I recently entered my tenth year of consulting business and all the time I was guided by that well-known sentence from the cartoon "Speak quietly and carry the dog with you". In other words, do your job the best you know, and everything will be OK. And everything is OK! All these years, I have resisted sensationalism supported by digital tools and communication channels and kept what I do and the results of my work "under the radar". That does not make me less proud.
To clarify the title of this article. This is not a story about how I made a sales worth two billion dollars, otherwise I would tell you this story from a much more exotic place than Belgrade. This story does not contain any sales tricks for overnight success, this story does not reveal super techniques that will quickly turn you into a super salesman. If you were hoping for that, you can give up reading.
This is a story about a systematic approach and a huge effort invested in learning to achieve and overcome a given goal. This is a story of gratitude to be a part of such success and an opportunity to support the people who achieved that goal.
A couple of years ago, I got in touch with one of the world's largest companies, service provider in the field of finance, financial consulting, and administration. Company has offices in over 80 countries around the world. Their strategic goal was to go public within 3 years. They had a global sales team dealing with large global corporations. Branches in different countries were providing services contracted by the global sales team, but sales were counted to the global sales team, not to the local company. Branches have had local clients and those clients were gained by service request from a client, not through sales efforts. Revenue from local clients was not negligible, but the potential of each market was far greater.
The aim of the project was to significantly (???) increase local sales in every market in the EMEA (Europe-Middle East-Africa) region. I intentionally do not reveal all the details, but please go back to the title of this article, and it will be clear to you how ambitious the goals were.
After about two and a half months and more rounds of selecting the consulting company to which this project will be assigned, I got the job. Other, very respectable companies representing recognized sales methodologies also participated, but the approach I proposed and the support the client is to receive were recognized as the best.
The key challenge was the audience that should attend the trainings and carry out the entire project. Why? Because it was not about salespeople, but about people who chose as their career to be experts in the field of finance, investment fund management, accounting, and legal, not a career in sales. Almost everyone is in the position of Country Director.
For such a significant project and such a specific audience, I also opted for a proven methodology, Acclivus R3 Solutions®, with maximum adaptation and adjustments to the client's industry and market conditions.
My proposal was to start with a program that will help training participants adopt a sales mindset and gain a strong foundation for establishing and building customer relationships, and in the second phase to address setting and developing strategies and plans for each individual market. The first phase was attending the R3 Sales® program, and the second phase involved Territory Planning & Management ™.
The project lasted a bit more than 2 years and about 50 participants in two groups contributed to in. Each of these programs lasts 2 days, which is a total of 4 or 8 days of training (two groups of 4 days). If you think that is enough, take another look at the title of this article. It is again clear it was not enough.
Each of these programs includes 12 weeks of coaching, working with workshop participants on the application of techniques, skills and tools in real business/sales situations. And not only on the application, but also on adapting the approach and finding the best way of working that suits the local market conditions.
To make all this math easier for you, during the period of 2 years we had "only" 8 days of training, but we invested a full year in learning through practical application and coaching.
The result of this project, again without revealing the details, was that the client did NOT end up on stock exchange and thus did NOT collect the investment necessary for further development of $ 1.8 billion. The result was the sale of the company's majority stake to an investment fund for $ 2 billion. Revenue growth in the local markets of the EMEA region has allowed initial expectations to be exceeded by $ 200 million.
The purpose of this article is not to brag about or glorify my successes. The purpose of this article is to point out that if you want to invest in the development of your sales team, you need to be willing to invest time in learning and true transformation, both in mindset and way of work, not just in training. Even when goals are less ambitious than this one was, the time investment required for learning and change is slightly less.
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Sales Development Consultant