The Electronics Representative Association International (ERA) recently identified four current key drivers of change in the electronics industry:
1. Globalization and logistics
2. Economic, educational and demographic shifts
3. Dominance of the Internet and technology
4. Industry issues and market maturity
Once these drivers were identified, the organization identified the impacts of each one and how they’re changing the circumstances, needs, and expectations of field sales staff. Here are just a few of the impacts uncovered by ERA. View the entire white paper here.
- Lead times and raw material inventories. Today’s supply pipeline is continually being stretched because no companies want to hold inventory. This results in more pressure on field sales firms to manage the pipeline and expedite orders.
- System solutions. Many companies are focused on building system solutions rather than commodity components. They are much less concerned with discrete designs, but instead acquire functional sub-assemblies for their final products. The results for field sales reps? They end up selling fewer low-end components and must focus instead on higher-level designs and components.
- Territory consolidation. Consolidation and hybrid territories are becoming more common for field sales staff. As technology eliminates many of the geographic barriers of the past, reps will be judged more based on specific customer and/or market expertise.
- Increase of non-selling functions. As principals become more system-driven, they are asking for more detailed reports and additional services from field sales reps. These reports and services aren’t necessarily part of compensation plans or agreements for field sales. Among the tasks being requested: marketing feedback, competitive research, follow-up on unfiltered marketing lists, distribution management, and project management. Also, because of limited support, reps are now managing deliveries and timelines more than ever before.