No more sales calls

After a long, hard look in the mirror, the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce is tweaking its mission and streamlining its operations.

The Chamber cut three sales positions and one marketing position this month. And in a new strategic plan that is still being finalized, the GRCC will focus more on improving quality of life in Richmond, leadership development and becoming more useful for its members.

“Everyone in town is asking the question, ‘What do I get out of this?’” said Kim Scheeler, the president and CEO at the chamber. “It’s become more important for us to define that, and the answer isn’t the same for everyone.”

Even without a sales force, new members should come naturally once those objectives are reached, Scheeler said.

The chamber has 22 employees, according its website. It has reduced the size of its workforce over the past year and a half from 35 full-time employees beginning in December 2008. Scheeler joined the chamber in August 2008 after leaving the helm of the Tampa Bay chamber of commerce.

Some of the marketing will be outsourced to another firm, Scheeler said. The organization is also searching to fill a new position that will focus on small businesses, Scheeler said.

“We’ve also realigned eight other positions to fit the new categories,” he said. “We want a better focus on member value and to create a clearer connection between what the staff is doing and how those things fit.”

Scheeler said that instead of working on sales, the chamber would work to improve its offerings.

“Instead of trying to sell new members, we are going to retain the ones we have,” Scheeler said, adding that in past years new members would be canceled out by existing members who didn’t renew their memberships.

Eventually the chamber may again add a sales person, he said.

Aaron Kremer is the BizSense editor. Please send news tips to [email protected]

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