Promontory, Inc. is a small firm engaged in promoting products. It is a privately-owned advertising company with the goal of pursuing a high-quality/high-price strategy. Its CEO is looking into ways how to increase its sales revenues and earn more profits. Under what circumstances and for what reasons might Ricard choose to divert marketing funds out of personal selling into alternative vehicles? If he does so, which vehicle might make the most sense for a company at Promontory’s stage of development in this market?
Frank V. Cespedes and Amy Handlin
Harvard Business Review (917535-PDF-ENG)
May 18, 2017
Case questions answered:
- What is the sales task at Promontory? Specifically, what MUST the salesperson do to succeed and how, if at all, do these tasks differ by
a. Types of customers
- How is the selling effort affected by the diversity of the buyers’ needs and opinions and by Ricard’s desire to position Promontory as an upmarket branding consultancy?
- What is the nature of the product Promontory sells to its customers compared to what online competition offers? How does Promontory provide and add value to the product, and what is the implication for
a. Market selection?
b. The focus of selling efforts?
c. The range of personal selling styles illustrated in the case?
- Is Brett Ricard defining/ articulating Promontory’s marketing strategy appropriately, and what are the key components of implementing that strategy? What sales management policies will enable Promontory to build sales profitably?
- What should Ricard do about the recruitment, deployment, and training options he is considering? Beyond marketing and sales, are there other issues that Ricard should address?
- As Promontory transitions from a start-up to a larger, more established firm, what are the strategic and management implications? What is the specific pressure to align sales with strategy and formalize core sales management policies?
- Under what circumstances and for what reasons might Ricard choose to divert marketing funds out of personal selling into alternative vehicles? If he does so, which vehicle might make the most sense for a company at Promontory’s stage of development in this market?
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Promontory, Inc. Case Answers
This case solution includes an Excel file with calculations.
1. What is the sales task at Promontory? Specifically, what MUST the salesperson do to succeed, and how, if at all, do these tasks differ by
a. Types of customers
1) The primary sales task of Promontory, Inc. was to sell various categories of promotional products, mainly advertising. Promontory did not just cater to large accounts but instead took up a new approach where they offered companies with innovative marketing solutions. Every salesperson was responsible for creating and recommending solutions to different companies based on their brand and motto.
Types of customers by sector:
E-commerce, Software, Clothing/Sports retail, Construction, Financial Services, Mining, Premium Hotel/Resort, Real Estate, Clothing/Sports Manufacturing, Energy (Oil and Gas), Advertising Agencies, Consumer Web, and B2B Web.
Types of customers by action:
- Customers who have experienced recent growth in their business
- Customers who are more creatively inclined
- Small business owners who want good and cheap marketing
- Big companies who look for inexpensive customization
Different salesmen and how they sold:
1.) Sam Burns
- Creating human connections with his prospect,
- establishing a bond to build trust,
- enabling upselling and cross-selling
2.) Dawn Heller
- Aims at people who have experienced recent business growth and appeared in magazines/newspapers,
- Cannot handle financial services and Tourism sectors
3.) Jim Borden
- Finding prospects through social media
- Doing multiple cold calls
- Aims at people with creative businesses like advertising
- Creates bonds by suggesting new amendments
4.) Paula Mackie
- Had contacts through MBA,
- Met the prospects socially
- Caters to young customers and is more understanding
2. How is the selling effort affected by the diversity of the buyers’ needs and opinions and by Ricard’s desire to position Promontory as an upmarket branding consultancy?
The different kinds of buyers had…
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