Pro Sales Management
“Right out of college I started selling guitars at a small independent store in Torrance, California,” says McClendon.”I started out like most people in stores. I was gigging at the time and that was back in the ’70s with the whole singer songwriter thing and I thought, ‘Well, I’ll work at a store until my record contract comes through.’ So, I started out as a part time sales guy, worked my way up to store manager, and then from there I went and managed a couple of other stores out of Los Angeles.” Eventually, McClendon moved on from the retail side to work for a west coast distributor, and later as an importer of guitars.”From there I went to work for Roland, to Harman, then to Tascam, and most recently Seymour Duncan,” he explains.
Onward and Upward – McClendon’s Latest Venture
McClendon’s experience in the MI industry has lead him towards his newest venture – Pro Sales Management. The new organization is designed to be a one-stop shop for small to medium sized companies that want to outsource their sales infrastructure and rep management. Although the concept of outsourcing isn’t new to the MI industry, the idea of outsourcing sales is quite novel. “It’s funny because in our industry, we’ve been outsourcing for so long,” Rick says.”We’ve outsourced tech support to India and we’ve outsourced manufacturing to China, so this is just a natural extension of that. I looked and said ‘Well, what else can you outsource?’ And this happens to be what I do best. It just happened to make sense. It’s sort of a metamorphosis of everything that has happened within the last decade.”
As a result of McClendon’s 30-plus years in the business, he came to the conclusion that most people only have enough time and energy to do one thing well.”I’m no different,” he says. “I do one thing very well. I’m very good at organizing sales infrastructures and managing reps. Today people are specializing and people are outsourcing. So to me it was just natural. This way everybody is playing to his or her strengths and that’s the whole basic premise of Pro Sales Management. They can do what they do best, design and make products, and I can do what I do best, create sales infrastructures and manage reps. I do everything that a sales manager would do. I’m just not an employee, and all I do is concentrate on sales management.”
Taking Off and Looking Towards the Future
Rick is currently working with and representing Don Lace of Lace Pickups, as well as Marvin Caesar of Aphex. McClendon says that he’s hoping to have two or three more clients on board in the upcoming months. “This [Pro Sales Management] is brand spanking new,” he says.”I came up with this idea in mid-August and I got everything rolling in September. So, here we are a few months into it and I’ve got two clients, I’ve got a Web site now, Dan Keller is doing PR for me, and we just shot a video. “I think within a short span I’ve kind of got a lot of things together,” says McClendon. “In a year I’d like to have at least one more sales manager on staff and be managing somewhere between six to ten companies.” Currently, Rick is using his own business model by outsourcing everything. He’s a one-man show and has outsourced his PR and webmaster to keep costs down and results high.
“The ultimate goal of Pro Sales Management is to actually manage ourselves out of a job,” says McClendon.”You get one of these small to medium sized companies, and they should have the benefit of having a senior level sales manager, but a lot of times they don’t know somebody or they can’t afford somebody. So, one of the nice things about being outsourced is that it’s a tool which is really truly a scalable resource. How much do they want to invest budget wise? With Pro Sales Management, they can get that much,” says McClendon. “Ultimately, as the sales infrastructure gets better and better and it generates more revenue, at some point in time they might say, ‘You know what? I think I’m going to hire a full time guy.’ At that point, I’ve managed myself out of a job, which is fine because there are lots of new companies coming along all of the time. It’s a revolutionary idea and it’s a brand new business model. I think once people understand the strengths of it, it’s going to set a new business model in our industry and I think you’ll see it catch on in many, many other industries as well.”