“The chief benefits of working with Sales Plus Profit have been the opportunity to get an experienced independent view of our skill-sets, processes and market approach, and a bespoke programme working alongside us to take us to the next level.
As a Chairman, CEO or manager we are often far too close to our own business and people. A clear unbiased external view and gauging our performance against best practice have been invaluable. Sales Plus Profit were fearless yet appropriate in his support and challenge to get us to where we wanted to be.”
Elgin is all about ‘making roads work’ and is the company that runs the national roadworks database. Working with map and navigation companies like TomTom and Google, Elgin also provides a comprehensive suite of tools and intelligent transport solutions to allow local and highway authorities to manage traffic in real-time, communicate effectively about disruptions, and to manage their assets effectively. Elgin spent a number of years building their user base, primarily in the local/transport authorities space, with a freemium business model encompassing a free-to-use public offering (roadworks.org) and a suite of paid-for value-add services (roadworks.org Pro). They wanted to rapidly and efficiently accelerate company growth by increasing market share in their core local government market, while at the same time accessing the new markets of the large utility companies and contracting organisations.
Sales Plus Profit was initially asked to perform a Strategic Sales Review and Plan (SSRP) to look at pre-sales, sales and post-sales processes, as well as the sales team’s abilities and performance, in order to identify practical ways to accelerate growth. A particular focus was on large enterprises, where accounts are multi-site and multi-silo, but where commercial rewards are highest. Elgin were seeking quick wins and actionable recommendations in a number of key areas including:
- Management of sales team and sales processes
- Access to new markets
- Core Value Propositions
- Sales Opportunity life-cycle tracking and CRM procedures
- Upskilling, coaching and training of the sales team
- Recommendations on any further key issues discovered during the SSRP
After completion of the SSRP Elgin asked for a custom programme to implement the recommendations, working alongside the Directors and sales team. The key elements and successes of that programme are detailed below.
- New market access including closing a large and strategically significant 5-year deal with a national player
- Creation of clear Value Propositions for the core products and sectors, that resonate with both customers and the sales team
- Leadership coaching of the Account Managers and Management Team to resolve internal conflict and obstacles, enabling them to work as an effective team
- Creation and deployment of new sales disciplines and processes e.g. Target/Key Account Management planning and execution
- Introduction of Account Manager performance measurement and accountability, including individual and team ‘Actuals versus Targets versus Budget’ monitoring
- Effective leveraging of the investment in Salesforce to create dashboards and reports, that allow the Directors to gauge true sales performance in real-time and make rapid management decisions
- Clear incentive schemes and packages tailored to each Account Manager and aligned with the company’s commercial goals
Highlights Of The Work
Value Proposition Creation
Elgin is fiercely proud of their innovation and, as a technology-led company, they were focused on their innovative service/product features. This meant that they missed opportunities to express the real value of their offering in solving customers’ problems. Working closely with the Marketing department, Steve ran a group exercise to build Value Propositions for each of the key offerings in each of the core sectors and went through every value statement to ensure that it resonated as much with the customers as it did with the team.
Target/Key Account Management Planning
One of the critical features of Elgin’s public sector customer base is its consolidation into larger regional/metropolitan units, where decision-making is complex and tied up in framework supplier contracts. This makes it difficult for Account Managers to properly map and engage with accounts. Account Managers were more familiar with a ‘Single Point Of Contact’ (SPOC) or ‘Prime Sponsor’ approach, which didn’t reflect the complex matrices of both the personnel and their responsibilities, that jointly make purchasing decisions. Through mind mapping and other techniques, Steve coached the team to capture the key customer decision-making and procurement processes. He illustrated how more thorough and careful research on an account could reap much richer rewards, in addition to driving greater efficiency and credibility. Steve also taught the value of tag-teaming within Key Accounts to allow the salespeople and their technical and management colleagues to play the different roles required to ‘crack’ and fully engage with accounts. This built long-term and robust matrix relationships in Key Accounts, that are stronger than the previous reliance on SPOCs, and also allowed the team to negotiate around potential blockage points.
New Market Access
Building on the Value Proposition and Target Account planning work, one particular target account – a huge national player in a new sector – became a pilot case. Steve coached the senior staff, rode shotgun in several key meetings and provided feedback and advice. As a result, the key account was closed with a substantial and strategically significant five-year deal.
New Sales Disciplines and Processes
Elgin had a basic Salesforce pipeline process and it was difficult for the Sales Director to find out precisely which sales stages had been reached and what the blockers were with each opportunity. Steve led a team exercise which resulted in the restructuring of the sales processes and sales opportunity stages, underpinning the process with a BANT qualification discipline – in fact, ‘BANT’ is now very much part of the Elgin company lexicon.
An unexpected, but very welcome, outcome of Steve’s work was his focused 1:1 coaching of the Account Managers and Management Team to resolve internal conflicts and obstacles, enabling them to work as a more cohesive team.
Account Manager Accountability including ‘Actuals versus Targets versus Budget’ Monitoring
Previously there had been minimal individual accountability within the sales team and minimal performance tracking against individual and team sales targets. Elgin now has a comprehensive ‘Actuals versus Targets versus Budget’ tracking system for the company and for each Account Manager. Crucially these new procedures were socialised with the Account Managers to achieve the right balance between creative pressure and maintaining a sense of ‘team’, which is core to the Elgin culture.
Effective Use of the CRM System
Steve and his colleagues introduced Elgin to the commercial value of customised dashboards and reports in managing the company toward its strategic and tactical revenue goals – and in fully leveraging their investment in Salesforce. After a number of productive workshop sessions, Elgin upgraded to the Enterprise edition and immediately started to see the benefits of a clearer management view of the sales operation and its performance.
Motivating and Aligned Incentive Schemes and Packages
Elgin’s traditional means of incentivising Account Managers was geared to a regional market share model. Steve helped re-structure and align the incentive schemes to ensure:
- Everyone in the sales team was aligned with the corporate revenue goals
- Each scheme was tailored to the individual Account Managers and their territory/revenue objectives