When Gena Allan joined a U.S.-based food manufacturer as a sales representative, she quickly settled into the new role. One day, while setting up visits with her largest client, a Tier 1 grocery chain, she noticed that something wasn’t lining up. Her client’s master store list wasn’t lining up with her customer database. A bit of research revealed that about 240 stores weren’t even in the database. It was an a-ha moment.
Gena’s company was listed as an approved vendor for all stores at customer head office. Why was her company not selling to all of those stores?
The answer is that these were remote stores, too far away to merit in-person visits. So Gena got permission to add the stores to the customer database. She divided them up between all 15 sales people and set up a schedule for calling and setting up promotion notification emails to store managers.
Remote sales success!
The store and department managers that Gena and her colleagues reached were unanimously excited. Her company had never reached out to them, even though product was listed and available to them. When they finally heard from a sales rep, they were honoured and elated. Distance had always formed a barrier, but it was more of a mental barrier than real one.
Gena and the sales team generated $600K of new business in just 8 months, without a single in-person visit, proving that distance didn’t really matter. Reps started generating strong, solid relationships and partnerships with the stores, building trust and loyalty — and doing all of it remotely.
The cannibalism question
The one drawback that Gena and co. experienced was that everyone was already busy. Sales reps had full rosters; lots of calls and visits to make. Taking time away from their focus — servicing the A, B and C-list stores — was hurting those sales. They quickly discarded the idea of using customer service relationship (CSR) staff for the task, because selling successfully takes a very specific skillset.
The solution that Gena came up with was to ask a salesperson who had taken a leave of absence to ‘go remote’. When that change was implemented, sales to main stores bounced back. Meanwhile, most of those 240 stores became dedicated customers.
Execution is key
Why don’t existing sales organizations create remote-selling teams? They can. The difficulty lies in creating a plan that works, and in the execution. With Simply Remote, after we have completed our initial analysis we can start right away and get results that same month.Contact us