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Jamaica’s CBS sales team now walking on clouds
The swift consumer adoption of technologies, such as cloud technologies, has been a boon for IT solution providers that allow for the continuous, secure and efficient flow of business.

Jamaica’s CBS sales team
now walking on clouds

“I'd only been managing the salesforce for a short time when I saw we were focused on price negotiation, and that we were more like order takers than consultants and sales people,“

The Columbus Communications recognized this growth potential in Jamaica when it established Columbus Business Solutions in Kingston to provide a variety of B2B connectivity and cloud-based managed services.

Soon after its launch, CBS began gaining market share over established competitors. But despite that initial growth, the startup’s 15-member sales team, with an average of 5 to 8 years of sales experience, was limited in its ability to increase the size and scope of deals.

“ValueSelling is the first of its kind that I’ve seen because of its formula piece.” jenson sylvester, director of goverment and strategic accounts In particular, sales members needed:
Guidance on how to approach opportunities using more objective, not subjective, criteria to qualify prospects
To unclog a sales pipeline stuffed with unqualified prospects and stagnant negotiations that were unintentionally misrepresenting the true state of the sales funnel
To stop using pricing as the default differentiator instead of having productive conversations about value and benefits
“ I’d only been managing the salesforce for a short time when I saw that we were focused on price negotiation, and that we were more like order takers than consultative sales people,” explained Jenson Sylvester, CBS’s Director of Government & Strategic Accounts. He’s a veteran of IT sales, having worked in the United Kingdom, India, Europe and other parts of the Caribbean in various sales and customer service roles.
The tailored formula for CBS Jamaica consisted of:
A first for Jamaica Rather than go with an internal resource, Sylvester turned to Natalie Pitchford, a seasoned sales executive and trainer who teaches the ValueSelling Framework®. This would be the first time for a ValueSelling program in Jamaica.

“ValueSelling is the first of its kind that I’ve seen because of its formula piece,” said Sylvester. “A lot of methodologies focus on account-level reviews, where you’re looking for gaps in relationships and matching propositions. ValueSelling is more granular, measurable and less ambiguous.” Pitchford realized that the first step was an on-site course on sales fundamentals to ensure everyone had a basic understanding of concepts and language before diving into the ValueSelling methodology.

“It wasn’t that they didn’t have the aptitude or experience, it just wasn’t formalized,” she said. “The team was hungry for guidance and exposure to core skill sets, so they could become smarter at how they engaged customers and more effective in what they were doing.”

The half-day sales primer was followed by a eValueSelling Fundamentals® on-demand course and subsequent 2-day, instructor-led workshop. The final step in the customized program was a 14-week reinforcement program called ValueSelling@Work®. Sales managers also

received a coaching workshop to help them both incorporate and inculcate ValueSelling into daily sales operations.

“It felt more like a partnership,” Sylvester said. “Natalie’s approach was to look at our requirements and map various ValueSelling pieces to those requirements. And to agree upfront of what success for us looks like.”

The proof is in the performance metrics

Within six months, CBS had exceeded its budget expectations in three key metrics — revenues, proposals, signed contracts — and met two of the three more ambitious KPIs for ValueSelling.

Within six months of ValueSelling Framework® implementation:
  • Proposal submissions grew by 30%
  • Signatures obtained grew by 88%
  • The conversion rate for submitted proposals to signed contracts grew by 44%
  • Service revenues grew by 31%

“You’ve got to demonstrate value based on the services you provide. ValueSelling Associates helped us learn how best to do just that.”

“Within a month to six weeks, we started seeing an in increase in our pipeline after an initial reduction because we let go of those unqualified prospects that had been sitting there for many, many months longer than they should,” Sylvester said. He noted that sales continue to perform very well quarter after quarter.

Next, he’s hoping his salesforce will adopt more elements in the ValueSelling portfolio, such as an account management tool. He also believes it may be time for a refresher course, especially since the team has expanded as a result of recent successes and a stronger growth trajectory. He is grateful he took a gamble on being the first company in Jamaica to incorporate the ValueSelling Framework.

“In this part of the world, more than any other part, your relationship with your customer is what really makes the difference. If you’re looking for market share, you’ve got to spend the time to understand and know your customer.

“Then you’ve got to demonstrate value based on the services you provide. ValueSelling helped us learn how best to do just that.”