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Transitioning the Sales Model: From Outside to Inside

Posted by IndustrySelect on Monday, March 13, 2023



Changing business direction isn’t a strategy a company does every day. With careful planning, knowing your market and your customers, just maybe, there’s a chance. First Choice Material Handling took the risk in 2019. Here’s their story.

First Choice Material Handling started out as a material handling distributor. The company sold a variety of recognized brands and support services. Even though their current business model was profitable and allowed for long-term growth, management noticed an underserved market. It was an opportunity significant enough to make them consider a change…a big one. The company transitioned from a distributorship to a dealer.

Proving That it Worked

First Choice Material Handling had to prove that their current and proven philosophy and methodology as a distributor worked. The details for implementation were left to Chuck Langley, the General Sales Manager for First Choice. Chuck believes that to build a solid foundation for the new strategy, start with what and who you know. Using this approach, the Company developed a two-fold strategy. First, reach out to current service customers and second, rely on the company’s proven reputation for service and support to drive in sales leads.

The Plan to Get New Customers

Reaching out to current, active customers was easy. First Choice developed a positive working relationship with the long-time customers. However, moving from a distributor to a dealer, finding new customers was going to be more of a challenge. There were sales tools that First Choice Material Handling needed to use, especially for lead generation. They turned to IndustrySelect’s lead generation partner, SalesLeads Inc., to learn more about its Prospecting Services. SalesLeads specializes in the industrial sector.

Results in the First 4 Months of Service:

39 leads generated $521,000 in potential business

8 new service customers later turned into equipment sales

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Purpose of SalesLeads Inc.

Chuck Langley was ready to launch the program. He had a specific agenda: generate sales leads and appointments in a well-defined territory for two new sales executives. SalesLeads used one of First Choice’s sales tools…MNI's IndustrySelect database. The database provides SalesLeads with the quality data needed for planning and executing the Prospecting Services. The database is used to identify the various facility locations for a single company to ensure penetration of the account and its opportunities.

As the program got underway, results started to come within the first month. Quality appointments were made that gave First Choice Material Handling the fast start they were working toward.

The Key to Success

The key to the successful partnership was consistent communication. “SalesLeads communicates all opportunities with clarity and transparency,” said Mr. Langley. “All appointments are set up a week or two in advance, making it easy for me to manage my schedule.” An email with a specific banner is used to identify an appointment with a new prospect. Included in the description is background information and conversation notes. This is used when First Choice has one-on-one meetings with the prospect.

Each month, First Choice Material Handling and SalesLeads discuss successes, any outstanding leads, modifications that need to be made and plan for the next set of opportunities.

The Path May Be in the Opposite Direction

Sometimes being new has its advantages. A targeted sales lead was located in the opposite direction from where most of the sales activity reides. First Choice had to decide to either take a pass on the lead or take a chance and honor the appointment in a new area. First Choice Material Handling decided to conduct the meeting in-person. After a thorough needs analysis, there were many products and services the company needed. Within the week, a credit application and an order were received.

Another sales appointment was scheduled, this time for a mid-sized company. The prospect needed preventative maintenance and potentially a rental. After evaluating their business needs, rental won the conversation. Once they experienced First Choice’s dedication to service, additional business kept coming with over $10,000 in service projects and another $200,000 in equipment sales.

What’s Next for First Choice?

First Choice views the combination of SalesLeads and MNI as an instrumental part of the sales team. “We want to be there when a prospect or a customer needs a service done…not just when we need business,” concluded Mr. Langley.

Get Results Like These With Our Industrial Prospecting & Appointment Setting Services

Industrial prospecting and appointment setting services helps suppliers in the industrial sector to uncover new customers to increase top line revenue. Our goal is to get your sales team in front of key decision makers at your ideal customers in order to keep the sales funnel full. Learn more about our industrial prospecting & appointment-setting services here


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