Case Study - Agilent Technologies

The Situation

The Group we worked with sold complex computer/instrument systems to integrated circuit and printed circuit board manufacturers. The regional field structure had been successful and this group was one of the top two or three manufacturers in the industry for years. However, their customers began operating more globally and there was substantial pressure to take advantage of low-cost labor and manufacturing in Asia.

The Response

We consulted with the group senior management team to create a shared vision and establish strategic initiatives designed to respond to the new challenges in the industry. Subsequently, we worked with the strategic initiative teams to launch and ensure successful execution of each of the initiatives.

As a result of successful execution and the importance of the initiative to the group, the Global Accounts Initiative became a central part of the groupís way of doing business with global customers. The initiative was expanded to include the groupís field/customer team and business units. We helped them shift their field/customer team & business units from a region and product centric organization to an account centric model. The new organization was designed to respond more quickly and effectively to the needs of the three primary types of customers served.

Given that this was a new approach, very different from the model that had been in place for years, there was a lot of internal resistance to overcome. At the same time that there was a need to shift to the new model, care was taken not to throw out current approaches and organizational structures that were critical to future success.

To respond effectively to these challenges, two new functions were put in place- one to manage the change effort and another to foster new global account skills, approaches and systems. We worked with these functions and the larger organization to ensure successful navigation of the many change issues and help speed the transition to effective implementation of the new model. In addition, other new roles had to be developed and put in place. We helped the field/customer team & business units establish clear roles, responsibilities, rules of engagement and metrics appropriate for the new model and organizational structure to improve global account management and the overall effectiveness and results of the organization.

Having the committed support from the leadership team along with the dedicated functions managing the day-to-day issues were keys to the successful transition to the new model. To be specific, there was regular communication regarding status of the implementation, the importance of the initiative and current successes to keep people up-to-date, engaged and supportive. A skill gap analysis was performed and development plans were put in place to bridge the gaps discovered. People with critical skills were recruited to develop the methods and tools necessary to be successful with global accounts. The compensation plan was revised to encourage focus on global accounts and the use of the methods and tools developed.


The Results

According to the Field/Customer Team Vice President & General Manager...

"As a result of the work done, the group demonstrated superior account management leading to:

  • Increased Market and Customer Share
    • Won significant market share from a key competitor and
    • Took over #1 spot in their industry
  • Increased Customer Satisfaction
  • Enhanced Product Competitiveness
  • Achieving a significant increase in revenue from Service & Support
  • Significantly increased Group Profits"

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"Breakthrough improved sales and management effectiveness as well as worked with sales and marketing to align efforts to increase sales results."
-VP of Sales/ Exodus Communications; now Cable and Wireless

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