GN’s decision to shift to value-based selling did not come without its fair share of challenges, the three greatest of which included the following issues:
- Historically, GN Hearing’s markets have always been very diverse, with widely differing sales processes in which the sales representatives tend to focus on product features and discounts, which puts increased pressure on the GN’s profitability.
- In recent years, GN Hearing’s biggest rivals have been outbidding each other to buy up as many retailers and dispensers as possible in order to gain control of end-user sales. With each purchase, these manufacturers have been pushing their own products to the forefront and squeezing out GN’s and other competitors’ products. Consequently, independent retailers are coming under increased pressure to sell their businesses.
- Internally, GN Hearing had to change the mindset of the entire sales organization and get their personnel to focus less on products and features and more on the customers’ needs. This would not only require a new sales toolbox, but also a significant change in sales behavior, in which old habits often die hard.
As GN is uniquely committed not to go into retail and compete with customers, it is critical to GN’s success to be able to build true partnerships with their customers and help them strengthen their independent businesses—not just push products.