ScanSource Revamps Sales Organization To Better Support Top Point-Of-Sale Partners

ScanSource is investing in business outcome-focused sales training and freeing up account reps' time so they can spend more time with the top 10 percent of partners.

The Greenville, S.C.-based distributor said its account-based sales reps will go from covering 30 to 40 partners to just 10 to 15 high-performing partners, giving them more bandwidth to focus on activities that will help solution providers grow their business, said Paul Constantine, co-president of worldwide barcode, networking and security.

"In order to get back to where we were from a service-level perspective, we needed to do things differently," Constantine told more than 200 solution providers at ScanSource Partner Summit 2016. "These changes hopefully allow us to get back to the level of service you expect from us."

[Related: Epson Exec: Demand Exploding for Tablet-Based Point of Sale Systems]

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ScanSource's sales reps will also undergo training in the next two or three months focused on knowing what questions to ask to get a better understanding of a partner's business and pain points beyond pricing and product availability. That will help reps present relevant solutions that address a solution provider's business needs, Constantine said Tuesday at the conference in Greenville, S.C.

"We have a lot of sales reps that need some training, that need some help," Constantine said, noting that a lot of ScanSource's sales reps already focus on business outcomes instinctively. "And we're going to make that investment so that they can help your business."

Too many partners don't understand how programs offered by ScanSource, such as the custom configuration center, demo programs or marketing services, could be applicable to them, Constantine said. He hopes a shift from more order taking to a truly consultative approach will result in more solution providers taking advantage of these services.

"Expect a different type of ScanSource sales rep in the next year," Constantine said.

ScanSource's first sales reorganization in more than two decades will also aid small and mid-size partners who are enjoying success, but aren't yet a large customer, said John Harrison, vice president of sales for ScanSource Point of Sale (POS) and Barcode.

Harrison said that earlier this year ScanSource took 23 of its reps and put them on territory growth teams focused on five different sales geographies in North America, with 300 to 400 solution providers in each territory. ScanSource will work with its SMB partners around e-commerce, business development and vendor relations to ensure that the channel is getting everything it needs for success, Harrison said.

Small and mid-sized partners will benefit from this arrangement, Harrison said, since they are being serviced by a unique set of sales reps and are therefore no longer playing second fiddle to their larger counterparts.

ScanSource has also freed up more time for the account reps serving large solution providers to focusing on growing the partner's business, Harrison said, with more menial tasks such as entering orders and chasing down ETAs on parts either becoming automated or shifting from the customer-facing account reps to other folks in the ScanSource organization.

ScanSource's sales team has a very high tenure, Harrison said, with the average sales rep having worked for the distributor for nine years.

The expectation from the reorganization is that partners that are intentionally in the POS or barcode business will receive more support than opportunistic partners, Constantine said.

He said that the custom configuration center can help partners scale effectively by allowing them to outsource configuration work to ScanSource when things are busy rather than employing an unnecessarily large internal configuration staff. The 250 ScanSource partners that took advantage of the configuration center grew their sales by 15 percent last year, while sales for remaining partners held roughly flat.

ScanSource's reorganization has already resulted in a much more responsive sales experience for AmpThink, with the Garland, Tex.-based company's new ScanSource sales rep now responding to inquiries after-hours, according to director of operations Adam Sijanksy.

Sijansky said that ScanSource's new sales structure has resulted in a much more personal touch for AmpThink.

"It feels like we're working with another small company," he said.

ScanSource appears to share Thomco's commitment to relationship-based selling and teamwork, according to Stephen Thompson, who does sales and technical work for the Greensboro, N.C.-based Thomco, a new ScanSource partner.

Thomco is leaning on the distributor for training around marketing, networking and printing equipment, Thompson said. Despite being new to ScanSource and representing very little business today, he said Thomco has received a lot of time and attention from the distributor.

"We don't feel like we're being forgotten," Thompson said.