Case Histories: Business Development
“Business Development: going from pitching products to customer-centric consultative selling”
A company wanted to make improvements in their global business development and sales process. The senior management team of the company believed there were areas to strengthen business development effectiveness and efficiencies. They were spending all their time pitching their current portfolio of products and services before understanding the crucial needs of their customers. It was becoming increasing clear that many potential business opportunities were slipping by; they were not properly categorized or scoped. Closing took too much time so something had to change.
Topsail Group, based on interviews, pre-work assignments, and discovery workshops, identified the key areas that needed improvement and created highly interactive, customized workshops. The work started by stressing that success would be achieved not just focusing on the company’s products and services; but on becoming and acting customer-centric. This was the strategic foundation -- helping the customer succeed -- not blindly selling or pitching products. This included new selling behaviors: learning the prospective customer business so one can create true value for them; understanding how they do business so one can help them improve it; recognizing that this type of consultative selling takes longer (account plans, and business plans); and that senor management must commit to and reward this new behavior. Workshop training included Prospecting (cold calling, database development and maintenance), Closing (presenting skills, and making the sale), and the Consultative Selling Process. This was a five-step program, concentrating on a clearly defined customer opportunity, known resources, understanding the decision-making process, finding an exact solution, and building a solid customer relationship. During these workshops, much attention was given to breakout groups and role playing.
The senior management team of the company embraced this new customer-centric consultative selling process and implemented it globally with positive reception and results from employees and customers alike.