Sales Engineers at an international producer of more than 3,000 oil based products are relied on to advise the best product to their trade customers. However, engineers tended to recommend only the handful of products they knew well, meaning that the customer didn’t benefit from access to the full range.
A truly cross-functional team was formed with members across three continents from Sales, IT, HR and Product Specialists. They pivoted three times before settling on an internal search engine and database that would find the right product for thousands of existing and new applications. Sales Engineers would be able to view the properties of the product range, ratings from customers in addition to internal expert advice about the product they could immediately share with their customer. Due to time saving alone, the solution is set to save the organization more than 11 million Euros per year.
AfCE’s program helped the organization to challenge its preconceptions that business was being lost because they were not responding fast enough to the customer’s requests. Instead, it emerged that it was not speed that the end customer cared about, but a confident and comprehensive sales process which led customers to the most appropriate product choice. By partnering with AfCE, the organization discovered that the reason that Sales Engineers were not recommending new products was because they lacked confidence in its complex product set. Speed and efficiency of current tools such as CRM systems, asking more experienced colleagues, accessing docs in sharepoint and receiving training were secondary reasons for this hesitancy. By focussing on “increasing confidence” at the core of the solution offering, the team was able to both ramp up newer Sales Engineers that didn’t have the years of experience and get the older staff members to start recommending different (better) products. This helped make the organization stand out from the competition and properly showcase its extensive offering.