Reinvigorate Corporate SalesA large multinational corporation was struggling to adapt its 75-year-old sales process to changing market conditions. Sales were stagnant, largely due to difficulty attracting new customers.
Rigorous Sales Certification ProgramTo reinvigorate its sales department, the company needed to make a seismic shift in its approach to sales. To facilitate this needed change, the Chatfield Group developed a new, customer-centric approach to sales that took the form of a redesigned Sales Certification program centered on five key components: Territory Management, Business Development, Presentation Excellence, Performance Management, and People Development. By focusing on these five components, and by constantly challenging salespeople to meet and exceed customer expectations, the company was able to increase market share through targeted “go-to-market” sales activities.
Through consultation with management, and by conducting focus groups, process mapping, train-the-trainer sessions, and emotional intelligence (EQ) workshops, Chatfield consultants were able to initiate change throughout the multinational sales force. At the conclusion of the engagement, the client recognized a 53% increase in average sales, a 30% increase in close rate, and a 31% increase in product mix.
Strengthen a Best Place to WorkA top-ranked employer in a major metro area wanted to know what it could do to enhance its already strong corporate culture.
Conduct Employee Focus Group to Identify Areas for ImprovementTo determine how best to fine-tune an already strong culture, The Chatfield Group conducted a series of employee focus groups to pinpoint areas of opportunity. Feedback from these focus groups suggested the need to strengthen communications. In particular, employees said organizational silos were stifling communication across business lines, hampering the ability of employees to build cross-functional product knowledge, and interfering with career advancement.
Focus group participants cited the need for a performance management process so employees could get the feedback they need to improve. And they highlighted their interest in formalized training and development opportunities, adding that managers, in particular, should improve their listening skills to do a better job eliciting ideas and feedback from employees.
Key Focus Group Recommendations
After an analysis of focus group feedback, The Chatfield Group presented specific recommendations to the company, including the following:
- Strengthen Branding & Marketing: Update marketing materials to reflect a shared vision and consistent messages … Build deeper awareness of products and services at all levels…
- Break Down Organizational Barriers: Build cross-functional alliances and teamwork to combat organizational silos that stifle communication across business lines … Expand personal relationships across functions…
- Strengthen Communications: Increase straight-talking business updates from key executives … Create opportunities for employees to connect face-to-face across departments and levels and to offer suggestions…
- Give Employees First Crack at Open Positions: Update the job-posting process to give employees first consideration for open positions … Require that jobs be posted before recruiting externally…
- Provide Focused Training and Development Opportunities: Target leadership development … Provide 360-feedback to high-potential managers … Train executives and managers on listening skills, on providing feedback to employees, and on facilitating employee suggestions … Provide work-flow training to help employees in process-oriented jobs identify process improvements…
- Require Goal-Setting and Performance Reviews Firm-Wide: Hold top executives accountable for reducing organizational silos and for improving communications … Ensure that managers take responsibility for cascading business goals across their departments and for conducting annual reviews with their direct reports…
- Communicate About Pay Practices: Provide employees with clear communications about the company’s pay policies and how pay is linked to performance…
Improve Retention and Strengthen BrandA top-tier accounting & consulting firm needed to gather data on a wide range of employee perceptions as part of an organization-wide effort to change the firm’s culture.
Design Surveys for Employee & Alumni GroupsTo facilitate culture change, The Chatfield Group designed an all-employee survey to gather data on a wide range of employee perceptions. The project included survey design, administration, feedback reporting and focus groups. The attitudinal data gathered provided the basis for cultural change.
In addition, The Chatfield Group developed a customized alumni survey to gather exit information from former employees to strengthen management awareness of the need for culture change.
Eliminate High Employee TurnoverA mid-sized technology company experiencing high turnover among its employees needed to address its turnover issues.
Use Focus Groups to Identify Reasons for High Turnover and Generate Ideas for ImprovementTo determine the root causes for the company’s high turnover, The Chatfield Group conducted a series of focus groups at the firm’s primary operating facilities. The lack of a clear chain of command and poor communications were identified as key concerns. So, too, were the needs to improve employee orientation and to provide training and development opportunities for both managers and employees. After analyzing staff feedback, The Chatfield Group teamed with company management to implement the following six-step plan to correct organizational deficiencies:
- Step 1: Expand Management Ranks – To clarify reporting relationships and improve functional management, the company created a layer of departmental management. Under the company’s revised organizational structure, Department Managers take the lead in communicating with employees on a day-to-day basis, in coaching employees on performance, and developing employee capabilities.
- Step 2: Launch Onboarding Program for New Hires – To increase retention of new employees, the company developed an onboarding program designed to make New Hires feel comfortable and productive in their new work environments from Day One. Hiring Managers developed an Onboarding Plan for each New Hire to address practical concerns of both the new employee and the Hiring Manager. Topics included 1) key people for the New Hire to know; 2) tools of the trade, such as computer log-ins and directory structures, file-naming conventions and reference materials; 3) a review of job basics, including the New Hire’s job description; 4) a “starter” assignment in which the new employee works independently to quickly add value with minimal supervision. To check on New Hire progress, Hiring Managers and HR schedule formal reviews with New Hires after they have been with the company for 90 days.
- Step 3: Strengthen Corporate Communications – A number of focus-group participants expressed the need for more frequent communications from the company. To address this issue, the company launched a company intranet designed to share lessons learned, project updates, job descriptions, job titles and contact information. It developed additional forums for discussion. And it began conducting exit interviews with departing employees to continue gathering feedback about the factors underlying its employee turnover challenges.
- Step 4: Improve Benefit Communications – In response to focus-group feedback about the need for a better understanding of employee benefits, the company benchmarked its current benefit plans with industry standards. During benefit-enrollment periods, it met with employees in small groups to provide them with an overview of company benefits and announce benefit changes. In addition to strengthening some benefit options, the company also began providing vacation accrual information on employee paychecks.
- Step 5: Introduce Performance Appraisal System – To provide greater clarity with regard to performance expectations, the company introduced a performance appraisal system that includes goal-setting, ongoing performance feedback, employee development and coaching. Training managers on setting goals and providing feedback was given high priority.
- Step 6: Provide Training & Development Opportunities – Many employee suggestions focused on the need for better management training. In response, the company developed a multifaceted T&D program that included Quarterly Workshops for Managers covering topics such as Maintaining a Strong Customer Focus, Interviewing Skills for Managers, and Coaching for High Performance. To build its management pipeline, the company introduced a Leadership Development Program. And to respond to employees’ thirst for learning opportunities, the company launched a series of “Lunch ‘n’ Learn” seminars for all employees.