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The Compensation Situation - Specialist vs Generalist Part2 of 3

11 Feb, 2009 By: Rob Gilbert imageSource

The Compensation Situation - Specialist vs Generalist Part2 of 3

of the larger debates going on in the industry today is whether to open MPS
(Managed Print Services) up to all sales reps in a dealership or to utilize
specialists to launch your strategy.  Intermingled into that debate is the
question of compensation and how best to motivate the entire sales team with
whatever strategy you employ so that you achieve the desired result you are
looking for, which of course is greater revenue and profitability.  Let’s review
the options and try to shed some light on the debate.

One key factor in deciding which model makes sense for you is the
understanding of where you are and want to be positioned as a dealership.  What
is the overall skill level of your sales team?  Do you or have you had a
training program that has created professional consultants in our industry, or
do your reps possess the basic skill sets they need to go sell copiers?  As a
management team, are you helping your salespeople position themselves as
consultants, and crediting them with the professionalism and skills they need to
succeed at more than just a box sale?  Are you and will you be prepared to drive
and generate results from MPS?  Is your current sales strategy primarily
financially based?

If you can answer “yes” to these questions, you will probably be able to open
MPS up to the general sales force.  I often hear dealers say that they don’t
want to overburden the sales staff with more stuff to learn and do, and that’s
why they are looking at a specialist.  This becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. 
Because we assume they won’t do it, they don’t do it.  They also won’t do it
unless they are paid to do it, which we will address later.  It happens to a lot
of us; we use information from the past to guide our plans for the future.  Some
dealers, however, assume that if their reps have all of the information and
tools and training they can give them, and a compensation model to motivate
them, that they will be successful at driving MPS.  Mathematically, if you have
10 reps and 30% of them run with an MPS strategy, that is still more than one
specialist can do. 

factor is that for many dealers, there are multiple lines of equipment to sell,
possibly fax, wide format, scanning, file archival and storage, and so on. 
Often the feeling is that if we pile MPS on top of all of THIS, they’ll never
sell anything.  And in some cases that’s true.  It really gets back to a matter
of focus from the top of the organization on what the sales team should focus
on.  If your reps are required to sell this type of mix, a specialist may very
well be the answer, in that they can focus only on Managed Print Services and
drive results with the help of the general reps.

Specialists are more limited in scope and process than a generalist and are
trained specifically to drive MPS through deeper account management, analytics
in workflow assessments, knowledge of CPC programs and how to position products
that meet the needs of the customer most effectively.  They work with the
general rep or reps on specific activity sets to set appointments, do
walkthroughs and take audits, and follow up items through the proposal and close
phases of the sale.    Monthly reviews of accounts and actions become a normal
part of the sales process with specialists, in order to create better awareness
of next actions, and key responsibilities for each person involved with the
sale.  It’s very important to establish the hierarchy in this relationship so
that each party understands what their role is and how they are compensated.  I
have seen several scenarios work.

  • A Split in Favor of the Specialist | The generalist sets the appointment,
    and then the specialist drives the process to completion.  All key tasks are
    performed by the specialist.
  • 50-50 Split For Both Reps | Equal sharing of responsibilities and tasks
    throughout the sales process.
  • Specialist Works Independently | Not as widely used but can be effective
    and allows generalist to continue focus on key activities.  Specialist pays a
    commission fee to general rep that has the territory the specialist works in.
  • Specialist With Specific Account List | Specialist works only specified
    accounts and receives full compensation for results obtained.

The best plan is to have a plan, and a concise compensation model that will
engage either general reps, specialists, or a combination to drive the process
to achieve results for the dealership.  Managed Print Services can be the most
profitable sales your company can put together, and the creativity you show in
compensating the process will ultimately determine your success rate.  Also keep
in mind that compensation can be a flowing arrangement.  Once you are producing
results, you will be able to fund different types of incentives to achieve even
greater results.

Rob Gilbert, Sr., DSM Fleet Management Services, Compass Sales Solutions.
Rob has 20 years experience, including CPP programs from consultation to
implementation. www.compasscontact.net.

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