Case Study: Alpha Bravo Distribution

23 May 2008

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Setting Sales Force Goals For Growth Using Maintenance, Acquisition, and Penetration (MAP) Planning

Overview Alpha Bravo Distribution [ABD]* sells industrial and construction supplies within the continental US. Its Commercial Markets sales force covers small and medium-sized customer firms, and represents slightly more than half of company volume. ABD’s Commercial Markets sales growth and margin expansion efforts have fallen flat in recent years, with top-line sales growing only 1.9% to US$1.3 billion in the most recently completed fiscal year.

Management is convinced that ABD’s growth rate should be stronger, and that the sales organization is not focused on the best opportunities within the markets they serve. ABD Marketing estimates that market demand is expanding between five and seven percent annually. ABD’s two direct competitors are growing from one-and-one-half to three times ABD’s growth rate. In light of these circumstances, management is committed to pursuing the “realignment, redeployment, and reinvigoration” of its sales force for the coming year.

As part of this effort, ABD implemented MAP Planning in an attempt to current growth efforts, and to prioritize opportunities for additional future growth. Short for “Maintenance, Acquisition, and Penetration,” MAP analysis quantifies rates of retention, churn, and customer growth in sales and margin within the customer base. ABD chose MAP Planning in part because they had previously struggled with measuring customer retention and churn in a way that could be utilized at all levels within the organization.

This case study outlines ABD’s efforts to increase growth, and its experience adopting MAP Planning as a new management tool. ABD’s specific reporting tools, management presentations, report output, and sales force communication tools are also provided for the benefit of Sales Management Association members who wish to adapt these tools for their own use.

*All data has been disguised, and Alpha Bravo Distribution is a pseudonymous company name.

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