Re-Energizing the Sales Strategy at a Century-Old Company

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Case Summary

This client was a wholly owned subsidiary of a global consumer packaged goods corporation with well-known brands used in millions of homes across the globe. The subsidiary had 10,000+ employees across fifteen countries  committed to a set of core values emphasizing integrity, community service, and entrepreneurship. For nearly 100 years, consumers have trusted these brands and products, and the company continues to look for solutions that make consumers’ lives easier, more safe, and fun. In an effort to bring these products to market more efficiently, this subsidiary sought the help of Symmetrics Group to evaluate their sales strategy.

Business Challenge

This company planned to combine two divisions and needed external support to analyze the best sales strategy and structure going forward. At the time, each of these divisions had their own dedicated sales team (direct and indirect) calling on many of the same customers. By combining divisions, they believed they could gain efficiencies, both internally and externally with their customer base. The overall question was whether the sales teams could be integrated so that one sales person could sell the “full bag” of products to a single customer. Secondarily, the company sought direction on adding a channel/trade marketing function to act as the intermediary between sales and marketing, taking on some of sales’ current responsibilities. This would allow the sales team to focus on customers and free-up marketing to focus on products. 

Symmetrics Group Approach

Through quantitative and qualitative analysis comprised of 60+ interviews, Symmetrics Group worked with this client on the following:

  • Customer/Go-to-Market Strategy: We analyzed the current customer base and how the customers buy the products/categories (e.g., single or multiple category managers), as well as reviewed the remaining potential in the relevant categories and the overall customer base.
  • Sales Force Productivity: We determined the current level of sales productivity and time spend and assessed the capability of the sales team to sell additional solutions (e.g., category and product knowledge required, additional selling time/sales calls). During our qualitative interviews, we uncovered existing and potential challenges to optimizing effectiveness.
  • Sales Force Structure: We reviewed the current structure, looking at reporting relationships, span of control, and number of headcount overall.
  • Recommendations: Throughout the process, we worked with leadership to evaluate options and develop recommended the go-forward sales strategy and structure.

Results

Our final recommendation included maintaining separate bags at the field level for the near-term, but integrating the responsibilities at the Director-level and above. Further consolidation at the field level is a possibility in the future, if they choose to implement a comprehensive cross-training program.

We also recommended creating a Customer Development Organization that would report under the Sales umbrella, separating customer and consumer-focused marketing activities.

Since the company tended to spend significant time and effort on one of the sales teams in particular, we created specific recommendations for improvements to either harvest for headcount reallocation, or fill open headcount and make other operational changes to position this team for growth.

During the change effort, we recommended employing a comprehensive communication plan, clarifying roles and responsibilities, and reviewing and mending broken, cumbersome internal processes.  Finally, we recommended stay bonuses for select key individuals critical to the SVP’s organization.

Testimonial

“The Symmetrics Group dug into our business, quickly understood it, and then guided us through a methodical approach to define what we needed to be. Critically, they challenged us all along the way – asking tough questions and making us stop many times about what and how we were approaching our business. They did a great job!!”  – VP of Sales

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