Commercial Skills for Sales People
The client is a UK based telecoms company. They are a global player and work across all commercial sectors.
The industry is very competitive and margins are under pressure. To achieve their corporate targets they knew that incremental change would not be enough and radical change was needed. Key objectives of the initiative were to increase the size, scope and value of their solutions, increase pipeline and close quicker.
The corporate sales directors realised that to be successful these people would have to hold very different conversations with higher level players in their clients' organisations. In order to be able to do this, one thing the existing sales force needed was to improve their commercial awareness skills. These teams now needed to be able to communicate confidently at CEO/CFO level about current business issues that were relevant to helping improve the client's business outcomes. They needed to be able to operate almost as business consultants.
We put in place a programme with two distinct but integrated objectives:
Be able to feel how it would be to stand in your customer’s shoes
Be able to sell the financial benefits of your solution in terms that link directly to your client’s corporate objectives. So it all hinged around the question: ‘What is your customer trying to achieve right now?’
We introduced them to a range of business analysis techniques that would most likely be already used by the client as part of their own business planning process. Using these they would be able to understand the client’s environment and identify points for discussion.
Next we helped them understand how businesses operate from a financial perspective and linked the sort of challenges that the clients are likely to be facing in this financial environment. These would likely be the range of pain points experienced by the client and be the subject of internal problem solving. We then helped the delegates to link their solutions to the sorts of client centred problems they may encounter. Finally we developed their confidence, both in asking commercially-focused questions and in their ability to deliver solutions confidently to a CFO in terms that link to the financial imperatives.
Some of the Challenges
People's perception of these topics in that they are dry and uninteresting. However, they are about why businesses exist. So we kept the delivery lively, passionate and relevant. We integrated theory with over 50% of our time being spent on application on real customers so this became facilitated work - not 'training'.
Some of the Results
Overwhelming acceptance of the programme. One team secured a major public sector contract as a direct result of the programme and another won a long-term contract with a major airline.
As a direct result of our success, this has been rolled out to another major division within the client elsewhere in the world.