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Intense Cycles restructures, trims jobs as it adjusts to new sales model

Published March 13, 2018

TEMECULA, Calif. (BRAIN) — Intense has restructured its sales and marketing functions, eliminating an undisclosed number of jobs in the process, as the Southern California mountain bike brand continues to pursue its hybrid consumer-direct/IBD sales model.

"We were sort of applying a blanket approach to sales and marketing for all the channels — international sales, domestic dealer sales and DTC (direct-to-consumer) sales. They're all different animals, and we needed to treat them all differently. What we've done is split the departments — so in the dealer-specific department we didn't need as many people as we had," Intense marketing manager Jennifer Gabrielli said.

In December the company launched Intense Rider Direct, in which consumers purchase bikes — at newly reduced prices — for delivery to their home with a free service contract through their local brick-and-mortar dealer. Those orders can also be shipped to authorized dealers to complete bike assembly and setup, with the ongoing service contract attached to that dealer. Intense calls it a "hybrid, IBD-centric" approach to D2C sales.

The change has been a learning process, Intense founder Jeff Steber told BRAIN.

"When we had sales guys working with the dealers and trying to juggle consumer-direct sales, it wasn't working out. There is more demand needed to maintain the Rider Direct sales than we had expected. Now we're doing retail sales and fielding more calls here, and the customers have lots of questions," said Steber, who resumed the CEO role at the company in January following the exit of industry veteran Andrew Herrick.

Intense's dealer business is now managed by Andrew Van Zuyen, a 10-year veteran of the company. Sam Wilson, whose responsibilities had included overseeing industry and VIP sales, is in charge of Intense Rider Direct sales. "He was the logical person to fill that, because everyone now is a VIP when they buy direct," Gabrielli said.

The company now employs 26 people at its Southern California headquarters, plus a team of three in Barcelona, Spain, for its European business.

Steber said rolling out Intense Rider Direct has been a dynamic process, and will continue to be. "As we grow, there are going to be more positions that create themselves to better serve the process, for sure. We're really learning a lot every day as we move forward with this process," he said.

"It's interesting that this opened up our reach, with the direct channel. Because now we are getting sales in areas where we didn't have dealer support or even brand recognition. And with our service contract with the dealer, we've created a new dealer through a direct customer," Steber added.

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