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GBC, an ACCO Brands Business
ACCO Brands, Inc. is a manufacturer and distributor of office and computer products. We focus on product and service solutions in document finishing, work space tools, storage and organization, visual communication, time management, and computer accessories. Our well established brands include GBC, Kensington, Day-Timer, Wilson Jones, Quartet, and Swingline. We have market share leadership in these categories. We go to market through direct and indirect channels.
Our direct channels provide document finishing solutions for the corporate, print for pay, facilities management, education and government markets under the GBC brand. Our direct selling channels were not executing as effectively or efficiently as we needed. They often competed with each other, thus diminishing brand value, and reducing margins.
Frank Lynn & Associates provided thought leadership, analytics and consulting services to help us improve our coverage model, minimize channel conflict, and improve the effectiveness of our direct sales organization in North America. Specifically they helped us:
|> ||Reorganize our market coverage strategies for our direct and channel partner sales forces. |
|> ||Minimize channel conflict both on the Web, and within our direct selling groups. |
|> ||Recommended new business objectives and compensation strategies to drive desired field behaviors. |
|> ||Provided analytics and models to assess market potential and rep deployment strategies. |
|> ||Assisted in rolling out these strategies with our associates and partners. |
The findings and implementation strategies offered by Frank Lynn & Associates allowed us to improve our direct channel productivity, and improve our customer's brand experience. They helped us reorganize our channel partner relationships and define contractual obligations with these partners including behavioral incentives.
Our organization was particularly pleased with the "hands on" approach and attention by key partners at Frank Lynn and Associates. Both Bob Segal (Senior Partner) and John Henderson (President) were intimately involved in the project. Their attention and commitment to the project was a clear differentiator in our decision to select Frank Lynn and Associates.
We look forward to continuing to execute on the channel improvements that came about as a result of this engagement.
Senior Vice President
North American Direct Sales and Services
ACCO Brands, Inc.
Formica is a global surfacing industry innovator with 12 manufacturing and 33 distribution facilities spread across Asia, Europe and North America. With a strategic focus on revenue growth, Formica management needed to challenge its go-to-market approach in the vast, fragmented China market.
Frank Lynn & Associates organized its corporate and local resources to provide Formica with
|> ||Team leadership from both the U.S. and China|
|> ||Local, experienced researchers who delivered consumer perspective, channel maps, market segmentation and decision-making criteria relevant to its multiple product and application segments|
|> ||Detailed growth recommendations for product and channel mix|
|> ||Supportive communications and local management meetings to assist in change management|
The Frank Lynn & Associates' team delivered a comprehensive study of the decorative surfacing markets for residential and commercial end-user segments. The study helped define our expectations of market growth and profitability, and in some cases dispel market statistics that had been accepted as "factual" in light of poor internal information. This has allowed senior management to create a broader, yet clearer, view of the Chinese market for decorative surfaces.
The findings allowed us to define a go-to-market strategy that will focus marketing, selling and operational resources on segments where the company can leverage existing competencies to achieve higher growth and profit objectives. In addition, the study brought to light several shortcomings that will be addressed to develop new capabilities or strengthen weaker capabilities in the future.
"We are very pleased with the quality and quantity of the research and most importantly with the broad strategic options outlined in the study by the Frank Lynn group. Armed with this information, a number of strategic initiatives are being and will be implemented that will set the stage for more aggressive investments in new product development and promotion, more focused market segmentation with highly targeted marketing, and selling programs.
Although Formica Corporation has been active in the Chinese market for many years with very good success, the outlook is now more positive, as most question marks have been removed, and a clearer strategy is defined."
VP Global Marketing and New Product Development
Hobart is a manufacturer of premium-branded, premium-priced and highly-engineered equipment for the institutional and commercial foodservice markets. By late 2003, Hobart Corporation was confronting two emerging go-to-market challenges: 1) A creeping weakness in the value-added functions offered by its authorized dealers; and 2) A growing disconnect between the sales support needs of its spec-driven vs. its plug 'n play products. By working with Frank Lynn & Associates to develop a response to the former, we came to understand that both of these challenges were critical and that they were interrelated.
With regard to the former, the economics of the channel community had begun to drive functional investment and value-added capabilities to the lowest common denominator. To overstate the case for purposes of illustration, read that to mean low-value-added fulfillment of simple replacement items. For those of us in the business of marketing premium-branded, spec-driven, upsell-dependent products and systems, this trend posed a serious long-term problem. As a preemtive measure, we engaged FL&A to help us develop a channel management/compensation system that would provide direction and incentives for the channel to reinvest in those support functions that were critical to us and to our targeted end-use operators.
With regard to the latter, our own field force does most of the heavy lifting behind the larger-budget engineered replacement, major remodel and new construction projects in select institutional and commercial foodservice segments. In support of those projects, we are heavily involved with the end-users and their independent designer/specifiers prior to the projects being released to the dealer community for bid. Therefore, in these larger application, spec-driven segments, we have long enjoyed some enviable share positions. In the mid-sized institutional and commercial kitchens market, by contrast, we have insufficient reach with our own field force to efficiently cover the comprising tens-of-thousands of touch-points; the dealer community becomes the primary specifying influence; the implied product mix becomes simpler (plug 'n play); and the number of manufacturing competitors in each product category increases considerably. The channel is doing the heavy lifting here with a considerable ability to direct its own discretionary brand preferences. In short, we need our channels to transact to our specs in the large-budget projects where we do the work, and to create business for us in the mid-sized kitchens market where they do the work. Unfortunately, our channel incentive systems had long treated all products and projects in the same manner, arguably overpaying the channel in larger projects while underpaying in the mid-sized market.
Through a solid collaborative effort, led by a strong team of consultants from FL&A, we were able to develop, communicate and launch a series of coordinated program and organizational responses to both of these issues. In just the first nine months since the launch, we have already begun to see selective reinvestment in critical functions by many of our core dealers; increased focus by our own field personnel on driving the larger-kitchen spec market with continued strong transaction support from the channel; and renewed discretionary brand support from the channel in the mid-sized kitchen, plug 'n play dominated segments. Program acceptance in both the field and the channel has been strong and ahead of expectation. The financial, volume growth and share gain objectives were well developed and have remained aligned. The industry leadership position enjoyed by Hobart has been reaffirmed and strengthened. The table has been set for an even stronger 2006....
I recommend Frank Lynn & Associates strongly, and without reservation, to any B2B concern grappling with channel and other go-to-market challenges.
John T. McDonough
President, Foodservice Division
RSM McGladrey, Inc.
Our firm has an 80-year history of meeting and exceeding the service expectations of our middle-market clients. While our "roots" are in accounting, we have expanded our offering to include a variety of financially-focused business services including tax, business consulting, corporate finance, financial process outsourcing, payroll and benefits, retirement plan design and administration, and wealth management. Many of these services are marketed and sold in different ways.
Our goal was to market and sell our products and services more effectively and efficiently. To accomplish this, we needed to design an integrated marketing and sales model with the infrastructure to support it. We searched for a consulting firm with the intellectual capital, creativity and experience to design and develop this system. We selected Frank Lynn & Associates (FL&A). We considered seven other firms, including the largest global management consultancies, but we believed that FL&A had the skills, approach and culture we needed.
We were right. FL&A partnered with us to solve this complex business issue. Their experienced team of consultants took ownership of our problem and became an integral part of our management team. They led us through a strategy development process that was grounded in an understanding of our middle-market clients, our business and our culture. They designed a practical solution and stayed with us to implement it. They helped us translate the statements of strategy and organizational structure design into working business models. Their process involved dozens of our people from multiple functional disciplines and business units so that we engendered the involvement, understanding and ownership we needed to make it work.
Over the last 18 months, we have met and exceeded our financial objectives for these elements of our business development efforts. We have generated in excess of $65M in qualified leads and closed more than $33M in sales.
FL&A partnered with us to turn our business objectives into reality. I encourage you to seek their expertise and guidance as you tackle your go-to-market strategy issues.
SVP, Marketing and Business Development
RSM McGladrey Inc.