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Armadillo Enterprises was looking for a way to drive more business from their enormous catalog of products.
A Hybrid Sales Strategy
In the musical instruments industry, manufacturers often have both inside reps and outside reps. Handshake recently talked with Derek Badala, Director of Worldwide Sales for Armadillo Enterprises, which manufactures and sells DDRUM, Dean Guitars, and Luna Guitars—across the U.S. and internationally—about how his inside reps have gotten back to creating proposals to drive more business as a precursor to an eventual order, while his outside reps use a hybrid strategy of proposals and traditional mobile order writing.
A company that manages tens of thousands of SKUs, Armadillo reps, both inside and outside, tend to whittle down proposals and pro forma sales orders based on a smaller set of products that they know from past experience with their dealers that they’re more likely to buy. From there, dealers hand pick their eventual order list from a set of heavily curated products.
Technology Makes Proposals Powerful
With the goal of showing dealers that his company can make personalized dealer recommendations quickly and efficiently based on analysis and product knowledge, the company chose to move the catalog online to the web and iPads with Handshake. “We close a lot more deals thanks to more imagery,” says Badala.
Armadillo has returned to a very traditional sales model when it comes to dealers. If an in-house rep is working with the dealer, he or she will use Handshake to pre-create a proposal in an interactive PDF format. This is then sent to the dealer so they can view and expand images in a curated catalog and decide which of the items they would like to move forward with.
If an outside sales rep is visiting with the dealer, the rep will either come prepared with a pro forma order proposal he or she has created ahead of time to collaboratively modify with the dealer, or alternatively will write an order from scratch with the dealer on an iPad for approval.
Many instrument manufacturers, Badala pointed out, don’t write proposals anymore, they just take orders from the dealers. But the personal touch that curated proposals bring to the table makes a big difference. Dealers count on the advice of Armadillo’s salespeople and often don’t have time to search through an entire online catalog, nor do they have the insights into market trends that reps do. Badala looks at it as building trust for the next proposal—and it’s working.