Sales Enablement Superstars Reveal Their Secrets
What would you do when you’re faced with training your sales team on 722 significant new releases in a year like Amazon Web Services? What do you do to motivate sales executives to forecast accurately? What would you do if you had nearly 500 global subsidiaries to sales manage like Ingersoll Rand?
The sales enablement gurus from Amazon Web Services, Publicis.Sapient and Ingersoll Rand reveal their secrets to these questions. And, it all starts with changing the sales and learning culture.
AMAZON WEB SERVICES INNOVATES AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT
As the fastest-growing Enterprise IT Company in history — having grown to $10 billion in 10 years and still growing at an annual rate of 64 percent year-over-year — Amazon Web Services continues to accelerate the pace of its innovation. After starting with one storage service, today Amazon Web Services offers more than 70 services including compute, storage, databases, analytics, mobile and enterprise applications. The organization announced 722 significant new features and services in 2015, which is 40 percent more than what was introduced in 2014. And, just recently, Salesforce named Amazon Web Services its “preferred public cloud infrastructure provider,” and announced that its investing $400 million on Amazon Web Services during the next four years. Amazon Web Services’ growth has happened organically, and it’s placed an emphasis on innovating — rather than dictating — a company culture that contributes to its customerobsessed nature.
Known for its “Amazonian” style of doing things, Amazon Web Services has a rigorous dedication to its culture, best exemplified in its 14 Leadership Principles. One can easily see how it would require an immersive learning culture to deliver on its standards by just looking at a few of these principles: >> Customer obsession
>> Invent and simplify
>> Hire and develop the best talent
>> Insist on the highest standards
>> Learn and be curious
While these are the traits expected and even demanded from its leaders, Amazon Web Services holds all of its employees to such exacting standards. So, when the company needed a way to standardize its primary leadership principle, customer obsession, it took a thorough approach to learning that was both broad and deep.
Amazon’s primary leadership principle of customer obsession is the major driving force in the company. “One of the things that Jeff Bezos has set out to be as a company is the most customer-obsessed company on the earth,” says Mike Clayville, Vice President of Global Sales. “That’s his goal. It’s written on our walls. It’s embedded in our leadership principles and it’s lived every day at every level of the organization.”
“What it means here at Amazon Web Services, and in particular in our organization that deals directly with customers, is that it translates to our team being problem solvers with the customer,” Clayville continues. “When we are working with a customer to help them understand how he or she can gain business abilities through using the cloud or how he or she can reduce cost if that’s his or her goal in using the cloud, what we enable them to do is leverage that technology in the best way possible and we do that by sitting at the table with them. On the same side of the table, understanding the issues that are in front of them and helping them solve the problem.”
As the company quickly grew, leaders knew they needed a way to unify by implementing a common methodology and language to further extend the customer-obsessed mindset across its global sales force. Through collaborating with CloudCoaching International, and through deep discovery and design, a global program called Outcome Based Account Management was developed and deployed for sellers across Amazon Web Services. This program provides language, process, behavior and methodology that even further increases customer intimacy and focus on both business and personal customer outcomes.
OUTCOME BASED ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT
It was critical that the learning solution match the Amazon Web Services culture. So, a customized version of the Customer Outcome Selling course was developed to line up with the methodology and language of Amazon. This Amazonian selling approach is called Outcome-Based Account Management (OBAM).
OBAM is the process, tools, competencies, and dialogue architecture for initiating and solidifying Amazon Web Services’ customer-obsessed relationships, fixated on the journey of transforming the sellercustomer engagement into a lifelong strategic relationship.
“We’re not trying to sell you parts and pieces or technology. What we’re trying to help you do is get the business outcomes,” says Clayville when defining OBAM. “Our job is to sit down and help. We really talk about it as the four E’s: explore, engage, empathize and enable. Those four E’s are ingrained in the behaviors of our teams that are really supporting this notion of problem solving, identifying business outcomes, creating a path for those business outcomes to be achieved and then helping the customer achieve those business outcomes.”
The development of this program has spanned three years and is currently on its third release. The immersive program thrives on a blend of pre-call, pre-work, a live one-day collaborative training day session, three post-workshop coaching calls, and an on-demand OBAM playbook.
The program has been delivered globally to around 1,000 people in all geographies, including Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, and North and South America. In every location, the program is being met with great success, achieving a global average score of 4.2 or higher out of five from participants.
Amazon Web Services’ deep commitment to a culture of continuous learning and skill development enables innovation and customer obsession.
PUBLICIS.SAPIENT MERGES CULTURES
Sapient is a marketing and digital services agency that helps marketers transform their business to go digital, and the culture of Sapient goes back to its roots. Culture is always at the forefront at Sapient.
“The most important thing in your business is not what you’re going to sell but what you value,” says Bill Kanarick, Chief Marketing Officer of global services company Sapient, who helped steered the company since it startup days. Culture was so integral that when the company reached 49 employees, Sapient dedicated two of them to keeping its culture intact.
As Sapient continued to grow and expand, its dedication to culture has never wavered. And, learning is clearly a deeply held value at the core of many of its founding principles.
Sapient believes in the need to cultivate openness to create the conditions for curiosity and change. As such, the company is committed to exchanging information, feedback and ideas which engages employees, piquing their curiosity. Sapient understands that learning is continuous, no matter an individual’s role in the organization. Sapient embraces a culture so:
>>Individuals let go of what is no longer working.
>>Individuals welcome healthy conflict in the service of more robust thinking and better outcomes.
>>Individuals leave behind hierarchy for hierarchy’s sake and enable a meritocracy of ideas that gives each person a valued and respected voice based on the quality of his or her thinking.
>>Individuals understand the critical role of failure to teach and can recover quickly and come out better for it.
THE CHALLENGE: INCREASE VISIBILITY
In order to deliver at the speed and agility of the digital marketplace Publicis. Sapient required a world-class business platform, and selected Salesforce. It also selected Salesforce to help promote better collaboration and visibility into the pipeline.
Because Sapient’s culture is highly creative and opt-in, it doesn’t mandate training on its new CRM. Knowing that its team would benefit from Salesforce, the organization decided that it needed a solution to drive adoption, quick onboarding, and a clear path to competency for all Salesforce users. To get the team’s buy-in, it needed to create a highly engaging experience that would pull the users in. It also needed the training to be in a highly scalable format that clearly shows each employee what’s in it for each of them individually.
THE SOLUTION: SALESFORCE ON-BOARDING
Enter the new Salesforce On-Boarding and Adoption Program developed in partnership with CloudCoaching International. This program addresses the challenges of global diversity and opt-in culture by creating an engaging, informative and creatively executed end user Salesforce on-boarding and adoption strategy.
To sustain learning and encourage selfpaced, incremental growth, the program focused on three main areas: strategy, implementation and fine tuning. The design of this effective strategy included a comprehensive blend of executive coaching, leadership coaching, virtual workshops, open office hours, video communications, self-paced e-learning, and corporate communications and change management.
This unique blend appeals to all learning types and, because it’s delivered over time, it maximizes retention and effectiveness. Additionally, the e-learning series is delivered via an interface by an engaging video host that takes end users through an informative and enjoyable learning journey that introduces the new company sales philosophy and methodology, step-by-step Salesforce process demonstrations, knowledge checks and even a little singing.
So far the deployment has impacted more than 1,200 users across North America, the Asia-Pacific region and Europe. Based on the success of the initial program, Publicis.Sapient, which is composed of Sapient as well as digital agencies Razorfish and DigitasLBi, will continue to use and evolve this approach to drive end-user adoption and consumption with its Salesforce platform.
Sapient has seen measurable results since it began the implementation. It has a 50-percent increase in early-stage entry, improving the accuracy of its forecasting and pipeline. It also has 75 percent engagement in Salesforce, showing that the team is opting in and making use of the company’s major investment.
“As an extremely creative, opt-in culture, we needed a highly engaging solution to captivate the imagination and clearly show our end users the benefits of using the system,” says Seth Bartlett, Global Chief Operating Officer at SapientNitro.
INGERSOLL RAND INSPIRES PROGRESS
Ingersoll Rand is a $12 billion global diversified industrial firm that provides a wide range of innovative products, including complete air compressor systems, air conditioning systems, tools, ARO pumps, material handling systems and more. It continues to lead the way in the market through an impressive portfolio of market-leading brands, which include Club Car, Thermo King and Trane.
Ingersoll Rand strives to lead the way in solutions that make everyday living healthier, more energy efficient, more comfortable and more productive. To constantly inspire progress, innovate positive solutions, and unleash the potential in employees, along with the customers, Ingersoll Rand relies on a culture of learning.
Ingersoll Rand is focused on driving learning and growth across its corporate culture. In 2003, it established Ingersoll Rand University to support the development of leaders and staff through strategic competencies and a single pervasive culture.
THE CHALLENGE: 484 GLOBAL SUBSIDIARIES AND ONE STANDARD
While Ingersoll Rand made learning a predominant feature of its culture, like so many other companies, it needed help establishing a consistent methodology and process for its sales management teams. Because of an inconsistent sales management process and pipeline tools varying between business units, Ingersoll Rand’s sales management team was struggling to set standard practices. Sales representatives focused on driving sales excellence but found themselves impeded by a fragmented sales management culture.
“On the surface, those of us who are not in this latest generation of the workforce tend to think about selling and sales in much the same way it has traditionally been seen for many generations,” says Melissa Nelson Tate, Enterprise Director of Sales Excellence. “If we take a step back and look at how buying behavior has changed, we see a different playing field. Buyers have all the information they need at their fingertips. Think about how you buy for yourself today either personally or in your position. Technology has added an incredible dimension to buying and that dimension compounds the work of the seller, for developing sales people and accelerating their learning curve has become more important than ever.”
She explains that sales leaders have to be ready to put on their coaching caps to harness the potential and to realize the performance available to their team. “It’s a much, much different space to operate in today than it has been for the last several decades,” she says.
STANDARDIZING THE SALES PROCESS
Ingersoll Rand selected the Pathways to Growth Sales Management System (PTG), which is a series of nine sales management disciplines, authored by Tony Robbins and Walter Rogers. Ingersoll Rand’s Sales Excellence Division, Ingersoll Rand University and Baker Communications collaborated to customize PTG to meet Ingersoll Rand’s specific requirements. The collaboration resulted in a single global sales management standard: IRSMX. This standard serves as the template for each business unit to customize in order to meet its business unit requirements, without altering the integrity of the overall system. In fact, the company took its commitment to the program so seriously and believes so heavily in its effectiveness that it mandated IRSMX be used across the entire company.
As the system was being implemented globally, BCI suggested that Ingersoll Rand consider using Salesforce as the system of record to enable IRSMX. With support from BCI, Ingersoll Rand selected the CRM leader to standardize the ISRMX process and reporting in order to support the global initiative. IRSMX is now further accelerated with the use of Salesforce as it rolls out globally.
The implementation spanned multiple geographical, cultural, and business unit environments, requiring customized content and coaching to address the worldwide business unit and diversity. All together, this project will impact more than 7,000 sellers and managers across North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India and Asia.
“Such a complex implementation goal requires the design of the learning strategy be creative and impactful for all of our diverse learners,” says Tara Cargle Ashcraft, Strategic Capability Learning Manager installing Sales Excellence. “Our blended approach is both traditional and innovative; it includes assessment, e-learning, face to face classroom learning, experimental field work, and a 12-week virtual coaching cycle to support adoption, reinforce learning, and practice application of content. Our sales teams are supported throughout the launch of the sales management system. It’s not a one and done. The commitment of our leaders to coach through the change is the secret sauce.”
Due to the scale of the project and Ingersoll Rand’s desire to accelerate adoption of IRSMX across various business units, global delivery was accomplished through a joint effort between BCI Master Coaches and BCI-certified Ingersoll Rand business unit Coaches, with both groups leading IRSMX workshops and IRSMX coaching cycles. Ingersoll Rand continues to leverage BCI Master Coaches for IRSMX delivery and on-demand support, including coaching, content changes, and specialized delivery needs.
Ingersoll Rand’s desire to make IRSMX a part of all its business units’ operations has led to faster-than-expected adoption of the methodology and substantial business results, while ensuring a high level of pipeline health, forecast accuracy, and regular one-on-one coaching sessions between sales managers and sales representatives. It also found that the switch to Salesforce has been an incalculable benefit as the company uses it to track, communicate and report on the health of the business.
Through the determination and desire shown by Ingersoll Rand’s Sales Excellence division to make the IRSMX method a part of its core sales management culture, it will succeed in reaching the end goal of rolling out IRSMX to every sales manager.
“Through the areas of strong sales leadership that we have in Ingersoll Rand, we have consistently seen improvement in engagement scores where teams have a focus on strong and improved sales leadership and coaching practices,” says Nelson Tate. Sales professionals describe their time with management and as a team as important to each member’s success.
An unexpected result is that sales leaders have a better work life balance. “[Sales leaders] have seen that they can more proactively, strategically, effectively lead their teams to greater performance by actually putting in less direct hours in a day. Of course, all of this improves retention and we know how costly it is to have poor performers. Those are some of the softer results we’re seeing,” Nelson Tate says.
“On the quantitative side, we definitely are seeing cleaner pipelines, better forecast accuracy, improved win rates,” she says. “We’re getting bigger pipelines, better deals at the table and winning more of those deals, which, of course, drive revenue improvement and then translate to market share gains.”
BY KEREN STANLEY AND CLAIRE JOHNSON