Campbell And Bailyn's Boston Office Case Study
The ‘sub-prime’ crisis triggered by the meltdown of the US mortgage backed-securities market in 2007 was a precursor to the global financial crisis. It would drastically change the competitive landscape for all firms in the financial services sector, including Campbell and Bailyn (C&B), one of the world’s five largest investment banks.
In response to a loss of clientele to competitor firms, Ken Winston (C&B’s Boston Sales Office Director) assembled the five most successful salespeople into a Key Accounts Team (KAT). Having previously enjoyed the autonomy of selling a diverse array of products to their own clients, these five ‘Generalists’ would now ‘Specialize’ only in one specific financial instrument, and subsequently, would have to share their accounts. This increased the level of task interdependency between KAT members, necessitating closer collaboration when performing complex multiproduct sales.
Amongst other factors, Winston blamed the loss of clientele on a lack of detailed product knowledge possessed by his salespeople. One customer stated that the ‘Generalists’ were “jacks of all trades and masters of none.” Given the salespeoples’ apparent lack of product expertise, it is difficult to see how simply reassigning Generalists to become Specialists to focus on a specific product line would actually address this problem.
What other options might Winston have considered to quell the haemorrhaging of clients to rival firms? One alternative he might have contemplated was to seek the opinions of their clients. Customer satisfaction surveys are a proactive way of identifying customer concerns, and to delve deeper into their psyche to determine what expectations they have in regards to service standards and the relationship in general. (Vance 2009) Arguably, this is an action that should have been taken before activating such an audacious restructuring strategy....
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Hertel, Guido, Susanne Geister, and Udo Konradt. 2005. “Managing virtual teams: A review of current empirical research.” Human Resource Management Review 15 (1): 69-95. doi: 10.1016/j.hrmr.2005.01.002.
Labrosse, Michelle. 2008. “Managing Virtual Teams.” Employment Relations Today 35 (2): 81-86. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ert.20205
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