A big challenge for distributors is that salespeople tend to get comfortable in their account packages - a problem when those accounts are buying fewer items thanks to a still-down market. Jim Ambrose, author of Cracking Accounts, says that salespeople need to be retrained and reenergized to find where sales are. For those who aren't willing to take a new approach to their work? He says: "You might want to take them out because they're not adapting the reality of economics and coming up with a more disciplined approach."
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Ambrose's approach is to focus on improving Return on Effort put forth by salespeople. "If ever there was a best opportunity to increase your sales discipline, the time is now because you can significantly improve your business if you increase your salespeople's activities to go after low-hanging fruit, or crack the easiest accounts. Your competitors are assuming that if they're losing business right now it's because of the economy. If you go in there with a new approach to sales, you could start to pick up some share at these accounts. Maybe they're slower today but if they're not out of business, they're still buying product."
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