10 Strategies to Lead Sales Through Supply Chain Issues

Gartner 14 Sep 2021 02:17

Have you ever heard a sales leader say, “no inventory, no problem”?  Of course not.  Selling requires inventory.  Yet, this is a significant challenge that many sales leaders face.  Admittedly, the solution to not having inventory is to have inventory.  Let’s assume that is being pursued or not in the sales leader’s span of control.  Everything else is either a coping mechanism or an alternative tactic to make the best of a difficult situation. 

Here are ten strategies that sales leaders should consider during periods of low inventory or fulfillment issues:

1 – Monitor At-Risk Customers

Sales leaders must continually monitor the health of customer relationships.  In a 2020 Gartner survey, only 42% of sales leaders indicated that they had such a program in place.  These programs serve as leading indicators of retention problems and will inform customer fulfillment priorities.

2– Prioritize Strategic Customers for Fulfillment

Without violating contractual obligations, sales leaders should stratify customers that require fulfillment.  Even a simple ranking of critical, high, medium, and low helps the supply chain and delivery team focus inventory and attention strategically.  Sellers will appreciate this work as they’ll be able to reduce the uncertainty within customer communications.

Where possible, sales leaders may be able to introduce or offer alternative and flexible arrangements (with the support of legal and finance).

10 – Develop Scenario Planning

Sales leaders cannot sit idle and solely react to inventory issues.  They must get ahead of the issues by using these 10 strategies and tactics to resiliently cope with internal issues to sustain their commercial activities and function.

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