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Case study

Boosting Sales With a Redesigned Commercial Operating Model

Customer segmentation and an expanded front line are helping a building products company reinvigorate growth

  • min read

At a Glance

  • We recommended a new coverage approach that armed BuildCo's sales team with a data-driven understanding of its customers, including specific patterns of behavior and unmet needs
  • Our insights helped BuildCo develop a reorganization plan that would deliver optimal amounts of attention to every customer, with an ideal new set of operational roles

The Full Story

Growth often depends on identifying the right levers and pulling them in a deliberate, coordinated way. We helped a leading distributor of construction materials assess and ultimately redesign its sales organization so that it could win new customers while maximizing the value of its existing client relationships.

Our approach began with an analysis of BuildCo's* existing customer base. Segmenting customers by geography and type (i.e., new construction builders, renovators, etc.), we scrutinized the company’s network of retailers and distribution partners to reveal gaps in its sales efforts. Reps were often misapplying their energy, missing big opportunities that were within their grasp.

We recommended a new coverage approach. Using data on new housing starts and other commercial activity, we showed the company how a realignment of its sales resources would target promising new markets. But reassigning customer accounts was only part of the solution; we also showed BuildCo how to arm its sales team with a data-driven understanding of its customers, including specific patterns of behavior and unmet needs.

We developed an analytical model that could, for any given customer, calculate what “full potential” would look like based on attributes shared with other customers who were fully served by BuildCo. We applied this analysis by product category and region to reveal precisely where BuildCo had the most room to grow. The model reliably identified the specific product-level sales play most likely to succeed with each underserved customer. We set up BuildCo to load the output of this model into its CRM system so that they could drive front-line adoption and act on these insights.

Our analysis had revealed a wide spectrum of preferences across BuildCo’s customer base. Using focus groups and sales data we found that some accounts wanted more frequent in-person visits, while others wanted fewer.  These insights enabled us to help BuildCo develop a reorganization plan that would deliver optimal amounts of attention to every customer. We mapped out a new set of operational roles that were ideal for the customer base BuildCo was reaching for. Based on our recommendation, BuildCo increased its front-line sales force headcount by about 15% and created specialist roles and new support functions, including a sales operations analytics team.

  • 15% Increase in front-line sales force headcount
  • 10% Projected increase in average sales rep productivity
  • 25% Potential net sales lift over about 3 years

From the outset we listened closely to BuildCo’s front line, knowing that their input was critical both to developing a new sales model and winning internal support for it. The company’s sales reps were thrilled to adopt new systems that monitor order history and use data analytics to build stronger connections with customers.

Today BuildCo’s expanded sales team delivers superior service to customers new and old. The company projects a 10% increase in average sales rep productivity and a potential net sales lift of about 25% over a roughly three-year period.

We take our clients' confidentiality seriously. While we've changed their names, the results are real. 

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