Sales Coaching Success: Richardson Case Study
Sales Coaching Case Study: Accelerate Relationships fill the Pipeline and Drive Revenue
Our client, a top-tier global professional services firm came to us with this predicament: the people who bring in new business opportunities and the practitioners who deliver the services are one and the same.
They are experts in their technical areas, and their clients turn to them for assistance year after year. This business model can virtually guarantee them a certain level of revenue, but a more proactive approach is needed for the desired levels of business development and growth. They have now begun to focus on identifying client business issues and needs in order to accelerate relationships, manage a sales pipeline with more opportunities, and drive revenue. The client account teams comprise a number of highly skilled technical practitioners. What they have lacked is sales coaching. As a result, their strategy is not always closely aligned with the client’s business issues, they are not driving the pipeline as aggressively as they could, and they can miss opportunities to win deals.
Richardson has been working with this firm over the past several years, most recently to help account teams deepen relationships, grow the pipeline, and increase revenue through front-line sales coaching.
In collaboration with the firm’s senior leadership and the US sales organization, Richardson was involved in developing a new generation of strategic account workshops as a way of focusing account teams on pipeline growth and increasing value to the firm’s clients. Traditional strategic account workshops have involved teams coming together to review events of the past, with a brief update on current work, and an even briefer brainstorming session about what could be done in the future. The strategic account workshops took a more dynamic approach including:
- Significant, forward-looking preparation,
- A coach from outside the account who can challenge the team and provide a fresh point of view,
- Development of post- workshop deliverables that accelerate the team’s actions with clear accountability, and
- Ongoing coaching to ensure that the actions committed to by the team move forward with speed.
Each account team is provided with a dedicated coach who spends approximately 150-200 hours working with them over a six-month period. Richardson coaches have initiated the program, with internal coaches at the firm to be trained by Richardson in coach-the-coach sessions. These coaches help to drive the account strategy forward, pushing back on ideas and representing the client’s perspective, coaching and prepping for upcoming meetings with clients, and modeling the sales behaviors necessary in order to embed their use into everyday practice.
Through sales coaching, the firm is seeing its desired behaviors coming to life.
Account teams have become better aligned with clients, their issues, and the key stakeholders. The Richardson sales coaching is helping internal teams keep the right focus, and, in many cases, are galvanizing them with new ideas. Success is evident in a broader pipeline, both in the number of new opportunities and in the size of engagements. Sales-coached accounts are consistently outpacing the firm average for pipeline and revenue growth:
- Opportunities within the pipeline have grown or accelerated at a considerably higher rate than normal for the targeted sales-coached accounts over a three-month period.
- The pipeline within these accounts grew 195% compared with the US firm average of 31.4% for the same period.
- The targeted sales-coached accounts have added more than $140 million in new opportunities to the pipeline so far.
An investment of $1.4 million in external sales coaching has led to wins worth $23.7 million. This is a preliminary result, as the program is still underway and revenue is a lagging indicator.
The expectation is that return on investment (ROI) will rise significantly, coming from the increase in pipeline.
Additionally, relationships with clients have been strengthened and extended, with sales-coached teams often gaining access to high-level executives who previously have not been part of the discussion.
The early and dramatic success of the program has led the firm’s investing committee to approve funding for sales coaching on additional accounts. As the firm has said: Sales coaching is working — and there should be continued ROI from earlier training through the consistent reinforcement of the learned skills, protocols, and approaches.
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