SPROUTING NEW SALES GROWTH
This sales team needed to transform their customer relationships from “What would you like to buy?” to “Here’s how we can help you grow.”
Central Garden & Pet Company is a leading innovator, marketer and producer of quality branded products for consumer and professional use in the lawn and garden and pet supplies markets. The company has primarily grown through their 40+ acquisitions, and they now realize that to get the most out of these acquisitions they must shift from acting like a portfolio of companies to performing like a portfolio of brands. A key component of this shift is the transformation of their sales organization from being reps who push products to becoming trusted advisors who help their customers drive results with the right mix and merchandising of Central brands. Facing flat revenues over the past three years, the SVP of Central Garden Sales knew how significant the reinvention of the sales force needed to be. He kicked off the transformation program saying, “We need to transform the organization, not just provide sales training”.
Central Garden has partnered with Symmetrics Group to build a high performing sales organization that is recognized as best-in-class, and, more importantly, drives aggressive growth to support the organization’s long-term objectives. This transformation has focused on three main areas:
- Foundational Sales Processes and Capabilities - Building core solution selling capabilities to elevate Central’s position and value in the market and to drive growth with current customers. Key focus areas have been value proposition development, presentation delivery, negotiation and objection handling, and territory and account management.
- Sales and Marketing Integration – Improving the quality and consistency of core product messages that the sales teams deliver to customers. This has included, for key brands, the development of product value propositions comprised of customer-focused messages and supporting consumer insights. It has also included the development of standard presentation templates designed to improve the consistency and structure of messages that that the sales teams deliver.
- Sales Leadership Development – Providing sales managers with the knowledge and tools to imbed the transformation into the organization. This has included providing the leadership team with the resources and skills to coach and reinforce effective selling behaviors as well as performance standards and reporting cadences to provide rigor to the process.
Symmetrics Group developed this custom-fit transformation approach by actively partnering with key stakeholders and becoming knowledgeable about both the company and the industry. The team continues to learn about the business through employee and customer interviews, field rides, reviews of current work products, and employee surveys. They regularly review their findings, analysis, and recommendations with key stakeholders and readily respond to feedback to ensure engagement across the field. They also remain sensitized to the specific needs of field salespeople – developing job aides that they can carry with them, minimizing time out of field for training, and doing in-market coaching that provides real-time value to Central and their customers.
Central kicked off 2011 with its first-ever Central Garden sales meeting, and they’ve been off and running ever since. While Symmetrics Group is still working with Central to reinforce and sustain the new selling behaviors and processes, the company has seen positive overall sales results. As the US economy and consumer spending has escalated, Central’s sales teams have been well prepared to deliver tailored solutions to their customers. This has resulted in a net sales increase of $95 million, an increase of 8 percent. Based on the positive response of the field to this transformation effort, the organization has decided to expand the scope from the Garden sales organization to the Pet sales organization, as well.