The Challenge: winning business in an increasingly competitive market

Our client was an AIM listed construction services business struggling to win business in an increasingly competitive market. The Sales Director, who had been with the business for 20 years, was adamant that his function were doing all they could against the challenges of COVID & Brexit. While the CEO was sympathetic to this view in part, he commissioned Valtus to undertake a Sales Effectiveness study.

Valtus secured our client the services of a very experienced Sales Transformation professional, who worked with our client and a Valtus Partner, to complete a detailed study of the effectiveness of the Sales function and its leadership.

The results were stark. An in depth competitor analysis demonstrated that not only were most performing better than our client, several were gaining market share. Even more tellingly, the market share they were taking was principally in what the Sales Director perceived as key accounts.

The solution: improve staff motivation, win lost accounts, engender new relationships and engage a new Sales Director

It became obvious to the CEO that the Sales Director had to transition out, and our Interim Manager was extended to cover the period of interregnum and, more importantly, to help win back lost accounts and engender new relationships.

The first key focus was to undertake a rapid but detailed customer mapping exercise, which was delivered by the Interim Manager in collaboration with the client’s Sales and Marketing teams. A strategy was created to both win back former clients and to expand the base with profitable new accounts. The Interim Manager personally engaged with all the key clients, while ensuring he involved members of the team to ensure continuity and create opportunities for upskilling.

The next priority was to realign the two core Sales teams, historically NBD and Account Management. These traditional divisions had very little meaning in the existing customer landscape. The structure, and indeed the teams’ compensation, encouraged the winning of new (price based and unprofitable) business over ‘inside sales’ in existing accounts.

The significant customer defection that was evident was principally a result of a lack of love from underpaid, underskilled and demotivated Account Managers.

The third element was to retrain the team and embed the ‘learnings’ of the Interim Manager’s tenure. This was completed very successfully.

The results: 80% team retention, 30% uptick in sales, 50% uptick in profit and a new Sales Director

Our Interim Manager worked with the HR team to create a new reward structure, to emphasise the winning and growth of profitable accounts, and realigned the sales team structure accordingly. 80% of the team were retained, and in the Interim Manager’s final quarter with the business, the new team delivered a 30% uptick in sales and a 50% uptick in profit as compared to the same quarter the previous year.

The final positive outcome was that the new permanent Sales Director came from the existing team, outperforming external candidates at interview. Undervalued and underinvested in by the previous leader, the 9 months spent with our Interim Manager had upskilled her and built her confidence to the point she was the obvious choice to take the business forward.