This month’s Featured Company Q&A is with Dave Eckert, Vice President North American Sales at Proveer Sign & Graphics, who shares with us his focus for the coming year and strategies for sales success.
What do you enjoy most about working for Proveer?
I am new to Proveer, but from my early analysis, I am completely impressed with the people I work with, especially the top notch management team. The increase in the fire/desire to get out there and strive for success. In taking the Proveer Model to market, I can also express my appreciation of the market it serves. When you think about it…every where you turn, there is a sign, this is due to the value of the tremendous buying power with our suppliers .
What unique quality separates Proveer from your competitors?
Our company actually bring three distinct attributes to market; being able to harness efficiencies in the business back office, address the uniqueness in our individual markets and using flexibility coupled with our supply base.
We are all coming off of a challenging year, how has Proveer handled it?
We have really leveraged ourselves in the marketplace, growing significant market share. This has made it easier to do business with companies like Proveer.
What would you like salesjournal.com readers to know about Proveer?
All of our systems (training and service focused) are in place to serve our customers.
What specific goals, including those related to your specific position within the company, have you established for 2010?
We have taken some drastic actions, and are focused on three priorities.
1. Adding people to our organization with the ability to lead at the local level.
2. The addition of sales people to properly cover the market, and build relationships.
3. Understanding branches currently, and insuring the sales of breadth and depth of product.
What creative strategies have you used to encourage/influence your sales team?
We really focus on training to give our sales force the most support we can to assist in their success. There was recently a sales contest for our team coupled with the launch of a new product line. Eight people were sent to Barcelona for training.
What is your favorite methodology in sales training and/or business enhancement?
As a distributor, we are reliant on our supply base for training, and I am a big supporter of training on multiple dimensions (sales/service/support). Customers are reliant upon us providing strong customer service.
Are there any books, sales related or leadership related, that you use as a guide and/or would recommend?
Miller Heiman has two books that have been extremely influential in my sales career, one on strategic selling, and the other on conceptual selling. I use information from these books every day.
Do you have a mentor that you contribute your leadership success to? Do you feel it is important to have a mentor?
It is absolutely important! I was fortunate to have an old boss who brought passion and vision to the table. I used his knowledge to grow and learn how to really be a leader.
What sales advice do you have to offer our readers?
Best Practice: Sales is about customer needs. So strategize based on that need. Sometimes your product and the customer’s need is not always a perfect match, but it is important to meet needs. That is the bottom line.
What characteristics do you look for in a sales professional?
The ability to be strong a strong closer, and the ability to really understand how to qualify opportunities. They also need to follow a sales methodology. I also look for the “will” to do the job. That desire makes it easy to train. Having that “will” is something that can’t be taught. Basically, I look for A –type personalities, which are aggressive and able to close.
Do you feel a sales professional must have experience in the industry they are selling in order to be successful?
No, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is right for the industry. It is important to know what you are hiring for, depending on the needs of the local market.
If an individual or the team as a whole is not meeting goals, what is your approach to nurture this?
Handling this issue has been my forte for the last ten years or so. My approach is straight forward.
How much time do you need to know if a new sales hire will “make it”? What are some indicators/behaviors?
I have goals in place that gauge progress. I start with expectations to see results in three months, and then after that time has passed I move toward long term goals.
Within three months, I typically see behavior that shows me they are on the right path. If I find that they are not doing the job, not having the will to work, then it is time to cut the losses and move on. If it is a skill issue, I provide training, and invest as long as progress is seen.