The president of Longleaf Collection, a small, U.S. hardware manufacturer, is a hands-on manager, keeping busy with tasks ranging from overseeing the factory to working alongside customers. Between those responsibilities, running another company, and wanting to grow sales, he faced serious time constraints in managing Longleaf’s independent sales force.
Marketing Representatives LLC (MRL), a division of Interline Creative Group, partnered with Longleaf and took over the president’s field sales oversight responsibilities, freeing him to focus on other matters. MRL began by assessing the effectiveness of each product representatives through in-person interviews and account review. Considered factors included traditional measures, such as sales history/volume and market penetration, as well as product knowledge and personal dedication to selling Longleaf.
MRL’s number one criterion for reps was their commitment to go beyond being basic order-takers. Reps were asked to think outside- the-box and develop partnerships for unique win-win opportunities. MRL sales managers pre-screened reps and now offer ongoing training, fresh sales leads, and other tools aimed at heading in this new direction.
Longleaf has benefited by having a reenergized sales force and an effective strategy for standing out in a crowded field. Regular training and support not only updates reps on product and sales matters, but keeps them engaged and always thinking about ways to drive sales. Longleaf reps no longer depend on tired tactics for making sales; they are now challenged to try new angles and work untapped channels.