ge is just a number—even when it comes to brands. Saucony, experts in running shoes and apparel, have been in the specialty retail game since 1898. Over the years, the company has grown from a small manufacturer in Kutztown, Pennsylvania to a massive manufacturer; by 1910 they were producing 800 pairs of shoes daily, by the ‘70s it was the most popular running shoe brand, and today it stands as a monolith in the specialty retail sphere.
Our point? Saucony is a big, unquestionably successful brand that’s adapted over the years to appeal to generation after generation of consumers. But even the good guys need a little help sometimes, and when they do, they turn to The Mann Group.
“One thing the running industry is doing is hiring runners, not salespeople,” Todd Dalhausser, V.P. Sales North America for Saucony, says of his industry. “Our staff already know the technical aspects of running. The education we needed was to focus on the overall salesperson and the skills it takes to outfit the whole runner. We needed to cultivate an experience.”
Dalhausser’s concern is a common one for specialty manufacturers and retailers alike. So many businesses tend to prioritize technical knowledge over soft skills, much to their detriment, and it’s a seemingly endless cycle. And when brands try to educate their retailers on anything other than their products, the response can be bristly, at best. So how to bridge the gap between Saucony and its retailers while building a strong, personable salesforce on all ends of the transaction?
“Partnering with The Mann Group was the solution to our trust issue,” Dalhausser says. “The Mann Group is the impartial brand that educates all things retail. If we can find this education, we see a huge value in building strong relationships with our retailers and building upon those relationships. Strong retailers and staff ultimately give back to the running communities we all want to impact.”
Working with The Mann Group has equipped Saucony’s reps and managers with the tools and vocabulary to continue to grow their business through their retailers. “I am talking to my retailers about how to increase average ticket, how to grow their pie and drive traffic into the store. In the past, our conversations were about ideas to sell more stuff,” points out Andrew Conley, Director of U.S. Sales, West Region for Saucony.
The Mann Group’s expertise lies not just in the big, messy jobs, but also in the intricate, subtle ones, like polishing a legacy brand’s relationship with its retailers.
“The Mann Group is the impartial brand that educates all things retail. If we can find this education, we see a huge value in building strong relationships with our retailers and building upon those relationships. Strong retailers and staff ultimately give back to the running communities we all want to impact.”
–Todd Dalhausser, V.P. Sales North America for Saucony