Why You Should View Sales Calls as Investments

Written by Mike Marks on Thursday, 05 November 2015. Posted in Sales Management, Distribution

mdm webcastsAre your salespeople spending time with customers where there is real opportunity for growth? IRCG has found that many salespeople spend more time with customers based on geography or comfort level vs. real opportunity.

Distributors should view sales calls as investments. And data can help you determine where to invest that time and money. Technology tools that parse that data, delivered to sales professionals in the field, can help salespeople be more effective. What’s more, sales managers will know whether the time a salesperson is investing is appropriate, IRCG Managing Partner Mike Marks said recently in a webinar with Modern Distribution Management on how to build an analytics culture.

To effectively use data, however, the sales team must buy-in to its value. Marks and fellow webinar presenter Julia Klein, CEO of specialty building materials distributor CH Briggs, both emphasized involving senior and influential salespeople in the design and customization of any technology assigned to the task.

For Klein, who has gone through this process with salesforce.com, this was critical. “Nobody designed it in isolation. It was really a cross functional team effort.” Klein’s team uses iPads in the field, with customized reporting for each customer.

“As with any new tool that you roll out, there are people who embrace it quickly, and people that need a little bit more time,” Klein continued. “There’s a spectrum for sure. The spectrum doesn’t have anything to do with age. But it didn’t take a really long time once we could demonstrate value for people to be more successful using the tool than not using the tool.”

Check out the webcast on-demand from MDM: Build an Analytics Culture

Not sure where to take your company next? Indian River Consulting Group can facilitate your next management strategy meeting, bringing decades of experience to the table to help you use data to set your course. Learn more here.

About the Author

Mike Marks

Mike Marks

Mike Marks co-founded IRCG in April 1987. He began his consulting practice after working in distribution management for more than 20 years. Over the years, his narrow focus in B2B channel-driven markets has created an extensive number of deep executive relationships within virtually every business vertical in construction, industrial, OEM, agricultural, and healthcare.

Mike has led project teams that improve market access by aligning resources to growth opportunities serving manufacturers, dealers, and distributors. Clients have ranged from small privately owned firms to many of the industry’s market share leaders. Ownership structures have included owner-operators, private equity, ESOPs, and publically traded firms. Mike is proud of the teams work and the confidence clients have shown with additional project work.

He has written extensively, and is frequently quoted on many industry issues. He has substantial board experience on both public and private distribution firms. His contributions to the field include serving multiple terms as a Research Fellow with the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, permanent faculty at Purdue University’s University of Industrial Distribution, eight years as Graduate Adjunct Faculty in the Industrial Distribution Program at Texas A & M University, and rendering several precedent-setting expert opinions in contract disputes between manufacturers and distributors.

Prior to forming IRCG, Mike held the position of Executive Vice President at Lex Electronics, an $800 million vertically integrated electronics distributor in Stamford, CT. Mike’s path to management in his early career was through increasing responsibilities in sales and sales management. He also completed a tour of duty as a manufacturer’s representative.

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