March 20, 2012
Baria Planning Solutions
The company Baria Planning Solutions is a specialty provider of spend analysis and management services to its customers. BPS was an early entrant into the market but rapid market growth in the past few years has attracted larger software companies to the market. In order to remain competitive against larger companies BPS has expanded beyond the energy sector to acquire other industry-niche providers. Once additional industry sector firms were acquired BPS was tasked with integrating parts of their operations across sectors to ensure operating efficiency. Each industry firm provided services to address the same general type of customer needs but they all differed in technology requirements and service delivery. These differences made it difficult to integrate operations between industry sectors. At the most recent year end the company realized a drop in new client sales and client renewal rates. The sales support team had faced challenges meeting the deadlines promised to clients and as a result they could not capture new sales or retain existing clients.
Sales opportunities varied between quarters and across industries. BPS has not yet effectively designed the sales support process to meet varying demand levels throughout the year, therefore causing delays in the process. Variation in demand throughout the year caused the industry groups in the proposal support division to have inconsistent productivity levels. Capacity was being inefficiently utilized in the proposal process. As a result the sales support division had trouble meeting proposed deadlines. This then resulted in customer dissatisfaction as well as delays in assisting the salespeople. BPS believed an industry centered approach would be beneficial and provide a competitive advantage but they did not adequately structure their operations to support such a centric process. The sales support process is fragmented and there is no evidence of shared responsibility or employee empowerment. Because the process is fragmented adequate resources should be provided at each stage in the process and utilized at an efficient level to meet demand. The acquisitions made by BPS are the precedent reason why the sales team is divided by industry sector and the sales leaders believe it is important to maintain an industry specific orientation. The sales team is divided by industry sector while the sales support team only has one of its divisions divided by industry sector. The salespeople have not been able to receive sales support assistance in a timely manner. Directors have suggested the sales support team organize into divisions by industry sector to provide more focused and dedicated support assistance to the sales division. The sales operations group leader disagreed with the proposal to separate sales support by industry division based on the belief that such a structural change would require hiring additional staff. The director of the sales operations group and the previous director of sales support played an influential role in the implementation of the current hybrid structure of the sales support group. In an effort to streamline the sales support group after the acquisition, all functions within sales support were integrated into teams that could serve all industry sectors acquired except for the proposal support group. The reasoning behind the proposal group separation was to allow BPS to continue offering and industry centered, consultative sales process. The hybrid structure was unique to the market, as most similar companies were organized into geographic divisions. BPS believed they could differentiate themselves from competitors with an industry centered niche. However, the industry specific focus could quite possibly be the reason why the sales support team hasn’t been able to meet deadlines and has been missing out on new sales and renewal opportunities. The...
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