Baria Planning Solutions: Publicly Traded Firm

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Baria Planning Solutions (BPS) was a publicly traded firm with $95 million annual sales. As a consulting firm, BPS provided advices of spend analysis and spend management, which helped its clients decrease cost of procurement and enhance the overall performance at every stage. Because of its first mover advantages, BPS had gained rapid growth in years before 2008. In 2007 and 2008, BPS acquired 3 firms, which served government sector, manufacturing companies and retail sector respectively. However, BPS allowed the acquired firms to operate semi-autonomously, which resulted in incompatibility among different departments, along with seasonal workload issue, both factors contributed to the decreased efficiencies, thus lowered the of overall performance. As for customer categorization, BPS categorized its customers into four different sorts---new sale, renewal, expansion, and pilot. However, although the direct sales force of BPS served customers globally, its primary target market is North America. The North American Sales organization was structured into three groups - Sales, Sales Operation, and Sales Support. Chuck Dee, Jane Albright and Christy Connor are corresponding directors of the above three groups. Employees in Sales Group were the front line force of the organization and they were split into four major industry sectors. Their primary job for Sales group was to make deals with customers and act as a bridge between Sales Support group and its clients. The Sales Operation group was responsible for competitive intelligence, win-loss analysis, sales training, staffing and managing the sales force compensation plan. Below is a list of four main responsibilities of Sales Support group. First, collecting data from prospects and transform data into a standard format. Second, processing data through BPS’s own spend analysis software and identify opportunities for cost reductions and supplier performance improvement. Third, assisting salespersons in developing and pitching proposal after the second step. Fourth, developing ultimate pricing proposal in accordance with sales strategy. President of BPS got direct report and feedback from directors of sales, sales operation, and sales support department respectively. Unlike other firms, which organized their sales support teams entirely by geography, BPS organized its sales support teams by industry focus. This unique structure provided BPS with advantage over its peer competitors by deeper understanding of industry-centric issues.

SWOT ANALYSIS
STRENGTHS
BPS occupied 18% market share in 2010, which is not a small amount when compared with other firms. Although it faced the issue of delayed proposals, the majority customers from different industries had provided positive feedback about its professional expertise and know-how. Because of its outstanding professional ethics, BPS consistently gained a renewal rate of around 91% and 92% in consecutive years before 2008. Through a series of acquisitions of small firms in various industries, the company lowered its overall risk. Besides, BPS initiated a new selling process, which was very appealing to both existing and potential targeted customers. Moreover, a highly collaborative team and a detailed, execution-ready proposal would result in a timely service delivery with prominent project. If the performance of final proposal was lower than the clients’ original expectation, part of the loss would count in BPS’s check. This was the core strength of BPS because customers got risk sharing pricing or performance guarantees from BPS.

WEAKNESSES
The recent dismal performance caused most customers felt disappointed and dissatisfactory with BPS. The direct consequence was that the company not only lost its existing clients, but also potential customers. Cease of consistent renewal rate in 2010 was a warning sign. To make things even worse, the established reputation and goodwill would...
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