MILFORD INDUSTRIES CASE A & B Harvard Case Solution & Analysis


Question 1

Identify and prioritize the top three sales force issues/challenges that the Capital District is facing.

            The main problem which was being faced by the Milford Industries in the Capital District was that the sales force comprising of 8 salespeople in this district was not living up to its potential and the sales of the district had been falling significantly. This low sales growth was despite the fact that the Capital District area had been touted to be growing and vibrant. The reason for this was that the predecessor of Oates, who was Sam, had not managed the sales force properly and did not supervise them effectively which resulted in indiscipline and lack of control. If we prioritize the three main challenges, which had been faced by the Capital District, then these would be as follows:

Poor Management by the previous manager of District (Challenge 1)

            As discussed above, all the problems occurred as a result of the poor performance of the previous district manager, Samuel Goldberg. Sam had enough data to ensure that the district as not performing up to the mark and the company was not getting the required level of sales which was possible there. However, it had been noticed that Sam was not managing the eight salesmen quite well and he, as a manager, lacked the skills to manage them. As a result of this, the morale of the sales people had declined significantly and reached to a low level. The turnover of the Capital District was high despite the fact that the overall turnover of the company was low. This indicated that the problem was not in the regional managers of the company and that they were fulfilling their tasks. However, within the Capital District, Sam was the root cause of all the other problems. Lastly, there was lack of control and discipline by Sam.

Poor Performance by the salespeople of Capital District (Challenge 2)

            The sales of the Capital District were lower than the true potential and the rate at which the area was growing. For instance, if we look at exhibit 2 of the case, then the District has 5.7% of the total potential sales of the nation, however, the Capital District had accomplished only about 4.8% of the total sales for Milford. Moreover, the sales growth of the Capital District also did not follow the region or the country tendency and the average for the Capital District was only 6.5% as compared to 11.1% for USA and 12% for region. This is also shown in exhibit 2 of the case. Finally, the average sales per salesperson in US was $2,040,000 however, the salespeople of Capital District represented only around 62% of the total average of the US.

Management of Capital District (Challenge 3)

            Now the time had arrived when the actions had to be taken to turnaround the performance for the Capital District. However, the main challenge faced by Oates was that he did not have any prior experience for managing the salespeople and he had been tasked to revive the performance and the growth of the Capital District. Along with this, the challenge became more critical as the incumbent regional sales manager was also about to leave and thus, Oates would have no source to receive any guidance or clues. The newly appointed regional sales manager had also given a free hand to Oates for running the show. Therefore, the final challenge lies with Oates himself and he has to make all the decisions individually based on the data provided to him......................

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