Growing a Successful Sales Force
“Sales topped $1 billion last year and we believe PI® is an anchor point for our success.”
Eric Crown, President
Insight is a global direct marketer of computers, hardware and software, offering a broad line of brand name products primarily to business customers. Products are sold via the Internet and by more than 1,000 outbound telephone account executives. Based in Tempe, Arizona, Insight currently has over 2,000 employees and has expanded their facilities into Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany. The company was founded by Eric Crown and his brother, Tim Crown, in 1986 and completed its first public offering of stock (Nasdaq: NSIT) in January, 1995.
With a $2,000 credit card advance and an ad in a computer magazine, the Crown brothers began selling mass storage computer products to consumers via direct marketing. The concept met with immediate success. As Insight grew, it increased its product lines to offer customers a one-stop computer source and today more than 100,000 name brand computer products are available.
In the early years, Insight attracted buyers primarily through advertising and the use of inbound toll-free telephone lines to receive customer orders. In 1993, the company expanded its marketing mix to include catalogs and added outbound telephone account executives to focus on establishing a larger customer base. In 1995, Insight debuted on the World Wide Web and its site has since become one of the most popular electronic commerce sites in the industry.
The shift in focus from inbound to outbound calling created an enormous change in the culture of the company and growth in the sales force—a projected 50 to 75 new hires each quarter for the foreseeable future.
Insight recognized that their sales managers would need help in selecting and managing so many new people. “We needed to help our sales managers and provide some tools so they could perform at the level we required. We did many things to train them, but one tool we embraced across the company was the Predictive Index (PI),” said Kaylene Moss, Manager of Human Resources.
Using PI and its companion tool The PI Job Assessment, the management of Insight worked with their PI Consultant to define the characteristics needed for a successful sales person. “Initially we were using it for hiring only,” said Moss. “Now managers use PI to assess what motivates their employees, how they like to be rewarded, and what style of management they respond to. If we have someone with performance issues, we can utilize the PI profile in deciding the best way to approach the employee.”
President Eric Crown said, “Sales topped $1 billion last year and we believe PI is an anchor point for our success.”