To grow corporate sales by increasing market share and yields in a depressed market.
Commencing with the Corporate Sales (new business) division and continuing with Corporate Account Management in the UK: to carry out a comprehensive assessment of current sales and sales management practice; recommend actions to close the gaps and work with each team to close them. Key areas: sales activity management; structured account planning; development of sales propositions and the up-skilling of sellers and managers to communicate the propositions to customers and prospects.
- Increased yields (utilisation, pricing levels and product mix)
- Recognised by corporate customers as the top industry sales team
- Vastly improved sales productivity
- Increase in volumes and revenue
- Significant increases in market share.
Early in his new job it became clear to Paul Wait, Virgin Atlantic’s General Manager UK and Global Sales, that following the impact of calamitous world events in the airline industry there was a need to take a fresh look at how his Corporate Account teams were organised and managed. In order to maintain and improve Virgin Atlantic’s competitive position in the business market, Paul re-structured his sales team into ‘hunters’ and ‘farmers’ as part of an initiative to sharpen focus and improve sales effectiveness. Paul explains: “I recognised that a key source of our competitive advantage moving forward needed to be the salesforce itself! In short, they needed to add more value to the sales process in terms of communicating the real value of Virgin Atlantic to its corporate customers.”
Quantum’s first task was to carry out an assessment of the New Business team. The exercise uncovered a need to develop much clearer value propositions and to equip the team with the skills to communicate them to gain the required levels of customer commitment. Paul reflects: “Looking back, it was blindingly obvious that we were not tuning into the business needs and wants of our customers. We were far too focused on promoting the features of our product rather than the business benefits in terms of traveller productivity, and providing ‘peace of mind’ to enable them to conduct their business effectively.”
Paul continues: “Quantum introduced structured sales activity management to make sure we were doing enough selling, seeing the right people at the right levels, and selling the right services. They also got to work coaching the team — including the managers, so that a revised consultative front-end sales practice was implemented. I was so delighted with what Quantum achieved that I promptly invited them to work with our Corporate Account Management, Leisure and Agency divisions and we achieved similar results.”
Following this, the international ‘VAQSA’ (Virgin Atlantic Quantum Sales Academy) was launched. This has triggered the introduction of Quantum’s methodologies across the rest of Virgin’s territories: USA, South Africa, Australia, Japan, China, Nigeria and India. The impact has been very positive. With a local focus on implementation, the entire Virgin Atlantic sales operation will work with consistent sales and sales management methods and be able to manage global and multi-national accounts on a genuinely international basis. Where applicable. Quantum’s continued participation in real world sales and management situations ensures that Virgin’s sales teams remain ‘consciously competent,’ which prevents bad habits taking hold whilst the continued focus on major account planning across the organisation ensures that new ways of adding value for Virgin’s customers are managed appropriately.
Paul concludes: “Anyone considering embarking on a development programme with Quantum should be aware that their approach is far beyond any traditional ‘training programme’. Be prepared for the discomfort that a behavioural change programme brings. This isn’t a ‘quick fix’ exercise, but rather a continuous programme of driving a process of cultural change within a selling operation and we are now reaping the rewards in terms of vastly improved sales results in a flat market, highly motivated sales teams, and a stream of customer and industry accolades. In fact, I estimate that for every £80k we invest with Quantum, we get an extra £20m in return!”