What are your current business priorities?
One of our business's priorities right now is a further adoption of the Challenger Sales Model. We've been transforming from a product-based sales organization to a solution-based sales organization. It's been a painful journey. To make that transformation complete, we're trying to adopt an entirely different selling methodology, and several years ago we started to embark on the Challenger Sales journey. And, at this point, we're accelerating that journey dramatically, trying to penetrate our entire organization with the Challenger philosophies, both in sales, marketing, and product. So right now that's one of our key initiatives throughout the remainder of this year and into next year.
What challenges prompted you to join CEB?
We found that CEB offered, not just a plethora of data, you guys are fantastic researchers. The data that we get about B2B sales, especially our world which is the technology side of the business, lots of fantastic data and insights there. But I believe, really, one of the compelling positives was the role that you all play in the creation of the Challenger Methodology and your ability to teach us how to teach our staffs how to bring that forward. So I think, as time's gone on, we've actually done away with some of the other relationships we had in favor of CEB. So we continue to kind of converge on trying to consume, I think, as much as you guys have with respects to our sales and marketing initiatives.
Where has CEB had the greatest impact on your bottom line?
There's a combination. On the sales side, we see a definite return on our ability to engage with our customers in a more meaningful way. We have a huge, existing customer base. We're not a B2C group that lives off of a bunch of new leads. We have to deal with a huge group of customers that we've had for many, many years. So finding a new way to engage with them, bringing them commercial insights, teaching them new things, having them engage with us in an entirely different way, was really big for us to advance and grow our business. On the marketing side, to support that sales effort, having the marketing folks be able to create the messaging to support this new way to engage with customers, was equally impactful. I think those two things, in parallel, have been huge for us over the last year, year and a half, especially.
What type of results do you attribute to your partnership with CEB?
First of all, is just the overall improvement in our sales team's capabilities, and that translates, obviously, into new opportunities, deals closed. My team, for instance, is well ahead of sales goals for this year, which is the most tangible measure of a sales team's success. And I see people that have always dealt with things the same way - some of these folks have been with me for many, many years, 10, 15 years - talking differently, engaging differently. They are growing professionally, which for some folks, especially sales people, that's a very difficult thing to do. But to see that as a sales leader is very rewarding.
How do you find value in CEB events?
It's the information. It's the networking capability. Just at breakfast, I just met two individuals that I wouldn't have otherwise met. We, coincidentally, are in similar businesses, so who knows what comes from that. And I look forward to doing that throughout the day here and at other CEB events in the future.