Killer products don’t sell

You’re a major corporation with a track record of strong sales for your current product range. You’ve worked long and hard to produce a unique innovative product that you know the market needs. It should have flown out of the warehouse, but sales tanked and it has hit the morale and commissions of the sales team. Why?

Alternatively, you are a nimble start-up with experienced founders, who have built their reputation on sales in previous large corporations. Again, you’ve developed a ground-breaking product and made some early sales. To really ramp up revenues you have decided to sell through the channel, or you’ve hired a hotshot salesman. But nothing is happening. The only sales are being made by the founders. Why?

History is littered with promising products which faltered badly or ultimately failed in both the business-to-consumer (B2C) world and the business-to-business (B2B) world. The consumer world has the best-known stories, such as VHS vs. Sony’s Betamax in the 1980s. A replay of VHS vs. Betamax was the battle for the next-generation DVD player market which, in the end, was won by Sony with Blu-ray and that signaled the end of an 18-month campaign and a multimillion-dollar investment by Toshiba.

The B2B market has an equal number of examples of ‘nails hit squarely on the thumb’. Why did a killer product like IP Telephony take so long to pick up? Why weren’t SGI’s blisteringly fast servers adopted by data centers? And whatever happened to the Psion Organizer? Why is it not up there with the iPhone and the BlackBerry?

On television we watch programs like The Apprentice or Dragons’ Den, where eager, passionate, blinded, and desperate entrepreneurs and inventors believe they have created the killer product. The product which will have the world beating a path to their doors. These people are a microcosm of the greater business world, where large and expensive R&D departments go through essentially the same process. Possibly the greatest output from R&D departments is blind faith.

These days it is easy to build products, and there are more places where they can be used – which sounds great. But remember, success isn’t proportional to the quality or the degree of innovation of the product – and business buyers and consumers are swamped with choice. Paint all this innovation on the canvas of a rapidly evolving marketplace and truly global competition, and the statistical chance of failure is huge.

But that hasn’t stopped innovation. More products are being brought to market every year, and that can only spell one thing: 98 of those 100 products launched will be stillborn, with the entrepreneurial flames burning within many talented people being snuffed out, along with their savings or investors’ funds.

Sales is sales is sales – right?

Our 15 years of research and consulting on sales has spanned the range of organizations – from the largest global corporates turning over $100 billion down to small companies with two employees who are just starting out. The research has revealed some remarkable results: the accepted thinking on sales methodologies is fundamentally flawed. The methodologies will help fine-tune your sales team and increase their productivity, but they will not determine whether your killer product will find its way to the customers.

It’s your ability to engage with the customer’s very clearly defined buying culture. And the buying culture is determined by product maturity. There are four buying cultures, which are distinct, and each requires a different engagement approach. These buying cultures, not surprisingly, show some degree of congruence with the different buyers described in Crossing the Chasm and Inside the Tornado.

It may be hard to believe that corporates like Cisco struggle to sell innovative products. Surely they have the brand, marketing muscle, and distribution channel to be able to bring a product to market and stuff it through the channel? And yet, they openly admit that the established approaches haven’t worked.

At the other end of the food chain there are small start-ups who are trying to establish a market for their ‘new, innovative, ground-breaking, paradigm-shifting’ product with no marketing resources and with the founders doing the selling. They probably get some early success but more often they falter and never break the $5m revenue barrier.

Most sales and marketing teams do not recognize that there are different buying cultures. They engage every customer against a backdrop of a simple sales process, where every sale is seen as a conquest. There is a winner and a loser. It is a matter of life and death. How many start-ups, after their initial flurry of success, find themselves debating how to grow to the next stage and hire experienced and expensive salesmen.

One Sales Director of a very large software company[2] said to me when he first understood the buying cultures, “I always thought I’d had twenty years of sales experience, I now realize I’d had one experience for twenty years!”, i.e. selling to only one buying culture.


Buying Cultures

There are four buying cultures, which are distinct, and each requires a different style of engagement. These are: Value Offered, Value Added, Value Created,and Value Captured. We represent them by suits of playing cards.

First, we need to understand the dynamics of the different buying cultures and agree on some terminology. Imagine that each buying culture is an organization’s way of saying to a supplier “This is what I want you to do for me before I actually buy from you.”

 Value Captured: Why Hearts: Because you’re worth it… the relationship between supplier and customer is interdependent.

The Value Captured buying culture occurs when the customer is willing to put themselves in the hands of a supplier in order to generate change or value. An example here would be an organization that is hoping to increase its flexibility and reduce costs through outsourcing. The customer will ultimately share responsibility with the supplier to get the value in their cooperation.

Example: Accenture used eBay to sell excess inventory for corporates on a commission-only basis. eBay, the customer, became the supplier as Accenture took all the risks developing the market but reaped the rewards when the ‘service’ gained momentum.

Value Created: Why Diamonds: There are diamonds in the rough, but they are difficult for the customer to find.

The Value Created buying culture occurs when the customer senses there is an opportunity but can’t describe it. It takes the supplier to bring it into clear focus and suggest a solution. An example might be an organization that has recognized they need to drive operational effectiveness and improvement, but it takes a supplier to show how they can engage their employees in adopting shared processes, how they will deliver it, and what a solution might look like.

Example: Nimbus has been selling its process management software, NimbusControl, to manage corporate processes as a valuable asset (as opposed to drawing boxes and lines in Visio). It requires educating customers about its existence and the benefits of the approach and NimbusControl.

Value Added: Why Spades: This is about hard work and digging in. Calls multiplied by Demos = Orders! You win 2 out of 5 bids. You negotiate hard and fight for your corner.

The Value Added buying culture occurs when the customer recognizes that they need to find a solution to a pain or opportunity, and they are looking for options. An example is a customer looking for a CRM system. CRM systems are known to exist and the benefits are understood, but it requires the supplier to explain the value of their product over those of their competitors. The majority of technology is sold in this way.

Example: TIBCO competes in the established and understood BPM market. Winning requires better functionality and a lower per seat price in comparison with the other credible competitors.

Value Offered: Why Clubs: You need a club to beat the customer and the competition into submission – it’s a commodity/price thing.

The Value Offered buying culture occurs when the customers know what they want and all that is left to do is decide what color it will be. The customer will conduct his own research and make a decision about which model or version. He will then use the Internet to identify the lowest price or go back to his preferred supplier list. For the supplier it’s about establishing a brand and having the lowest friction sales and delivery channel.

Example: Dell laptops are ordered and delivered over the Web and the customer decision is based on Dell’s brand, the price, and availability. Dell needs to optimize its supply chain to maintain margins.

Crossing the Chasm

There are clear parallels. Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore shows the customer’s perspective. The real pioneer of this thinking was Everett Rogers in the 1950s at the University of Chicago, who proposed that adopters of any new innovation or idea could be categorized as Innovators (2.5%), Early Adopters (13.5%), Early Majority (34%), Late Majority (34%), and Laggards (16%), based on a bell curve.

Moore argues that there is a chasm between the early adopters of the product (the technology enthusiasts and visionaries) and the early majority (the pragmatists), and these two groups have very different expectations. The diagram below shows the mapping of buying cultures to chasm theory.


What is IMPACT

There is a pathway or process that all organizations follow to reach purchasing decisions. This process does not vary across industries or even regions of the world, because it is inextricably linked to instinctive human behavior. It is just the speed that organizations or individuals travel through the process that differs. The process is called IMPACT.

The IMPACT process may be followed in a formal way or it may be tacit and informal. It may involve large numbers of people, both inside and outside the organization, or it may be driven by one individual. It is guaranteed that any idea which leads to a purchase in an organization, be it corporately or personally driven, has followed this process.

The six key phases of the process are easy to remember as they have an enormous IMPACT on your company’s performance:

Identify – Mentor – Position – Assessment – Case – Transaction

Every purchase goes through all six phases, with or without the supplier’s assistance. What differs between the four different buying cultures is the point at which the supplier is given permission to engage with the customer. The reason that most salesmen don’t recognize this process is because the customer goes through the process on their own, and only invites the supplier in for the last one or two steps. But more of this later. First, let’s understand the IMPACT process.

Phase 1: Identify

The identification of ideas for changing or improving a business that are good enough to warrant investigation.

This is the ideas phase. This may be the executive team going on an offsite with strategic consultants to plan its future. The executive team will be looking for ways to grow revenues, create competitive advantage, increase shareholder value, contain or reduce costs. That is, it is ‘blue sky’ thinking looking out into the future to see how technology will help the company become more competitive or impact its markets.

Phase 2: Mentor

Enrolling a mentor (evangelist) to the idea to validate it.

The executive team will take the breakthrough ideas or big bets and give them to someone in senior management to act as a mentor for the ideas. These ideas are not for public consumption, and the mentor should only work with his close team and trusted advisors to ratify the thinking. The mentor will be scoping and testing the ideas for feasibility, credibility, and political acceptability as much as he can without drawing undue attention. If the decisions are not accepted then the ideas get buried – forever.

Phase 3: Position

The public decision to make resources and budget available to invest further in the idea.

Buy-in is the big challenge because it involves managing politics. But why do politics play such a major part in this phase? The answer is simple. The announcement of a new initiative is an announcement of impending change. And change will always produce an upsurge of emotions, both positive and negative. The mentor will need to find a sponsor, because to move forward into the next phase will require resources (money, people, time) to assess the value of the initiative. The sponsor will be the person or body of people with enough political muscle to get the resources.

Phase 4: Assessment

The assessment of the good and the bad in the idea.

The Assessment phase plays a very important part in the post-Enron corporate world where legislation now ensures company officers are held accountable for their decisions. Particularly ones involving investment and strategic direction, which has made the Assessment phase a big hurdle.[4] But the Assessment phase is not about cost justification, it is an evaluation of everything, both quantitative and qualitative.

Phase 5: Case

The creation of a quantified business case and assignment of resources/budget to it.

The mentor will use the output from the Assessment phase to build a business and investment Case, possibly including solutions. Then, the Case can have a budget actually assigned to it and will be made public. If the organization requires that all external purchases are done via competitive tender, then this is when those tender documents are created and distributed.

Phase 6: Transaction

The confirmation of the project to all internal and external stakeholders and to the suppliers.

Procurement will raise a purchase order and negotiate contracts for the solution put forward in the Case. Depending on the solution, market and company approach procurement may need to drive a formal procurement with competitive tendering, beauty parades, and all the fun and games that this entails.

Choosing the correct buying culture

A question we get asked a lot is, “Which buying culture should I choose, and which is the best?” Firstly, you don’t choose how you want to sell. The customer, or rather the maturity of the product in a marketplace, determines the buying culture at a point in time. All you get to choose is how you react and organize yourselves – what we will call your operational culture. The smart money is in being able to determine which buying cultures you need to support or align to. Note, we said buying cultures – plural. If you have a range of products then it’s highly likely that you will be supporting multiple operational cultures.

A clear understanding of the buying culture of a customer leads to a clear realization that the entire organization needs to be aligned to mirror that buying culture. If you can align the core processes of both the primary and secondary value chains to the correct operational culture, you will be able to optimize sales. As a result, your killer product will become just that – a killer product. We are talking about the entire organization’s orientation to an operational culture to mirror the customer’s buying culture. R&D, Marketing, Sales, Sales Operations, Professional Services, Support & Help Desk, Legal, and Alliances are all affected. The only functions that are innocent bystanders are HR, IT, and Finance.


Exploring the buying cultures

Let’s explore how each of the buying cultures feels from a supplier’s sales engagement perspective, starting with Value Captured.

Value Captured:The supplier shares full risk and reward by capturing the value jointly with the customer.

If the customer is at the Identification stage is likely that it is making itself aware of the major change issues in their world. But the supplier will probably know more about the issues for the customer than they do. Marketing will focus on insight through white papers, conferences, and maintaining high visibility with business and organizational leaders. So, the supplier is responsible for recognizing and delivering the value of their product for the customer.

A good example of this is Accenture. Back in 2002 they spotted the opportunity to use eBay to sell excess inventory for corporates, giving them 20 percent higher prices than dumping them through their normal channels. Up to this point eBay was an ‘electronic car boot sale’ for individuals. Accenture took responsibility for developing the market, recruiting corporate sellers, and were paid a commission on all sales. eBay assumed no risk, but received a proportionally smaller revenue share. It rapidly turned into a multimillion pound revenue stream for both eBay and Accenture.

A Value Captured company feels massively entrepreneurial. Enough to give any corporate CFO a sleepless night, unless the company is extremely well funded or is a subsidiary of a very understanding or entrepreneurial group company. Every business model is different. It is based on the deal struck between the customer and the supplier. Although at times it could seem that the relationship between the customer and the supplier has been reversed. It could be a Joint Venture (JV), a commission paid to the customer for the use of the product or service, equity ownership and earn out, or purchase lease back. You name it. Anything goes. This is the area of financial innovation.

Value Created: The supplier reveals unforeseen risk or opportunity for the customer (thus creating new value for them) and will assume some kind of responsibility to realize the return.

The customer is studying its strategic options. The starting point for sales here is the perspective that the supplier has of the customer’s market, organization, culture, operations, and strategy. The supplier will be able to see things that the customer cannot possibly see itself, so the sales engagement is more likely to be initiated by the supplier and supported by thought-leadership marketing and industry insights. The customer will not be out looking for a supplier because it probably doesn’t realize that a product exists to satisfy a requirement that it is only just realizing it has.

The supplier will need to grab the attention of a mentor with an opinion about the customer’s organization, and issues in the customer’s market. Early meetings will be a ‘conversation of possibilities’ and not a discussion of products or solutions. The product’s existence is not well understood by all customers and market isn’t sufficiently developed for the analysts to create a comparison matrix. Therefore, IT will be uncomfortable with purchasing it. And they may even block it.

An example of a product in this area is Nimbus Control 2007, which is an application for capturing end-to-end processes and publishing them as an organization’s Operations Manual. Quite often an alternative product is used to satisfy the business need. But as it has not been designed to meet the real need, it is not a complete solution. Nimbus needs to educate the market before it can sell to it, and it also needs to establish itself as a thought-leader, requiring it to develop a strong professional services practice to support its product.

The whole company is genuinely customer-focused. Not in the false sense of “our customer is our No. 1 focus – Your call is really important to us, please hold for 10 minutes…” I’m talking about a really deep interest in the customer and their world. Your professional services and sales team are expected to live in the customer world to the extent that they understand the emotional highs and lows of the customer. They are part of the furniture at the customer. They count the customers as friends. This is the world where the account manager takes customers out to lunch whether there is business on the table or not.

The big thing here is to grab the customer’s attention and then, once it’s grabbed, hold onto it forever.

 Value Added: The supplier responds to the customer’s needs or pain and uses its knowledge (adds value) of its products and services to build a solution.

Products are well known and there is a broad understanding of their capabilities. Therefore customers, once they have established their needs, are able to source possible solutions. The really important thing about a Value Added customer is that they have a recognized and quantified need or pain or opportunity. The supplier needs to ensure that its profile, driven by traditional advertising and marketing, is high enough so that it is contacted by customers. The role of sales is to qualify the customers and add value by using knowledge of the products to build a solution which will meet the customers’ needs and be differentiated from their competitors. Once the solution has been specified, designed, and priced, the sales person does not want to accept any responsibility for the realization of value from the solution – his job is done once the deal is closed.

The majority of business software such as CRM, ERP, or Accounting is bought in this way. This is where IT has been delegated to make the purchase, or the business has abdicated responsibility. The customer will have identified the business need and compiled a list of requirements. They then use third-party advice, such as from an analyst, research, or a consulting firm, to draw up a short-list of suppliers. Normally, the market leader and three to four others will appear on the short-list. Then, there is a formal proposal/bidding process to select the winner, which is decided on the balance of functionality vs. price.

The executive team of a Value Added company would like to think that they were Value Created – thought-leaders with the customers hanging upon their every word, but without all the hard work and complication involved. A long-term relationship without the courting. The reality is very different. Value Added companies are in a fiercely competitive marketplace trying to differentiate themselves from other, similar-looking products. A blend of macho sales and heroics in delivery. Trying to outsmart the competition on features and functions. Trying to get closer to the customer without burning too much free pre-sales consulting. Maximizing margin on every deal. Sales guys live or die by their numbers. Discounting at the end of each quarter is rife to close a deal. Therefore, most deals are done in the last five days of a quarter.

Value Offered: The supplier makes the products available (thus offering the value). The customer or partner applies their own knowledge to exploit them

What is the customer doing? It knows what it wants and is looking at the choices. This engagement is very much as it sounds – where the role of sales is to get the product out there, and cover as much ground as possible with short, sharp engagements. The product needs to be of a nature such that the customer can easily understand where the value is for them, because there is not the margin for a field salesman to have to explain anything beyond features. All the responsibility for recognizing where the value is in the product lies with the customer. In Value Offered we will only want to engage with the customer when it’s quite clear what is wanted, solutions are already defined, and budgets and time frames are quite clear. The leads will come from marketing and direct sales activity, which will probably be some kind of inside sales organization. The marketing angle will typically be the price-to-feature leverage. The engagement takes place when the customer is in the Transactions phase. Customers only want to deal with the market leaders, provided they are cost-competitive, so brand value and recognition is everything.

Dell is the perfect example on PCs and laptops. It established a superior product build and delivery model and was able to drive down prices to enable it to gain market share. Interestingly, when Dell tried to apply this to the server market, which is still a Value Added market, the Value Offered model didn’t work – which is why you see Dell changing its operating model for servers.

Value Offered companies follow a trend of being very numbers-driven, gung-ho, focused on sales. Volume is key as margins will be razor thin therefore the organization is streamlined. If we look at the value chain for a Value Offered company we will see that everything from product innovation right through to service delivery is clean and simple, and designed to extract as much money as possible from every transaction. The product will in no way involve leading-edge technology; everything about it is known, tried, and tested.


Why Value Created

There is a challenge creating and maintaining a Value Created operational culture. But why focus on Value Created as opposed to any of the other three? The answer is that from years of consulting we’ve learned that Value Offered, Value Added, and Value Captured are all obvious sales entry points for suppliers. However, Value Created is very rarely used because it is not understood. It is almost always mistaken for ‘Value Added, but where the salesmen are a bit more consultative’. Yet, Value Created is the only effective way of selling innovative or disruptive products, and is very different from Value Added. It has a different process, runs at a different rhythm, and requires a different set of personalities. The move to Value Created is the most needed and most difficult.

A good way to understand the Value Created salesman is to compare him to his nearest neighbor, the Value Added salesman, against a whole range of attributes:

Value Added Value Created
What they say “Let me demo you the product. It’s awesome” “Let’s discuss what you are trying to achieve. Do you have a pen/whiteboard?”
Every meeting … is a planned step towards a PO … is a ‘conversation of possibilities’
Previous track record Top performing salesman Partner or senior-level consultant
Sales & delivery approach Sell, collect commission, and move on Work with the customer to deliver results
Commissioned OTE on product gross margin On total project value
Most valuable attributes Hungry, driven, and materialistic Trusted, patient, and persistent
Greatest achievement Exceeded OTE last 20 quarters (i.e., 5 years) running Sitting on the Board or Project Steering Committee of his main customer
How customer sees them A supplier selling their product Trusted advisor with a supporting product
Where do they hang out Company reception waiting for Procurement and IT Managers Executive Suite and business sponsor’s office
How to get a deal in quicker Drop their trousers! Discount, discount, discount Political leverage. Discounts don’t work. Support and coaching for project manager might help
Title on business card VP Sales Nothing very often, or perhaps partner


Remember, it is the product that determines which buying culture, and hence which operational culture, is required. More precisely, it is the product in a specific market which determines the buying culture. So how can you decide if your product requires a Value Created buying culture or not?  There are vital signs that suggest you should be selling as Value Created, in the table below.

Vital signs The cover up: the salesman’s self-deception
Market maturity It’s great. We’ve got no competition. We should clean up.
Multiple buyers It’s not a problem. Everyone across the business, in every division, is interested.
Sales stalled We’re really close now. We’ve got so many companies about to sign.
Pilots, no pull-through The last pilot was a huge success. So much so that they want to pilot in another area.
Small incremental sales Most customers are not committing to large orders, for anything now.
Multiple products mask and confuse sales effort The sales team’s not a problem. Some of the products are going gangbusters.
Multiple products but only one sales team No-one is going to be selling to my customer. I own the account.
Brand recognition (or aspirations) not aligned with product mix We operate at Board level. What more do you want?
Run out of mates and early adopters to sell to We’ve proven we can do this. Look at the sales history. Marketing needs to pull its finger out and get us better leads.
How interesting is your product? We’ve got a winner. Everyone we talk to is really, really interested.

Why is Value Created difficult?

How can this be so difficult? Before this book was written, companies got launched and products got sold. True. What we are describing is not new. We are simply giving you a framework to understand what has been happening by trial and error, so that you can take out some of the costly time wasting mistakes.

Why do so many companies not make the move to Value Created when they should? Normally, because they are unaware that there is any other way. Sales is sales is sales. If the founder or CEO is an engineer or inventor, their only direct experience of sales may be as a consumer. In the B2C world, Value Offered always appears to be the norm.

But there are people who do recognize that there is a different way and still don’t make the change to Value Created. Why not? They probably have a perception that it is too tough, too complex, too risky, and blind faith tells them that good times really must be up ahead. So over to blind faith and trust – if we keep doing what we have always done (only a little harder) things might get better.


A salesman who really understands the Value Created engagement can drive significantly higher value engagements with greater margin. But timing is critical, as is that initial entry point.

Richard Beasley, Sales Director at BT Global Services, describes a perfect Value Created sales engagement. This is what it’s like when it all comes together:

“I remember a really good example from when I was at Equant (now Orange Business Services). Actually the credit goes to the sales guy for originally picking up an article in the press about the merger between the two organizations Colep and CCL, both manufacturers of metal and plastic packaging. We felt that the merger of these two organizations, one predominantly US based, the other European, was an opportunity since clearly there was going to be significant change in the new organization. This sales guy had the confidence to go to the top. He quickly engaged with the CIO and was able to demonstrate that Equant had an understanding of their particular business situation. It turned out the two companies were integrating and the CIO’s remit was to provide an IT infrastructure to support the globalization of the business through a single global brand. Managing the business across a number of continents required the implementation of an ERP system, which in turn meant they needed a secure and highly available networking infrastructure. By demonstrating our value to their business in achieving these goals we were able to keep the discussion just with Equant, which in turn the customer benefited from a fast tracked implementation and savings on a costly RFP process. We did a main board presentation which resulted in a services contract covering not just their global networking infrastructure, security and mobile worker requirements, but also their voice services with plans to extend services to their local area networks and over time converge all ICT services onto a single IP based architecture.

If it hadn’t been for the confidence of going in at that high level talking about our opinion on how we could manage their merger risks and the business benefits we could bring, it would have been completely different. At best we would end up responding to an RFP that came from the organization and for a deal would have been worth about a quarter of what we actually won and at a lot lower margin.

The ease and simplicity was surprising. The initial engagement was done within the sales team itself. It was sales account manager and myself looking through the merger report, pulling together some information from the internet and between us coming up with an opinion that the sales guy was going to present to the CIO when he called him up. For me the two key elements of Value Creation are first you can create the interest with the client but then second you have to back it up with some substance. If you don’t do that then you are very quickly going to lose the confidence of the client and your dialogue will just fizzle out.

From the internal perspective we’re all competing for resource. We needed technical resource to design a solution, but we were able to quantify the opportunity in terms of value, our USP, who the key decision makers were and the politics. I was one of a number of sector managers. The Value Created engagement helped me ensure I could get the right resources on the opportunities that my team was working on. It allowed me to put together a well reasoned case of why we thought this opportunity was a good one to follow.”


Transformation – the OCA methodology

So, every great achievement starts with a small committed decision. From the experience of 15 years’ research and countless client engagements, we have identified a five-step methodology – which is called the Organizational Culture Alignment (OCA). But you should give it an emotive name which means something for your business, such as Project Diamond. These steps build on everything that we have discussed in the earlier chapters, but set them out in a practical blueprint for ACTION.

This methodology is all about analysis and transformation. Analysis to understand where you are and then what is transforming from your current mess of operational cultures to an organization where the products are correctly aligned. This is not the sales methodology that your sales teams follow. It is the steps to get you from where you are to where you need to be.

The methodology will help you understand where you are in terms of operational culture vs. the correct buying culture, and then realign your operation, building the operational culture and then getting it adopted and engrained into your organization. Sounds simple? It’s a major analytical and transformational activity – but the prize is worth the effort.

The OCA methodology has five steps:

  1. Interpret business strategy.
  2. Analyze sales mix.
  3. Establish current structure and resources.
  4. Develop best practice.
  5. Transition to the new world.

Of all the steps, the last is by far the most difficult, as any project manager of a major transformation program will tell you. It’s a topic in its own right and is covered in my first book, Common Approach, Uncommon Results..


Andy Berry, GM of Fuji Xerox Global Services, explains how they have used IMPACT to help make better management decisions, and really drive the sales process:

“We’re quite clear on our use of the IMPACT process and the different operational cultures to drive the sales engagements. Previously, we believed [we] had a ‘one size fits all’ marketing and sales management process. We used to assume that we were engaging the customer at Identification and we would try and get our sales force to go through Mentor, Position and Assessment on every single deal. Now, what the operational culture model has given us is the ability to acknowledge that quite often we are actually engaging with the customer at Case and this is [a] Value Added deal. We have also recognized that frequently the customer has got to Case having missed out many of the risk analysis steps within the earlier phases which are very important to make a sound business decision. Sometimes it’s so important that we need to help the customers go back and mend holes in their own internal processes. When that happens you have the added benefit of getting closer to them and becoming a trusted advisor. This protects our customer relationship, qualifies our risk investment and protects us from any competition.”

He sums up the benefits as.

“We achieved pretty well all we set out to achieve: our average deal size trebled, our largest deals are not only far bigger but there are more of them, and our resource usage is much better aligned. On top of this the main benefit was speed. I’ve no doubt this is what delivered a quicker return to the business.”

Enough said.


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