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Analyze Customer Needs and the Resources You Need to Meet Them

April 27, 2009

Mike Emerson and Mike Marks of Indian River Consulting Group recently presented "Sales Force Compensation: Best Practices in Tough Times" in a free MDM Webcast sponsored by Sage. Emerson wrote a followup article for MDM, Align Selling Resources to the Market. In the article, published in the April 25, 2009, issue of MDM (found here), he encourages distributors to take a closer look at their customer base to determine what type of sales resource is appropriate for each customer based on that customer's needs.

For example, customers that require assistance when selected products need active involvement, while those that use internal capabilities to select products need passive involvement on the part of the distributor. Customers that rarely purchase but are always asking for quotes make buying decisions based on price - so a fax machine may be the only selling resource required.
Distributors can conduct this analysis to identify how customers can be aligned with selling resources so that their needs are met at the lowest cost - important when distributors are trying to do more with less.
Emerson explains:
"An excellent analogy exists in health care. When someone goes to the hospital, they receive care from many different individuals. One person will take their blood pressure and temperature, while another individual will ask questions about the symptoms they are experiencing. Finally, a doctor will issue a diagnosis and implement a treatment plan.
"Although a doctor is capable of performing all these tasks, others within the hospital undertake activities they can perform effectively to free up the doctor for high-value activities. Considering the cost difference hospitals incur for doctors versus nurses versus technicians, it only makes economic sense for the lowest cost function that can competently perform a task to perform it."
He says that many distributors find that more than 20% of the accounts assigned to an outside sales rep can have their needs met by a lower cost function.
Read the article: Align Selling Resources to the Market
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