Tag Archives: Regional

How Do You Shift From Regional to National Operations? Three Foci

Situation: A company has a network of regional offices, operating under loose oversight from the home office. Increasingly, large customers are asking for national service agreements, but the company struggles to coordinate uniform national service delivery. How do you shift from independent regional to coordinated national operations?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • If you want to act like a national company, then organize like a national company. Create a national account office which will take the lead in negotiating national contracts. That office will then coordinate with the regional offices to assure that service delivery occurs according to contract.
    • As the national office is built, it will be important for them to understand how service delivery may vary between states because of differences in state regulations. This will require a manager who is experienced and knowledgeable in your field. This may be a promising current regional manager or an outside individual from your industry.
    • You will also want to define customer categories which will enable you to classify current and prospective customers as regional or national accounts. You may want to consider three customer categories, for example Regional, Emerging National and National Accounts.
  • The key to success will lie in your incentive and professional development structures.
    • If region managers receive their incentives and promotions primarily for developing regional business, then this is where they will focus.
    • If you want the region managers to shift their activity and priorities to creating and servicing national contracts, then bias both your incentives and professional development programs accordingly.
    • For region managers, continuity of business will be a top priority, as this enables them to maintain region performance. To come on-board with the new program, they must perceive a value for both themselves and their customers.
  • Once you have determined your structure, look for high profile wins that drive the structure. Reward and promote those who produce these wins.
    • These producers will become your champions for change.
    • The message will spread quickly across the organization.

What Leading Sales Indicators Are Effective? Four Suggestions

Situation: A company has experienced low sales early in its peak season due to bad weather. The CEO wants to develop additional leading indicators that will help predict whether sales will recover prior to the end of the peak season. What leading indicators have you found effective in predicting seasonal sales?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Access to benchmarked research can be helpful, especially industry reports that cite growth indicators. Some industry report producers can generate drill-down reports of their base data for a fee. This allows you to tailor your own study based on their data.
  • Depending upon whether you set revenue projections by brand or product line, look for indicators within brands or lines that will provide you with clarity on sales projections. An example is product reviews in relevant newsletters, provided that these have effectively benchmarked to sales results in the past.
  • In addition to new leading indicators for existing products, there are a number of ways that you can reduce the impact of seasonality on your cash flow. These include: investments that will lead to future income streams; new product placements to compliment or extend current lines; new key customers or outlets through which you can expand your market; and increasing sales calls to create new demand. Also, use the current season to establish additional benchmarks that will be useful in future years.
  • Other tactics include evaluating in-house versus contract production of your products to improve your margins, and strategies to improve up-sales from medium to premium products where margins are better. You can also focus on smaller independent outlets rather than national chains which are dominated by national brands, and also regional explore private label opportunities.