Situation: A company is rapidly ramping sales of standard products. However, the rep network that sells the company’s products has had more difficulty selling higher dollar / higher margin custom products. How do you sell both standard and custom products?
Advice from the CEOs:
- Make the custom products look more like spec products with adaptability. Create a grid that allows the customer to easily spec the specific product that they need and quickly determine the price of the product. This price can be overestimated at first blush, or scaled depending on the number of units wanted. Consider using a laptop or PDA spreadsheet.
- Consider the combination specialist / generalist approach that companies have used successfully for highly technical sales. Put a significantly higher commission on the higher price / margin custom product, and have your own “specialist” reps do joint calls with the distributor reps who have relationships with the customer. With the incentive of higher commissions, a percentage of the distributor reps will take the initiative to learn from your inside reps how to sell the custom product to boost their sales and commission income.
- For your distributor reps, separate and optimize lead generation and deal closing from a compensation standpoint to encourage both.
- Reps with consultative sales experience, for example selling intangibles such as insurance, may be the best candidates to sell your custom offering.
- Offer quarterly training of your reps and distributors to encourage them to sell the custom products.
- Consider telemarketing. Support your telemarketers with a well-prepared script to assist them in qualifying prospects and setting appointments for your own reps.