Efficiency and predictability are two critical components to growing a sales organization. When Joe Marcin took on the Global Sales role at ClickSoftware, he knew he wanted to improve both. He also knew that the lynchpin to creating a true revenue engine was a disciplined focus on the customer. It wasn’t that Click was unique in its sales challenges. They were the same ones that inhibit many other technology companies. However, it was the widespread, cross-functional commitment to fixing them that differentiated their sales organization.
“The biggest challenge we had was changing the way we engaged with our customers in the field. Before Force Management, our people were eager to talk about our technology and demo our products to our customers, often with little or no understanding of the business issues motivating a customer to engage with us. They wanted to run fast, close deals, and hit quarterly targets. Nothing wrong with that, except we weren’t growing at the rate we needed to be. We were leaving a lot of money on the table,” said Marcin.
The first step to success was to renew Click’s focus on the buyer.
“We spent a lot of time making sure this wasn’t just an investment in sales training. This was an organizational investment to really shift the company. ClickSoftware has been in the market a long time. We build great products and have incredible intellectual property, but the go-to-market engine was always sort of secondary. We needed to make a cultural shift to become a sales-driven organization and a customer-centric organization in how we approach the market.”
The desired outcomes were significant, which meant achieving them would not be an easy process. Coupled with the customer focus, was an overall need for more revenue predictability, “We weren’t doing a great job at predicting the business and that was incredibly frustrating for our board of directors.”
First, Click launched the Command of the Message® process and went through a workshop to drive alignment and led to a global rollout of the Value Framework and methodology. The Command of the Sale® offering ensured the way they were selling was aligned to how their customers buy. MEDDICC gave them an easier way to qualify deals. Then, Click eventually took on Value Negotiation to ensure they were leveraging value in the final stages of negotiation.
The adoption of the methodology was a top-down approach, with every department maniacally focused on how they impact the customer’s business challenges and desired business outcomes. The mindset and accompanying tools and content was embedded into the daily operation of reps, managers and leaders. Marcin and his team made sure the buyer-focused approach was front and center. They’re tactics included:
“We embraced our methodology and really started to think through how we take the elements of the methodology and make it standard operating procedure in everything we do on a day -to-day business,” said Marcin.
The success of Click has come, in part, from a culture of discipline. One that Marcin champions, especially with his frequent use of the term sales athlete - a moniker that indicates the importance of practice and proficiency in execution.
“It took some time, some success stories, and a strong commitment from front-line managers to shift our approach. Our sales athlete’s began to truly focus on asking great discovery questions and making sure they were performing thorough business assessments. That shift made it so much easier to drive value-based conversations and truly understand the size of the business problems we were solving. From there, we could start to differentiate not only what we sold, but how we sold it – and command a premium on our deals.”
Most importantly, ClickSoftware has seen the desired impact and record-breaking results including:
“I’ve done a lot of sales trainings in the past. They all have sort of a half-life. A quarter after the implementation, only half of your team is using the methodology. Then, before you know it, it has worked its way out of the organization. With this framework, with Force Management and the way we’ve operationalized it, the entire DNA of our sales athletes has completely changed,” said Marcin. “It’s added value to me as a sales leader, the other leaders in my organization, our sales athletes and, of course, it’s bringing value to our customer as well.”