Situation: the foreign sales company had only 7 customers, which imported products directly from Germany. I was asked to become the general manager of the sales company.
Challenge: to utilize the market potential of the country and increase the turnover considerably. To achieve this target, the customer structure was meant to be expanded and the sold product range widened. The dependency on existing customers was to be reduced.
Approach: In customer channels wholesale, OEM and retail new customers were acquired in parallel. In the wholesales channel regional dealers were selected that were already known to adjacent industries to minimize payment defaults. The originally existing directly importing customers were transformed to local business and specially supported to maintain their loyality. In the retail channel, customers from other countries were accompagnied in their expansion into the country and benchmark delivery and merchandise requirements fulfilled. In the OEM channel potential customers were contacted based on market information and project knowledge.
Result: After 4 years, there were 125 direct customers in the whole country. In all 3 sales channels the number of customers was increased and supported sustainably by regional employees. The turnover had tripled. In spite of this restructuring, none of the original customers had left. The level of delivery service and quality of sales promotion were seen as benchmark in Europe.
Success factors were the parallel expansion of sales and supporting functions in logistics and controlling. To compete with local competitors innovative products were introduced, with training sessions and sales promotion supporting customers.