Distributor Computer 2000 (C2000) is facing more resignations by some of its corporate account managers following the recent reorganisation of its major accounts.
The number of online transactions the company is now doing with resellers has increased 300 per cent since January. Because of this, C2000 has responded by reassigning its accounts.
But some corporate account managers found that the major accounts, over which they assumed personal control, have now been assigned to teams. More devastatingly, their commissions were similarly distributed. One complained that loss of control for senior account managers was a cause of staff "de-motivation".
According to one source, this change was not universally popular among the C2000 sales force. So far about 10 sales staff are believed to have left. "The recruitment agencies have got plenty of good sales people from C2000 on their books," said a source. Most cited de-motivation as their reason for leaving, the source added.
Application service provider Netstore is one company that has already benefited. It recently appointed a former C2000 reseller account manager.
Alison Heath, channel development director at Netstore, believes that this shows the changing nature of distribution. "When you're doing more online sales the mentality is different. You need fewer sales experts and more customer service types," she said.
But Alastair Brett, C2000's sales director, rejected this theory. "We tweaked the roles a bit, but that was because all our staff ended up memorising the price and availability of Hewlett Packard laser jet [printers]. We don't pay sales people to deal with mundane enquiries," he said.
Brett admitted that some staff had left and others may be looking for jobs, but was unperturbed. "Name me a distributor, or even a publishing house, that doesn't have half of its staff's CVs lodged with recruitment agencies. That's the nature of the business," he said.
Those staff that are upset by the nature of online sales are welcome to go, he added. "What upset some people is that they couldn't negotiate prices over the phone any more. Anyone can do that. If their idea of selling is knocking 50p off the price of a laser jet, they belong elsewhere. In the future, salaries will consist of higher basic pay and less commission," he said.
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