Category: Case Studies

Case Study # 07 How CEO Of Small Telephone Systems Company Grew By 50% In A Flat Market with Sea of Competitors

THE SITUATION

The CEO of a small telephone-systems company was looking for a way to stand out in a sea of competitors in a market that was going flat.

 ANALYSIS

We took a close look at the company’s strengths, its ideal client profile, and its sales reps’ ability to position and sell at an executive level. What we discovered was that they had a unique advantage over their competitors in the region as well as a very clear concept of their ideal client profile. We were unsure if their reps could sell at an executive level, but they were hungry and coachable so they had a good foundation to work from.

CHANGES MADE

We came up with a powerful approach to get the sales folks in the door at an executive level. Then we developed an educational executive presentation to highlight business issues and focus on the target executives’ frustrations. After a few weeks, we were getting the first meeting at the executive level but were then delegated to other people in the company for a follow-up meeting. So we added a compelling no-risk guarantee and a few additional selling skills to turn the delegation meeting into an implementation meeting.

 THE RESULT

In the first six months, sales went up 50% with an additional forty-three systems sold. Based on the guarantee they had to refund one system which they turn around and sold on the used market for a tiny profit including the de-installation labour cost.

 THE COMMON MISTAKE

Most companies don’t recognize their strengths or know how to leverage them to create a huge selling advantage for themselves. Even in a flat market, performing a market analysis, refocusing sales efforts, and taking a little coaching can yield significant gains!

 

 

Case Study#06 How We Help VP Of Large Telecommunications Company Turn Around His Division After Missing Quota For Eight Quarters

THE SITUATION

We were referred to a division Vice President for a large communications company. The division had missed its quota for the last eight quarters and was under pressure to turn things around.

ANALYSIS

We took a close look at the sales organization. We thoroughly studied the sales people, sales management, sales process, pipeline and key deals. It was clear that the sales manager was overwhelmed and unable to give the sales team what they needed to produce more results. The sales manager was well respected, had tremendous skills/knowledge, and was seen as a strong asset because he was a specialist. However, what they needed was a strong sales leader.

CHANGES MADE

We put in one of our folks as a temporary Sales VP while participating in a search for a permanent one. Our guy put in fundamental sales infrastructure and best practices that the permanent Sales VP was going to have to do anyway. The sales manager was moved into a major account role after many conversations. The sales team received training in an effective consultative selling process. For each rep, we reviewed and strategized the top five deals expected for the quarter and held weekly progress/coaching conference calls.

THE RESULT

Within ninety days, the team exceeded quota by 70% and was on track to exceed quota for the next two quarters. A top-notch sales VP was hired, who was aligned with our thinking. And the former sales manager was mentally onboard and producing excellent results!

 

THE COMMON MISTAKE

There is a big difference between intention and commitment. We often hear executives say they will do whatever it takes, but rarely (and I mean rarely) do they put the action behind the words. The division VP was exceptional because he was truly committed to making the hard changes needed to achieve the expected results. In his words, “failure is not an option” and his actions prove it!

Case Study #05 How Medium Sized Drug Screening Company Increase Annual sales by 281% During Major Industry Roll Up

THE SITUATION

A medium-sized employee drug-screening company was competing in an industry where a major industry roll-up was occurring. The company’s two biggest competitors had recently received VC money and were on a buying spree. The company was not interested in selling at that point and was wondering how it was going to compete successfully under the new circumstances.

ANALYSIS

Industry roll-ups have always had a land-grab feel to them. Clearly, the goal is to be number one and to increase corporate value and multiple. However, problems with operations and key personnel typically arise whenever there is a merger or acquisition. Since the company was interested in organic growth, we decided to take advantage of the weaknesses in each competing company that was going through a merger or acquisition.

CHANGES MADE

First, we conducted a competitive analysis on each company being merged or acquired. Through various means, we identified those companies’ largest clients and anticipated what kinds of problems their clients would most likely experience. Next, we came up with a ninety-day blitz campaign to go after the competitors’ largest clients. We positioned the company as the “go-to alternative” whenever the clients noticed a slight decline in service. We asked them to perform a few trials runs to make sure everything would flow properly at the flip of a switch, whenever the clients called. They also beefed up their operations to handle the extra workload.

THE RESULT

Over the next twelve months, the company landed eighteen major accounts, and sales went up 218% over the year before. In the meantime, the competitors were still in disarray. The company planned to conduct another similar blitz while the companies involved in the mergers and acquisitions were still delivering poor service.

THE COMMON MISTAKE

During a merger or acquisition, everyone is so focused on getting the deal done that they forget to secure their customer base. You may not be able to secure every account but, with a little forethought and executive attention, you can secure your key bread-and-butter accounts. If you don’t, your smart competitors will.

Case Study #04 How Medical Equipment Company Closed 5 Year Long Term Deals and Increased Sales by 57%

THE SITUATION

A medical-equipment company with a good product was thriving in a growing market after years of increasing demand. The company was number one in the market, but its service revenues were down because its reps were selling only the equipment and initial training. Their service revenues were the most profitable aspect of the business and they couldn’t afford to let the trend continue. The problem was compounded by a third-party service company that was making a play for their customer base.

ANALYSIS

The company had provided additional training to educate its reps on why selling service was so important. Also, they had instituted a bonus program to encourage more service sales. They weren’t seeing an increase in service sales quickly enough, however.

CHANGES MADE

What the company really needed to do was make a change in sales culture and replace underperforming sales reps. There were too many of them, however, and time was short. So what we did was put in a team of what we called “quality control managers.” Their job was to follow up on every equipment order within two days of the order by contacting the client directly. They asked the typical quality-control questions but also asked the clients why they had not purchased the service package. In addition, they educated the clients on why the service package was so critical and gave them an incentive to purchase it as an add-on.

THE RESULT

In the following twelve months, the quality control team sold an additional 57% in five-year service agreements. During this time, management had the opportunity to identify and replace the underperforming sales reps with minimal impact on revenues.

THE COMMON MISTAKE

Many companies don’t define the responsibilities of sales reps or hold them accountable to what I call “minimally acceptable standards.” Even worse, this indicates problems with the company’s sales management, since strong sales leadership would have identified problems and taken corrective action earlier on before they turned into an epidemic. If the company CEO had had a sales dashboard, he would have spotted these problems earlier and realized he needed stronger sales leadership a long time ago!

 

Case Study 03-How Small Software Company Beat Large Multinational IBM AND Closed Million Dollar Deals

THE SITUATION

A small software company was selling into a large international prospect that was covered by a team of 40 IBM sales reps. The small company’s CEO knew that they had better products and could turn this into a lucrative account if they could get to the right people and make an initial sale.

ANALYSIS

The company had a key account manager with the right talent and mindset, who could carry an executive conversation. The company did have better products and a powerful implementation process – but no name recognition – so it was going to take some hard work to get in, let alone land a deal. But they had good testimonials and some impressive accounts already. If they were willing to be patient and work smart, getting the business was very doable.

CHANGES MADE

The first thing we did was a little homework to determine where IBM’s weaknesses were and how the company’s strengths mapped with those of the international prospect. Next, we identified the people and positions at the prospect where we thought we could have the most impact. The company took the list to their existing clients and asked if they knew anyone on the list or someone who knew people on the list. If the answer was yes, they asked to be introduced to that person – because introductions are twenty times more powerful than a cold call.

THE RESULT

It took nine months, but the company was able to land a first, small deal with the prospect. Their implementation process included a weekly meeting, where all attendees completed an implementation report card. Any time that a particular target area fell below a certain mark, the teams pulled together to raise the mark within a week. This strategy caused all the stakeholders and the implementation team to work together instead of pointing fingers at each other. The project finished ahead of schedule and was the smoothest project in the international company’s history. It went so well that the value expectation was exceeded and the company was given another small deal.

After getting the same results three times in a row, the international firm’s CIO invited the small software company to participate in his annual planning meeting; he also asked it what deals it wanted to do that year. No other company has ever been invited to participate in this meeting. It took eighteen months to land and implement three small deals, but for the last five years, the international firm’s CIO has let the software company handpick their deals – which have generated multi-million-dollar revenues year after year.

 

THE COMMON MISTAKE

Most companies focus on the client’s transaction, instead of focusing on getting the client value that meets or exceeds expectations. Not every company can do what this company did. But because they had a good product, a great strategy, a fantastic implementation process, and the right account manager, they were able to slay the goliath IBM!

 

Case Study #02: How Medium Sized Software Company Made a Mistake By Promoting Top Rep to Sales Manager

THE SITUATION

A medium-sized software company was experiencing eroding market share, tougher competition, and slipping value proposition. The company had invested heavily in different kinds of sales training, including sales tactics, major account planning, and how to talk with “C”-level executives. However, 75% of the sales people were missing their quotas and overall sales were flat. The worldwide Sales VP was looking for a way to boost their numbers.

ANALYSIS

We conducted an evaluation of the sales management team, focusing on their sales process, sales activity, pipeline, accountability, coaching, and sales management skills. We discovered that most of the sales managers had been top-performing reps who were promoted into sales management. They had never been given the skills, tools, or clear expectations of what was necessary to do their job.

CHANGES MADE

We started with a two-day custom sales management training program to teach all of the managers the science of sales management. The philosophy behind this is that sales are like a factory with consistent predictable results when run properly. By the end of the two-day training, each sales manager had created his or her own “sales factory.” We then installed a three-month implementation accountability program with the aim of getting the managers to step up or be weeded out.

THE RESULT

Within thirty days, the weak managers did weed themselves out, as expected. The other managers stepped up in varying degrees, with about 5% doing exceptionally well. In the next six months, overall sales went up 27%.

THE COMMON MISTAKE

One of the two most costly mistakes a company can make is to promote its top sales rep to sales management. Statistics show that 82% of top producers who are promoted into sales management go back into sales at another company within eighteen months. This is like taking your top-scoring basketball player at the height of the season and making them the team coach.

Case Study #01 How We Increase 29% Sales in 4 months of a Professional Services Company by Improving The Sales Process

THE SITUATION

A professional services company had a handful of junior sales reps, all of whom were missing their numbers. The CEO was frustrated because they had a strong direct-mail program that was producing a very high call-in rate. However, the call-in conversion rate was quite low and generated far less revenue/sales than projected.

ANALYSIS

We went in to study the client acquisition process from beginning to end. Clearly, the direct-mail campaign was working based on the number of pieces that were sent out every month and the high percentage of prospects calling in from each mailing. The sales reps had good selling skills and used a traditional consultative selling process. However, the company’s offerings were simple and straightforward. We discovered that the prospects calling in were ready to buy and didn’t need to go through a consultative process. So the sales reps were actually getting in the way of the sales!

CHANGES MADE

We took one sales rep out of the client acquisition process for one day and had his incoming calls answered by an office assistant whom we asked to play customer service rep. At the end of the day, the number of call-in conversions was up significantly. We immediately replaced all of the sales reps with customer service reps. Since the company wanted to keep the sales reps, we moved the handful of sales reps to outside sales with a major account acquisition strategy and execution plan.

THE RESULT

Sales tripled in the first thirty days from the direct-mailing call-in conversions! One sales rep left the company within three weeks. Another sales rep set the world on fire and closed two major accounts a week with corporate licenses after a thirty-day ramp-up period. The others did moderately well, gaining 1 major account a week with corporate licenses after a thirty-day ramp-up period. Total revenue from the new major account division was an additional 29% at the end of four months.

THE COMMON MISTAKE

Literally, 99% of all companies that we evaluate have no company-wide sales process or, even worse, an ineffective sales process. This is like a football team not using the same playbook or defending against a running game when the opponents are playing a passing game!