MINNEAPOLIS -- General Mills here will reorganize its field sales organization into dedicated, customer-focused teams.
The new structure calls for the company's present sales and service organization to be streamlined into 10 management centers with responsibility for all regional and local customer-focused teams, and twelve national account teams.
In a letter to the company's top customers, sent just before the official announcement of the plans last month, Edward Bixby, senior vice president, sales and distribution, said, "Our goal is to empower each customer team with the skills and resources to build and successfully implement an annual business development plan with you, which generates profitable sales volume for us both."
In his announcement, Bixby said the shift from the present geographically-defined sales regions stems from a commitment to assuring that the design and implementation of all sales and service activities reflect a "total focus on the customer."
The national account teams, working directly with their respective customers, will provide direct selling, retail execution and services, and dedicated support services. These services will include category management, logistics, promotional and customer service specialists. They will enhance the sales organization's ability
"Innovation and responsiveness -- customized to each customer's specific goals and opportunities -- are the keys to sales growth, and that's exactly what our new structure will deliver," he said. "With one sales force selling our entire line of products, and a strengthened ability to focus squarely on each retailer's and distributor's unique challenges, we will provide greater value and a greater competitive edge."
According to Bixby, the move to teams would be accomplished without any disruption. There would be virtually no change in the manufacturer's people calling directly on customers.
"What will change," he said, "are the nature of our sales employees' jobs and their roles as sales team members."
Bixby said, "In today's competitive grocery environment, the relevant sales execution strategy is customer-specific responsiveness."