A global manufacturer of industrial parts was experiencing declining growth due to a contracting economy and diminishing technology advantages, along with increasing competition, globalization and sophistication of buyers.
The company faced a clear imperative for change. In order to address these market challenges, it launched a strategic imperative to significantly elevate its selling capability. However, it had historically made limited investment in sales effectiveness, and lacked the experience to execute this imperative independently.
The company partnered with ZS and then determined to focus on achieving three objectives to help reverse its decline and generate substantial growth:
Improve market coverage
Increase the impact of customer interactions
Increase motivation and accountability
ZS worked with the company to develop an actionable customer segmentation, a new sales structure and geographic deployment, and additional roles to better align sales talent and cost with the needs and value of each customer segment, including a newly identified group of strategic accounts.
ZS created a value-based sales process focused on targeting the right customers and realizing premium pricing, along with supporting tools to arm the sales force with winning value proposition strategies and enablers.
ZS also built a talent strategy comprised of new competencies and hiring, coaching and training processes to upgrade people and skills.
Lastly, ZS delivered a new incentive plan, along with new metrics and dashboards, to instill a performance-focused and accountable sales culture.
These efforts drove significant growth that exceeded expectations. In the two years after these initiatives launched, company revenue grew at a 12% compound annual growth rate above plan, driven significantly by market share gains. This growth signaled a drastic change from the company’s historical trend of a flat to declining market share position.
In the identified strategic accounts, which received increased focus as a result of the new sales structure, roles and deployment, revenue more than doubled.
The company also changed ownership after launch, and the seller exited the investment with a 2.6x multiple (a net profit of $340 million), largely credited to the investment in sales effectiveness.