Epicor Software Corporation provides flexible, industry-specific software to fit the needs of manufacturing, distribution, retail and service industry customers. More than 20,000 customers in 150 countries around the world rely on Epicor’s ERP and Business Management software and expertise to improve performance and profitability. Force Management worked with Epicor to improve the sales team's ability to articulate value and differentiation throughout the sales process. Epicor launched the Command of the Message® methodology to its global sales team and put a lot of focus on reinforcing its concepts with both managers and direct salespeople.
Michael Harris, Senior Sales Executive for Epicor’s ERP solution, knew it was going to be an uphill battle to win against an incumbent solution. He and his Vice President of Sales, Tony Alderdice, worked strategically to sell their solution to a large circuit board manufacturing company in Canada, especially against the incumbent Microsoft Dynamics solution.
Their initial discovery session with the Chief Financial Officer uncovered next to nothing, as she was intent on staying with the current solution. However, as Harris did more discovery, he learned that their current solution was struggling with on-time shipments and stability issues.
That nugget of information gave the team what they needed to pursue more conversations and additional decision-makers, despite the CFO’s reservations from switching solutions.
“We were able to build differentiators into the required capabilities that we knew our competitor couldn’t accomplish,” said Harris. One of those differentiators was the fact that Epicor was a direct seller of the solution, not a partner. Because of that, they could demonstrate their differentiation, including the value of on-time delivery and accelerated deployment. Something they knew the competition couldn’t accomplish.
“For my team, the preparation, as unpopular and frustrating as it was, was worth it. Even though the CFO was dead set on not using our solution, we chose not to fall into the product trap,” said Alderdice. “We stood ground. We didn’t give away the farm and expanded the deal to $500K.”
For the Epicor team, it was important to anchor on the value they knew they could provide the customer. The lynchpin for the deal was using their Command of the Message® Value Framework as a base to write the CEO an email.
“We kept it simple and really outlined the positive business outcomes the company was looking to achieve, as well as the required capabilities to achieve them,” said Harris. “We made clear our differentiation. There was a group of people in the company who weren’t happy with us making that bold of a move. However, it worked.”
Alderdice said it came down to the value of their solution. “Even with our seemingly audacious confidence and conviction, no one could argue with the value we were going to provide. At the end of the day, that’s why we were able to outsell the incumbent and win the deal.”
The deal was closed without discounting. Another testament to the Epicor team holding to their value in negotiations.
Although Harris was a sales veteran, the Command of the Message training gave him a new found energy to hold tight to his value in a complicated sales process.
“If I didn’t use the Command of the Message framework, I would’ve been selling in the dark. By using the framework, I was asking questions, pushing the customer to see things they weren’t even considering prior to our conversation,” said Harris. “It allowed me to create a bigger view of the playing field.”
Alderdice thinks this win is just more evidence that the training provided confidence for the sales team, helping them to tackle seemingly tough opportunities.
“The methodology has really brought consistency and alignment to our teams. I know my sales team has confidence that when they identify the right pain points, they are able to effectively demonstrate that Epicor is the right fit. We’re winning the deals that we should win and we’re walking away from the ones that we shouldn’t pursue,” he said. “Before Command of the Message, we were more focused on our product winning the deal. Now, our teams aren’t relying on that feature and function conversation. They’re leveraging the Value Framework to create urgency around an Epicor buying decision.”