Sales Strategy & Enablement

Efficient Guide was hired to take on a major challenge at an important business within a $2.3 billion global corporation. The customer loyalty division for the Americas' business had been suffering for several years. Accordingly, leaders sought positive changes to the business several times, taking the business from a fulfillment- and custom-coded proprietary platform model to a creative agency, a business consultancy, and finally, a SaaS-centric model - in the space of ~7 years.

While the latter general direction was set, everything beneath that general direction was yet to be done. The division's SaaS loyalty platform offering needed to be defined and its go-to-market strategy established. Meanwhile, the sales team had pursued 40+ new business opportunities in the past year - without recording a win.

Given the financial pangs the business was experiencing, time was of the essence in finding solutions. The consumer loyalty industry is dominated by a handful of well-known providers. As one of them, the company already appeared likely to be seeing major new business opportunities, so we determined the quickest way to turn things around was to focus on improving close rate through Sales Enablement initiatives.

  • We articulated a new process and documentation for how to process inbound leads to ensure fit based on commonly agreed upon standards.
  • We articulated a new approach to responding to formal pitches. To get better control over messaging and responses, improving both consistency and quality, a centralized team was built to handle responses rather than relying on the sales team alone. This dramatically improved success rates in getting through to final selection rounds
  • We developed a simplified modular system for sales collateral based on a consultative selling model, and provided ample guidance and support on how the salespeople should use it. We also deployed a system wherein a well-trained central team member would work with salespeople to finalize pitches, ensuring good support, good visibility and good compliance with newly-established expectations and standards. Once teams saw how it led to new successes, everyone rapidly got on board with the new approach.
  • We developed prescriptive selling content to empower salespeople (and prospects) with the arguments and information needed to overcome known hurdles at every stage of the buying process. Where possible, this content was also used to attract prospects in the marketing.
  • At the same time, the company also adopted Salesforce. We articulated an approach for tracking and measuring prospects as they moved through the funnel - from Live to Active to MQL, SQL, SAL, and then into a sales-stage system (A2-A6). Our team designed sales reporting, and built a CRM database of 7500 highly targeted regional customer loyalty buyer/stakeholders using various marketing sources and techniques (Paid, Owned, Earned marketing) to attract, engage and capture target audiences. The database made segmentation by location, job category (Tech, Marketing, C-Level, Finance) and industry vertical possible, which in turn enabled the business to deploy tailored communications and content to each persona group. These communications were deployed initially through Pardot, and later through Hubspot, through our guidance.

Did it work? 

Yes. The regional sales and marketing team exceeded sales goals in 2014-16 (a first in 7+ years), and in 2016 drove a 250% YOY increase in technology platform sales, worth over $8 million LTV. Also, efforts are now underway to expand new best practices to EMEA and APAC regions.

In working together on the Executive Leadership team for the Americas, I noted Chris’ willingness and ability to bring new ideas and points of view to the team that helped frame issues and ultimately move our thinking forward. Operationally, Chris’ clear contributions to building our sales and marketing teams’ effectiveness and capabilities was critical to our new business success. As an executive colleague, Chris is a respectful but strong voice, and is a great asset to any leadership team looking for someone capable of contributing strategically while working tirelessly at multiple levels to drive results.
— Marshall Stanton, SVP Operations