A transformed sales operation where the focus has moved to an Account Management model enabling the company to grow its business through a process of cross and up-selling to its substantial base of satisfied customers while still adding new customers.
“I just wanted to write formally to thank you for delivery of a first class project. In every step you have been a pleasure to work with and have delivered on everything you offered – and more.” Nick Orme, Chief Executive, Itec Connect
Two main factors led Itec to consider a change of direction in its go-to-market approach. Firstly, the company had grown a substantial and very satisfied customer base from its long established sophisticated Managed Print services and Document Capture & Workflow solutions and realised they needed to stay ahead of the game. Secondly the company had recently invested in another organisation that provides a range of Cloud based IT solutions which gives Itec a whole new range of services and solutions that it can offer its customers. Combining these two factors led to the conclusion that the selling model needed to be re-engineered to focus more on account management; enabling the better servicing of customers with established services while also taking the opportunity to offer new and different solutions to those same customers.
The Performative Solution
We undertook the design and delivery of an internal Sales Academy for Itec to recruit and train a cadre of new Account Managers. Before commencing the project we completed a process of “Discovery” using the Performative Sales Maturity Assessment as a foundation. The output from the discovery phase informed the design of the Academy which was developed using the established Performative Academy Framework.
Recruitment of Account Managers
The Account Managers would be fulfilling a new role, focused on the existing customer base. It was an ideal opportunity to bring in new talent and create opportunity for internal candidates to convert to sales. To acquire a new team of 12 required:
- Sourcing of candidates both externally and from internal transfers
- Initial filtering and interviews before passing selected candidates to customer for interview
- Conduct and analysis of the results of an on-line sales capability assessment
- Design and delivery of a comprehensive assessment process leading to the selection of the final 12 successful candidates who were then offered positions.
Product Manuals – Sales Enablement material
With a broader range of product and service offerings to take to market Itec recognised the need to create collateral to provide a consistent sales and customer oriented resource to support the selling efforts of the new account managers and existing sales staff.
The challenge here was to turn technical excellence into commercial superiority and equip the account managers with effective sales enablement tools.
The subject matter experts knew their products inside out, but they were mainly used to conversing with their technical counterparts. They worked in virtual silos and thus were likely to miss opportunities to cross-sell the offerings of their new colleagues.
The first job was to crystallise the Chief Executive’s vision of the documents into useable templates which provided both structure and guidance on the aims of the content of each section.
The authors were then brought together for an intense 4-day workshop to flesh out the templates. Performative provided briefings for the authors to orient their thinking in terms of Sales and Customer perspective, use of language, and consistency of style.
As the documents took shape, Performative provided collaborators and reviewers for key sections to influence the content style and consistency of terminology across the document set, challenging technical phraseology to replace it with jargon free information to help customers differentiate the Itec offering from that of other suppliers and competitors.
After the initial drafts were produced during the workshops, Performative then took on the role of editor to maintain the sales/customer orientation and consistency within and between the documents, prior to their release to the Itec staff.
On-boarding and induction
Itec already had an established induction programme focused on its recruitment of technical apprentices, but it was not suited to the task of introducing the cadre of new account managers to the wider organisation. Hence we:
- Designed comprehensive on-boarding and induction programmes for delivery primarily by the customer’s management team
- Undertook delivery of sales related aspects of the induction programme.
Comprehensive account management and sales L&D programme
Custom designed and delivered by Performative specifically to meet the needs of Itec and the planned mode of operation of the account managers. Some highlights of the training included:
- Teaching the principles of “Empathy Styles” selling, psychology and body language
- Creation of a structured account management methodology including research and profiling techniques
- Sales skills such as; the effective use of the telephone, making appointments, conducting first meetings and delivering presentations
- Territory, account and deal planning processes including qualification and quantification
- Relationship management
- Sales pipeline and forecasting process
- In addition to the classroom activities we also undertook one-on-one coaching for the account managers at several points during the programme.
Following the training programme, periods of self-study and practical work the account managers went through a process of accreditation which included written and practical examinations of the knowledge they had acquired. We designed and adjudicated all some of the exams. All passed the first level accreditation and they moved into the full role of working with their portfolio of customers. Further accreditation levels will be undertaken later.
In support of the Chief Executive, as he moulded the organisation into its new identity and culture, we provided:
- Initial design of the compensation scheme for the Account Managers
- Design of the Account Management process and responsibilities
- Design of the Account Managers’ reporting process
- Design and delivery of the support and coaching programme for the Director of Account Management
Following successful completion of the main programme we continue to provide reactive and pro-active support as required.