Sales Force of the Future Study Indicates Retailers and Manufacturers More Aligned on Key Attributes


For further information, contact
Susanne Conrad
Dechert-Hampe Consulting
555 Skokie Blvd., Ste. 450
Northbrook, IL 60062

Sales Force of the Future Study Indicates Retailers and Manufacturers More Aligned on Key Attributes

NORTHBROOK, IL, January 19, 2010 – Sales executives are experts at knowing what their customers want – Right?

For the third time in the last seven years Dechert-Hampe Consulting has tested that premise with our Sales Force of the Future industry survey. In these surveys we ask senior sales and retailing executives from some of the largest organizations in America to tell us what their priorities are by rating the current and future importance of twenty-one key attributes of the sales force. Then we ask them how well they think the sales community (defined as manufacturers’ sales representatives) is doing at meeting those priorities.

The results reveal inconsistencies of opinion that remain surprisingly consistent across the years. The biggest overall inconsistency in the findings is that retailers always rate almost everything as having a higher Current Importance than manufacturers do. This dichotomy, perhaps simply driven by the real-time nature of the retail business system, consistently disappears when these same executives are asked about the Future Importance of these same attributes. Two things happen: One, the manufacturer and retailer ratings come much closer together; and, two, both groups consistently rate all attributes as being more important in the future than they are today.

When it comes to evaluating how well sales teams deliver against the attributes, what was an inconsistency in 2007 has disappeared, and manufacturer sales executives’ and retailers’ opinions once again align in the most recent study. Unfortunately, we are aligned as an industry in thinking that our performance does not live up to our expectations.

To allow manufacturer organizations to develop solid, forward-looking sales force development strategies, DHC created the Sales Force of the Future Study (SFOTF). The SFOTF study was first conducted in 2002 and again in 2007 and 2009. This update, released at the end of 2009, allows participating organizations to:

  • Identify what is important to manufacturer and retailer (customer) – now and in the future;
  • Determine how well manufacturers are performing – their perspective vs. the retailers’ (customer) perspective;
  • Compare results across time to identify trends; and
  • Enable manufacturers to determine the training and development implications for their organizations

Dechert-Hampe Consulting (DHC) is a national sales and marketing consulting firm founded over 50 years ago, offering solutions that result in tangible change, measurable results, a competitive advantage and an enhanced return on sales and marketing investments. DHC has offices located in Orange County, CA, Northbrook, IL and Fairfield County, CT.


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