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Tip: Assign Sales Resources Based on Customer Needs

December 13, 2010

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Should outside or inside sales handle a particular customer? Mike Emerson of Indian River Consulting Group says evaluating the customer base with a critical eye and understanding of their economic drivers is essential to answering this question.

To start, consider customers' ratio of purchases relative to quote; whether the purchases are expected to change in the near future; how much untapped opportunity exists in that customer; how much a given customer relies on you to help select products; and whether the customer is significant enough to your business that an outside salesperson needs to call on him.

Emerson says: "The answers to these questions will identify what type of sales resource is appropriate for each customer based on a customer's needs. Customers that require assistance when selecting products clearly need active involvement while those that use internal capabilities to select products need passive involvement. Customers that rarely purchase but are constantly asking for quotes likely make buying decisions based on price, and an operational fax machine is the only selling resource required to maintain or grow sales within these customers. Customers whose purchases have changed little may only require support from inside sales as fulfillment, not selling, is all that is required."

Emerson says that most companies that complete this analysis will find that more than 20 percent of the accounts assigned to an outside sales representative can have their needs met by a lower cost function.

Here are a premium article on the topic:
Align Selling Resources to the Market

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