As America’s business climate evolves, many once-successful companies are finding the need to re-invent themselves—their methods, brands, and sales structures—in order to regain traction and see sustainable growth. In this case study, we describe how we supported one client through a data-driven transformation process. This approach provides insights that other business leaders can use to transform their companies.
Client Background: our client had once been a significant player in a relatively mature industry, but their growth slowed as market forces shifted and traditional methods for customer acquisition and interaction were no longer viable.
This client hired us to analyze their brand awareness and customer segments and then used our results to fuel a multi-year transformation of their sales structure and customer interaction. In short, their $25M investment returned $250M in growth.
Cicero’s Research Approach
To establish solid ground for company-wide transformation, we embarked on a national two-phase customer segmentation analysis. Phase one involved a qualitative study, wherein our analysts met with multiple focus groups in all of the client’s target geographies. Findings from these focus groups sparked a series of hypotheses, and we tested these (as Phase two) in a national sample of nearly three thousand respondents. Finally, we generated focused, actionable recommendations by analyzing quantitative survey results using a needs-based approach to segmentation.
Findings, Recommendation, and Transformation
Our research returned surprising results: we learned that our client’s formerly-successful sales approach had been inadvertently recruiting their least-valuable segment of customers. Seeing a pathway to fresh growth, company leaders asked us to collaboratively build and implement a new strategy for attracting the more valuable customer segments. We supported our client’s sales teams through this massive transformation using the following strategy:
- Field Testing: Though armed with market research findings, our implementation team field tested these hypotheses to ensure true understanding of customer insights.
- Designed Sales Approach: Our implementation team then developed a consultative-based sales approach, designed to better identify customer needs.
- Tools: We then created a series of tools that enabled local sales representatives to identify the likely customer segment of leads, and adjust their consultative messaging to optimize results.
- Pilot Testing: Prior to full rollout, we performed A/B testing across two key markets, refining both the approach and tools available to the sales representatives.
- Field Training: With the approach thoroughly vetted, we worked with the client to customize a phased “I do, we do, you do” training methodology. This style helped local leaders and corporate change agents expertly apply their new skills within 90 days.
- Full Rollout: Finally, after thoroughly testing the methodology and tools, we joined forces with an internal management team to help this transformation gain traction within the company. Together, we rolled out over 240 nationwide workshops and one-on-one trainings.
As our client rolled out segment- and priority-driven selling, they saw a rapid 10-percent increase in price per unit sold and a 5-percent increase in numbers of units sold. In total, our client achieved a 15-percent increase in revenue—gaining a $250M return on a $25M investment. Beyond these numbers, however, our client is now standing on firm ground in this shifting business economy, and they are projecting new growth for their services and products.