salesperson handle all of the details of a sale, the team concept allows different employees to drill down on their specific areas of expertise “because not everyone knows everything,” said Wisniewski, who recently was a speaker and panelist at MDM’s Sales GPS conference in Chicago.

“We realigned our sales and marketing organization to enable us to delight the customer,” Wisniewski said of Team GUS’s goals.

After initially launching Team GUS during the pandemic, Team GUS 2.0 development started in the third quarter of this year. The overall goal is to have the Team GUS concepts fully integrated as part of Larson’s DNA in three years.

Larson is now sending out notifications to all of its customers that include the names and pictures of their territory managers, customer experience representatives, warehouse specialists and business development managers. The goal is to better communicate the new changes and how customers benefit from them.

One of the big takeaways from the Sales GPS Conference was that distributors need to plan and execute their own sales transformations now instead of putting them off. Those that do will better serve their customers and put distance between themselves and their competitors. “What we learned was, people don’t fear change,” Wisniewski said. “That’s a misnomer. I think people use that as a crutch or an excuse. They don’t fear change, they fear loss. If you can show somebody what’s good for them, that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, you will be very successful.”

Editor’s note: MDM is offering paid on-demand access to the 2021 Sales GPS Conference – video and presentations – in the next few weeks. The fifth annual was our best event yet! To be notified when available, email us and we’ll send you more information.

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