Why do so many Private Equity acquisitions fail? In this engagement, the PE firm had given this large, B2B software company plenty of resources and support along with a long runway to drive results. Unfortunately, their strategy was not working – revenue was declining, the brand was rapidly losing market share, and sales attrition kept ticking up.
It’s common for leaders of sales teams to believe that that a sales organization will eventually succeed if they follow the sales textbook: improve the product, provide a common sales methodology, and communicate and track KPIs. Ultimately, no amount of tools or processes can substitute for the people. In order for a sales organization to win, you have to focus on bringing the right talent on board and build a sales-driven culture.
Lou Gerstner once said: “Culture is not just one element of the game, it is the game.” We at Firebrick believe that companies cannot succeed without a world-class sales team and outstanding sales culture.
After the first five minutes of our initial meeting with this client, we realized that the sales team was not highly motivated, lacking in passion and severely underachieving. The sales culture had declined dramatically while the company had prioritized other elements, resulting in turnover, lost deals and lack of confidence. The sales organization needed a rapid turnaround to get focused, feel empowered and be properly supported.
Below were the areas and some of the results from our engagement:
- Top-grading sales leadership: We focused on bringing top tier sales leaders in quickly. Of the five existing sales leaders, we replaced three of them in the first 120 days.
- Recruiting sales reps: We changed the landscape of sales team by recruiting aggressive, talented software reps with experience in the same industry and strong track records of building and growing their book of business.
- Command of the message: Being able to relay the brand message with strong impact is the hallmark of a high-performing sales team. We provided best-in-class training at all levels of the sales organization to create audible-ready brand evangelists who could clearly communicate to customers in ways that aligned to the customers’ business needs.
- Redefined sales culture: We encouraged a collective sales mentality that was hard-hitting, aggressive, smart and fast-moving. We fostered an environment that allowed the reps to go after every opportunity with intensity and focus, with the rest of the company fully supporting the sales motions.
- Rewarding the right sales behaviors: We implemented a sales management system built on the organization’s strengths and designed to drive both quick wins and long-term successes. Sales was rewarded for new customer logos and ELAs that locked in customer retention.