Case Study: How a Manufacturer Revived Sales Through Transforming Its Go-to-Market Strategy

Mike Moorman, Principal

This particular company had been the market leader for many, many years—they were the leader in terms of share; they were also the leader in terms of the kind of price premiums that they could command. And that leadership was beginning to erode.

Over the last five years, the customers in this industry have probably changed more than in the last 50 years. Some of the important changes were factors such as their use of the Internet to gather product information. They were no longer looking for information providers.

The other big change was that this company’s technological advantage was diminishing. The competitors were catching up. And what they were finding was that it was easy to sell back when they were the number one product.

Now that the margin was narrowing, they were actually learning that they weren’t quite as good at sales as they thought they were. They were going to have to significantly improve their overall sales force effectiveness in order to be competitive in this new world and to regain their lost share and their lost margins.

The first thing that they were going to have to do [was] get much better at covering the important accounts, their market coverage. They were missing many, many accounts and spending for too much time with small accounts and approaching large, important accounts in very fragmented ways.

We conducted a lot of analytic analysis to actually understand the potential of each and every account in their account universe. This required us to pull together data sources and integrate data sources that they had never used before, and ended up providing a picture of the account universe and an understanding of the value of accounts that they had never had as an organization.

What this allowed us to do, then, was to segment the accounts in a way that was able to drive a more effective sales force structure. We created a true strategic account management program that was focused on global customers and on their very large strategic customers.

This allowed us to place in these roles individuals with the unique skills and capabilities to be able to sell in these complex environments. And it allowed us to structure teams in a way that we achieved coordination on a global basis.

The project itself and our engagement required about nine months until they rolled out all of the big changes. And they tracked the performance impact over a 12-month period following that.

They were very successful. Within 12 months after the launch of the program, they had increased their revenue and profitability by 13% above market growth rates.