A small-but-mighty company shows how to achieve quantum growth by installing the right selling system in the right way.
Barcode equipment reseller Supply Chain Services Inc. (SCS), of Stillwater, MN, did something remarkable in 2011: it grew revenues by 60 percent – with no loss of profit margin. Even the company's
managers were surprised. A year ago, they thought they were being plenty ambitious when they set a growth goal of 20 percent.
What happened? First, SCS acquired a new owner and CEO, Chip Emery. Second, Emery introduced a new sales system: Action Selling. Third, SCS made sure that every employee, not just the salespeople, received training in the Action Selling system.
That unusual third step – the idea of spreading training throughout the company – was crucial to achieving the eye-popping 60 percent growth rate. It allowed SCS to weave the new system into the organization so thoroughly that everyone – managers, technicians, and salespeople – could speak the same language and pull in the same direction.
As SCS's chief operating officer, Dave Green, puts it, "Action Selling provided the system, the language, and the sales culture that we needed to execute our ambitious growth strategy. What are we doing better today? We use Action Selling to differentiate ourselves in a commodity marketplace. We have dramatically improved our ability to assess the customer's needs and fit our solutions to those needs. And we confidently ask for commitment. We didn't do that before we were trained in Action Selling."
SCS's feat – 60 percent growth in a down economy – was enabled by integrating Action Selling into the company's day-to-day life. Every week, SCS's four top executives conduct sales call planning sessions with their sales force. They use the language and process of Action Selling to drill down to specific, concrete situations that the salespeople face on the job. What gets practiced and managed gets done. "Our team functions differently today," says Emery. "I can't think of a single job that we didn't win since [using] Action Selling."
Is Everybody On Board?
The fact that Action Selling is an effective system, one that can demonstrably improve sales performance, makes it a great tool. But the results you get from any tool depend on how you use it. "The difference between good and great lies in how thoroughly you absorb what the system gives you," Green says. "When salespeople start to believe in and live the Action Selling process, that's how you get the extra lift. Everything you need to accomplish this is built into the Action Selling training and coaching system."
But it's more than just salesperson buy-in. "Everyone in our company sees and understands the benefits of Action Selling," Green says. "Our technical staff has a better idea of what we can do to satisfy a customer's needs. Our salespeople sell with far more confidence. Management understands what's going on in the field. We're very close to the customer because of how well we communicate with our sales force on every deal."
Action Selling was the perfect choice for SCS, Green says. "We waded in, studied and practiced hard, saw immediate results, and then practiced harder. Now we're exceeding our ambitious sales goals. I recommend Action Selling to anyone who is serious about growing their business."
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Full disclosure: The Sales Board is a customer of Selling Power.(www.thesalesboard.com)