SPECTRUM BRANDS, INC. - THE SALES FORCE DILEMMA
Joe Falconi wrote this case under the supervision of Professor Don Barclay solely to provide material for class discussion. The
authors do not intend to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a managerial situation. The authors may have disguised
certain names and other identifying information to protectconfidentiality.
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Version: (A) 2007-02-21
We are in the business of building our strengths by managing brands… as retailers get
bigger… we get bigger to fight fire with fire. I’m now in the business of managing
BRANDS, not simply PRODUCTS!It was November 2005, and Bob Falconi, vice-president of sales and marketing for the Canadian division
of Spectrum Brands Inc., was sitting in his new Brantford, Ontario office, pondering his next steps
regarding his sales force. During the course of the last year, the company had gone through a number of
changes at the global level. Spectrum Brands (Spectrum), a global consumer products companyformerly
known as Rayovac Corporation, had made a number of acquisitions to diversify and expand its product and
brand portfolio. With these changes, Spectrum had become a leading supplier of consumer batteries, lawn
and garden care products, specialty pet supplies, and shaving and grooming products.
Falconi, charged with the task of creating a national sales force from the teams of the newlymerged
companies, sat in his office trying to make sense of the new business. He knew that creating an effective
sales team — one which would capitalize on the synergies across the various businesses — would be very
difficult, since these companies each operated differently with regards to the role of their sales forces,
customers targeted and products sold. Knowing the importance of thesales function to each of these
companies, Falconi wanted to ensure, despite the differences amongst the diverse groups, that he still
maintained a team that would effectively and efficiently continue to increase the sales of each business
The task ahead of him was big, but Falconi knew that a plan needed to be implemented immediately to
avoid disrupting the growth momentum of the company’sindividual brands, to maintain customer
relationships, and to preclude competition from taking advantage of any perceived disruptions during this
time of change.
The consumer brands industry had become highly competitive on a global basis. Numerous acquisitions
and mergers had taken place over the past decade, resulting in a select group of largecompanies with
extensive brand portfolios. These companies had developed numerous product lines that allowed them to
compete in a variety of markets and product categories, and also strengthened their relationships with
With the growth of large retail chains across North America through retail consolidation, the balance of
power had shifted away from manufacturers. Small players could nolonger compete effectively, as strong
relationships with retailers had become essential in order to compete for limited and valuable shelf space
within stores. Manufacturers built alliances with other consumer brand companies in order to gain strength
and power in the retail market. As a result, companies such as Procter & Gamble (P&G), Unilever, S.C.
Johnson, and others with large...
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