Insights from the Field: From the Loading Dock to the Conference Room – A Successful Sales Transformation at Bob EvansJune 4, 2012 | Posted by Scott McCarthy in Uncategorized
Scott McCarty is the Director of Sales Strategy and Process at Bob Evans Farms, Inc.
Consistent with the rest of the business world, our customer base had evolved to larger corporations, with the predictable shift in scope, approach and sophistication. Bob Evans responded with a change in our retail to-market structure from a Direct Store Delivery (DSD) to a customer-supplied warehouse model. This shift presented significant challenges and opportunities. Our customer decision makers had shifted from a back office/ loading dock role to the front office conference room. The “sales” discussion had become broader – beyond product quality – to address extended benefits of carrying Bob Evans product. Our value offering needed to address not only consumer preference and product quality, but also much broader strategic considerations.
In addition to creating a selling approach to better support our new to-market structure, we also sought a uniform foundation for our sales process, an increased focus on and sensitivity to our customers’ needs, improved understanding of industry-specific challenges, and ultimately, to improve/build the individual confidence level of each sales representative to meet these new expectations.
Dimensions of Professional Selling (DPS) sales training was provided for the entire Bob Evans sales, sales management and marketing teams. In addition, one internal member of sales leadership was certified as a DPS facilitator. We followed up later the same year with Carew’s Pathways to Negotiations (PTN) training.
Here are a few wins to date:
• Increased success rate
• Healthy return on our training investment
• A common language for our entire sales team
• Consistent guideline for building a solid selling foundation
• Expedited sell in of programs and products
• The ability to exceed customer expectations
• Improved growth and efficiency in our innovation launches
• Improved decision-making that supports our business model and strategic objectives
• Authentic alignment of marketing and sales teams to support a customer-focused approach
Keys to Success:
• Internal DPS-certified facilitator – Creating an internal DPS facilitator was key to leading the organizational process long after the seminars were completed. This individual (me) continues to provide coaching, leadership, reinforcement and guidance to the team based on the training.
• Structured reinforcement – We schedule time in each sales meeting to review a real world application for team practice in advance of any appointments. We focus on the principles learned in DPS, including GAP, Diamond Presentation Process, LAER Bonding Process, negotiations and communications methods. This fully prepares our team to face the challenge in advance of customer face-to-face sales time, and therefore make the most of these opportunities.
• Strategic partnership – Bob Evans created a strategic partnership with Carew International, so that we can continue to identify and respond to the changing business requirements for long term growth.
We are positioned for future success and are aligned with consistent terminology within our field based teams. The result is an increase in overall communication efficiencies coupled with a sales force that is focused on meeting the needs of our customers and consumers. In general, this alignment is a Win-Win-Win for all!
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