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We are working with SureSource.com in their search for a Vice President, Business Development, in Shelton, CT.
SureSource, LLC creates and manages the official online stores of recognized, global brands who choose to remain focused on their core competencies of product development, manufacturing, and distribution of product through retail channels. These partners, including Casio, Pentax, Coca-Cola, Hershey’s, Crayola, and Krups, appreciate that every consumer interaction impacts overall brand perception, and trust SureSource to provide their online shoppers with a premium customer experience.
SureSource operates independent online stores, each dedicated to selling a brand’s full product line directly to their consumers, complementing that brand’s current efforts of selling through traditional retail channels. SureSource builds and manages these stores on an industry-leading ecommerce platform; the development, design, and merchandising teams focus on reinforcing the partner¹s brand across all touch points. Their inventory forecasting team ensures that SureSource always maintain adequate stock in a climate-controlled distribution center. The marketing group drives new customer acquisition by promoting partners’ products in new channels, and the knowledgeable customer care representatives field inquiries and place orders with professionalism and courtesy.
Leveraging significant investments in infrastructure, human capital and vendor relationships allows SureSource to build and manage online stores more efficiently and provide a higher level of customer experience than any one company would be able to achieve on its own. And SureSource’s unique business model negates the need for monthly or annual fees as they are compensated through the retail margin on the product they sell.
HARRY’S COMMENTS: SureSource designs, develops, and manages the official online stores for branded manufacturers like Crayola, Coca-Cola, Hershey’s, Cuisinart, Krups, and Casio, who want to sell directly to their consumers. SureSource handles everything: the ecommerce platform, the technology, and the people behind it. Their people are involved in purchasing, forecasting, merchandising the store, online customer acquisition, customer service, and so on. SureSource does it all.
Their unique business model negates the need for monthly or annual fees, as SureSource is compensated through the retail margin on the product it sells. It’s one of the most client-friendly revenue models of any I’ve seen before: If a branded manufacturer wanted to sell online but could not (or simply didn’t want to) do any of the leg work themselves, then I’m not sure why they wouldn’t choose SureSource.
Having said that, based on my 90 minute project kickoff call with this client, there aren’t very many moving parts to this search. SureSource is a great business with a fantastic value proposition, and it needs a top gun VP of Business Development.
As part of the annual sales and marketing review, SureSource has identified a large number of target accounts they wish to pursue this year. If you are a professional business development executive, then you already know what I’m talking about.
SureSource is already heavily into housewares, consumer electronics, major food brands, and personal care.
Although the client did not supply me with any lists, I did some digging and estimate there are several thousand branded manufacturers in the US from the following categories:
Audio & Video Equipment, Automobile Parts, Candy, Coffee & Tea, Computer Peripheral Equipment, Cookie & Cracker, Electronic Toys & Games, Fitness Equipment, FootSureSourcear, Furniture, Handtool, Cutlery & Flatware, Household Appliances, JeSureSourcelry & Watch, Motorcycles, Musical Instruments, Personal Care Products, Personal Computers, Snack Foods, Sporting Goods, Toys & Games
At a strategic, high-profile level, SureSource has an excellent idea of which of these categories (and which accounts) would be open to selling online yet, for the most part, don’t already.
It will be the VP of Biz Dev’s job to work with SureSource’s executive team to understand the company’s value proposition, identify critical sales opportunities, communicate those priorities to the SureSource sales team, and set the tone for the company’s sales organization.
My own experience tells me that the following issues will need to be hashed out very quickly …
Regarding the sales funnel:
- What are the critical opportunities that are expected to close this quarter?
- What needs to be done to assure these close on time?
- What is the six-month forecast? Is the activity level sufficient to assure that SureSource meets its goals?
- What prospecting activities are being driven to load the sales funnel? Are these sufficient?
- What has changed in the past two funnel reviews? Are opportunities progressing through the sales funnel at a reasonable rate?
- What key opportunities are not progressing as expected? What’s the plan for getting them kickstarted? Who is accountable?
Regarding specific account opportunities:
- Where is SureSource in the sale cycle for this particular opportunity? Is SureSource in line with the customer’s buying cycle?
- For key opportunities, does SureSource have a compelling and differentiated value proposition that the customer believes? Is there a strong business justification for SureSource’s proposal?
- What is the decision-making process? What are the criteria and priorities that will be used in making the decision?
- Who was involved in the decision, what are their roles, what are their issues, what are their attitudes towards SureSource and competition?
- And so forth.
Then it’s Go Time. (Actually, it’ll be Go Time on Day 1.) There’s an enormous market opportunity for SureSource, and the firm’s investors are anxious for the company to pounce on it. Like, today.
Again, if you are a successful VP of Biz Dev on the client side of the Internet Retailer Top 500, then all of this will be completely familiar to you. In 2011, I handled several vendor side IR-500 VP of Biz Dev searches and the process I’ve outlined above seems to be fairly common in our industry. The process is not rocket science, but it does require an articulate, well-organized, business-savvy, financially literate, process-driven, action-oriented biz dev pro to drive.
As usual, I’ve got an armload of proprietary info to share with qualified candidates. Fantastic base salary + XXL bonus potential. Apply below.
Please Tweet this job, and you’ll be automatically entered into our monthly drawing. Just do it and see what happens: 2010 prizes included $100 Amazon gift certs, Dean & Deluca steaks, and Keurig coffee machines …
Build and develop the sales team. The VP, Business Development should have a methodology to screen, onboard and train new members of the sales team that mitigates risk and quickly brings new hires up to speed.
- Ongoing development of the sales team will involve rewarding top performers through compensation, recognition and growth opportunities. Sub-par performers must be guided and supported, or ultimately culled, and a defined retention/evolution strategy must be implemented for the existing sales team.
- Support and assist the sales team. The VP, Business Development assists with complex sales negotiations, attends sales presentations and helps close deals. S/he directly manages large, high-profile prospects, as appropriate. S/he assists in developing sales proposals and RFP responses.
- Formulate a sales compensation plan. A compensation and incentive program should be developed, aligning the sales team’s focus with the most appropriate partners for SureSource and considering factors such as: scale of the opportunity, gross margins, scope of work and strategic fit. Reasonable, attainable quotas must be established and should affect compensation.
- Define and manage the sales process. A well-defined process must be established for the sales team to follow, allowing for scalability and a reduction in the time necessary to get new hires up to speed, as well as to provide continued direction and focus for tenured salespeople. The process should encompass all steps from lead generation through delivery of a custom proposal to contract execution, and will include tracking of these milestones within salesforce.com. The process should be consistently evaluated and adjusted through analysis of key metrics and prospect progress through the pipeline.
Candidates must have five years’ experience in a sales leadership role, with at least four years’ experience in a selling role, and at least two years’ experience working with ecommerce, order management and fulfillment technology. The successful candidate must demonstrate outstanding leadership, communication and interpersonal skills, and must possess expertise in selling strategies and methodologies, strategic planning and execution and employee-motivation techniques.
An excellent base salary is available for qualified candidates, along with a generous commission plan.
Applications for this position are being coordinated by Harry Joiner. To apply, CLICK HERE. Candidates, please be sure to email Harry Joiner for a packet of market research and company / competitive intel that will differentiate you in your candidacy. Due to the intensely competitive nature of this search, thorough preparation for these interviews with this proprietary material is strongly recommended.
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