An information company that provides business intelligence to pharmaceutical and biotech firms, investment banks and consultancies had a weakness. As good as it was at preparing business analyses for others, its sales team in the USA came to recognize it could improve its own research.
That realization hit after new client sales had stagnated, and the CEO knew something different was needed to grow U.S. sales.
Like other companies expanding in both numbers and market presence, this company had several challenges to overcome, including:
Opening small and medium-sized new accounts and new markets
Competitors perceived as “good enough”
Communicating the company’s unique content and additional value
The CEO learned through one of the sales reps about the ValueSelling Framework® and set up an initial training for November 2010.
“The biggest thing was for each person to learn how to position themselves so they were chasing deals they could win, as opposed to spreading themselves too thin chasing sales they couldn’t win.”
explained Jim Roche, the ValueSelling Associate who led a two-day, on-site, customized workshop and several follow-up webinars on topics determined by a gap analysis of the selling process completed by the sales team.
“What really helped us were the follow-up web sessions with Jim,” said the CEO. “They were helpful and motivating and reinforced key areas so people could be successful. We started to see an uptick in new sales results rather quickly.”
Those results ultimately led to a 23% new-client growth rate year over year — compared to 1% the previous year. Even better, 2012 new client growth is substantially outpacing 2011 as the company has asked Roche to deliver programs for both Client Service and Marketing.
The CEO said ValueSelling gave the group a structure and framework to analyze what was done well, what was missed and how to identify and fill key missing links.
“During one weekly sales meeting, we thought something was going to go through and tried to identify why it didn’t. It failed because we thought we had the power person, but in the end we didn’t.”
“You need to confirm not assume and always ask for a meeting with individuals that are going to sign off,” said the CEO, “We learned from that failure and were able to bring in one long out-standing opportunity and finally closed the sale by being insistent on meeting face to face with decision makers.”
Roche believes this company’s sales will continue to grow, particularly with the introduction of the eValuePrompter®, a tool that integrates with CRM software such as Salesforce.com to aggregate in one place.
He credits the CEO with successfully integrating ValueSelling within her team’s culture.
“All too often, people say they are going to do something and then get sidetracked. The CEO is an incredibly busy person managing people, selling and running the U.S. business — the equivalent of two or three full-time jobs. But this CEO stuck to it.”
The CEO’s advice to those also struggling with stagnant sales and a sales force spread across a lot of territory: Do not take anything for granted.
“The beauty of the ValueSelling method is using the VisionMatch to determine what you provide that’s unique and that you know the client needs. And always strive to meet in person with people who make the final decision.”
“And get it in writing.”