What's different about Sandler and what really gets me excited about bringing it to our sales organization is that it is truly transformational.
Michelle Reynaud, VP Global Systems and Processes, Symantec
Our client, Symantec, shared what it takes to get over a thousand sales reps in a multinational corporation on the same page to improve results.
From Michelle Renaud, VP Global Systems and Processes, Symantec--global enterprise security solution:
At Symantec, we’re in cybersecurity. With 1600 sales team members across the entire globe, we’re in every country out there. We work with JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, 3M--all the Fortune 500 companies.
As the person responsible for all of our sales tools, I looked at the pipeline and pipeline conversions every month. About two years ago, we noticed a significant amount of what I would call fluff in the pipeline. We also noticed that there were some deals that were hanging out there for very long periods of time.
We wanted transparency. We wanted accountability. And we wanted predictability. The CEO wanted to know what we're going to deliver on quarterly, and my boss, the Senior VP of Sales, wanted to say exactly what he was going to deliver. They wanted to make sure the pipeline was truly transparent all the way from a sales rep up to the most senior leader in the company.
On top of that our sales reps were challenged with being able to articulate the entire message of what our platform could do. The CEO wanted to be able to equip the sales team with messaging so that they could say what they needed to say about the platform.
There also wasn't a common language. People had differing definitions of our process-- everything from qualified to commit. There wasn't a way for people to connect across the globe. On top of addressing the sales language problem, there’s an added layer of complexity when you consider that though our primary language was English, there were local language requirements, too.
So how were we going to steer this huge oil tanker in a better direction?
We already really had a strong sales process, but we needed somebody to come in and start to create that common business language. We needed to harmonize the process worldwide in a way that the sales leaders really bought into. So the SVP came to the sales leaders and said, I want you guys to decide on a methodology that we want to adopt.
We picked four top-selling methodologies, then the sales leaders for each of the regions came together and chose Sandler. I’ve been in sales a long time. I've done literally every sales training you can possibly imagine. Some of the sales trainings I've done are Miller Heiman and what used to be called Target Counseling. What's different about Sandler and what really gets me excited about bringing it to our sales organization is that it is truly transformational.
So, my first impression of Sandler was, “Do they really understand our corporate business and our corporate clients?” Then I was introduced to our account manager, and he knew exactly what I was thinking before I thought it. One of the things that was a wow moment for me was I kept asking, “Do you have this language? Do you have that language?” Yes, everytime. They’ve already translated their data and require a trainer who speaks the local language and understands the tenets of what they're rolling out. It’s truly a global company--they know what they’re doing because they have those resources in-country. The methodology exists with the same tenets, but personalized to different regions of the world.
What I also really like about the Sandler enterprise selling program is it actually has like 65 tools. When we rolled out we started with two, so we were able to pick and choose the ones we wanted to draw in according to what we needed as a company because Sandler has thought about all the different behaviors that corporations might need.
Then what’s great about the Sandler methodology is they had additional solutions they could offer to us that would literally weave the messaging into Salesforce in a seamless way. And really, we could have had any CRM system that would allow us to share information where the customer was when they needed it.
So how did we train 1600 people globally? One of the first things we did was have ambassadors in-country. We didn't just train our sales enablement professionals; we trained some sales ops professionals and some senior sales leaders, so that we had people who could be champions of this methodology across the globe. By having different functions involved, we were able to approach it from various perspectives and actually take best practices from each one to create a program that was truly well rounded.
After, we saw fewer deals slip out. We saw real things come through that were expected, and we were able to be predictable. Before, we would have about 12% push out--and the 12% in terms of deals could be anywhere from 30 to 35% of actual revenue. So what I'll tell you is, there was a significant shift in the monetary change in the pipeline, and a significant shift in what closed at the end of the quarter.
My aha moment was when I went to look at the pipeline--it went from huge to a lot skinnier. I got panicked calls from sales leaders. People get so used to looking at that fluffy pipeline, and when the pipeline does truly start to get clean, it makes people nervous because they're used to seeing the big pipeline. But fluff is just something that keeps people feeling good, and it's not about feeling good. It's about really making a difference for the company you work for.