I have seen a tremendous improvement in the knowledge and focus on Business Development throughout the organization! More importantly, I am seeing results!”
An IT services government contractor wanted to improve the client relationship and business development (BD) skills of its mid-level project managers, with the goal of mobilizing the entire staff to increase sales. Our work together enhanced the team’s non-technical skills – the so-called “soft skills” – that enabled them to integrate BD into their daily activities. In addition, it fostered bonds among the participants, who became intent on improving communication and collaboration. These engaged employees, in turn, undertook their own internal initiatives to sustain progress and drive more results. A key goal was to shift project managers with a high degree of sales hesitancy into strong relationship managers who could grow the existing business. The VP of Operations said it best: “I have seen a tremendous improvement in the knowledge and focus on Business Development throughout the organization! More importantly, I am seeing results!”
From the outset we integrated action-planning exercises that required the participants to apply the new material and demonstrate progress each week. Completion of the program called for 80% attendance at weekly sessions, successful role-plays, essential assignments and a final written assessment. Beyond the group sessions, we also conducted a battery of profiles to help develop individual strengths and followed up with one-on-one coaching to reinforce concepts and enable each of them to be as genuine as possible when working with customers. Throughout the program, we provided regular updates to senior management on individual and collective progress.
The outcomes exceeded expectations, and the program was subsequently rolled out to four additional teams in part because of its enthusiastic adoption. Participants showed up eagerly for class, produced thoughtful assignments and helped each other so that fully 85% successfully completed the program. They demonstrated a solid understanding of the principles underlying customer loyalty and relationship selling techniques and were increasingly confident in applying those new skills. They reinforced proficiency by sharing examples of success stories as well as collaborating on works in progress. We continue to receive referrals from graduates of this program five years after completion of our work together.