178. 2020 Sales Force Plans/Questions (B*)

Selling-Model Stress Fractures?

Recent surveys find that next-gen, B2B, digital-first buyers want only-scheduled-as-needed sales rep calls. They prefer, initially, maximum e-information and real-time e-support: 24/7/365. And, texts about real issues are preferred over “how’s-it-going”, outbound phone calls.

B2B Brands are beginning to oblige new end-users with a flood of new, digital content. How will each Brand rethink the rest of their e-buying journey scenarios? Will brands seamlessly re-intermediate distributors, or not? By 2022, what other e-selling competitors, models, tools, and skills can be envisioned?

But, “My reps resist all changes”, you may say. If so, do a deep analysis of each rep to find individual solutions.

Start with Analytical Basics: 

  • What is the expense per sales call for each rep? This cost is built into the customer’s price. But, if next-gen buyers value these calls less and can find lower prices online for price-sensitive commodities, what will give?
  • How many calls per year on an account must a rep make to have a worthwhile relationship?
  • To cover this call-cost investment, what minimum annual margin dollars must an account yield? (Hint: $4-5K). How many, too-small accounts are being called on?
  • What average margin-dollars per order must a rep account have to be net-profitable?
  • Do you have reps whom you would not rehire? Why impose them on customers? Why let them continue to under-penetrate key (potential) accounts?
  • How can you get A reps calling on all A accounts as they also learn e-selling skills?

How Will (best) Reps Fit Into Your 2022 Selling Vision? Trend Questions:

  • Consolidation of brands, distributors, end-users will continue (?)
  • More key customers will seek, sole-supply, integrated, automated, replenishment solutions (?)
  • Total-procurement-cost solutions are sold by multi-skilled teams. Not reps to buyers in silos. (?)
  • Don’t distributors need Cost-to-Serve models at the line/pick level to have 3PL, unbundled-services-for-fees flexibility (?)
  • Trends 1-4 have already swept through retail and hospital-supply channels. Why not adapt their system-selling models and incentive plans?
  • As all channels transition to cloud ecommerce, how many selling models will you need?

Action Steps?

  1. Expand this list of questions and “live into them”. (For help: links below to my “Rep Questions” exhibit and slide show solutions.)
  2. Do a net-profit analysis for each sales territory, then consider my slide-show solutions.

*Second of four blogs on “scary strategic questions for 2020 planning.”