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Your Business Priorities

 

Sales

Most websites tell you about the company's products. We'd prefer to ask you about your priorities instead. Then we can give you just the information you need to know.

The issues here are all ones that we have significant experience in addressing. Please choose a subject tab, then a business priority from the drop down list above, and we'll give you a few insights into the issue and how we can help.

Of course, if you'd rather see what we do first, you can review our core programmes on the main menu, or you can explore our Capability Building® System under 'Design Your Solution' above.

 

Sales force integration (e.g. post-merger)

The challenge

Combining two different salesforces requires integration at a cultural level, as well as the creation of a common language and sales approach, to ensure a consistent customer experience and mobility within the sales team. Product training will be necessary to encourage cross-selling of the two portfolios, and integration of systems and processes will also require significant support.

Typical solutions

A Sales Academy can provide a great vehicle for driving salesforce integration. Typically we work with our own experts and both sales teams to create a 'best of all worlds' sales methodology. That co-creation process, along with the subsequent training, can build significant cultural alignment, and the rest of the Academy infrastructure keeps it in place. Many of the tools in the 'Connect' and 'Engage' stage of the Capability Building® System can also be used to facilitate the cultural change more directly.

Example clients and case studies

Next steps

  • You can use the Design Your Solution part of this website to think through how you might approach the integration of different salesforces, then download a customised PowerPoint presentation that you can use as a thought-starter with your team.
  • Alternatively, contact us to ask a specific question, or to find out more about our work in salesforce integration situations. Even if we don't end up working together, we learn by discussing real-world problems, so we're happy to share our insights without obligation.

Shift from transactional to consultative selling

The challenge

When industries are created (or changed by a major innovation), many companies find they can grow rapidly without worrying too much about sales process and methodology. If you have the right product, customers will come to you – as early players in the mobile telephone market found. However, as markets mature, it becomes much harder to differentiate on product and service alone. The pipeline becomes harder to fill and win rates fall. For business to business sales (and to a large extent, retail sales as well), the game shifts from order taking to differentiating through the sales force itself. We call this consultative selling, but this is far from a reactive approach. It is proactive, insight-based and challenging where it needs to be.

Typical solutions

Not every customer wants to be dealt with in a consultative way, so it's important to segment your customers and deal with them through an appropriate channel. Fail to do this and you will end up 'stuck in the middle', with a sales team that is too expensive to compete for transactional customers, and lacking the skills to win complex consultative deals.

However, once you know which customers need to be dealt with in a consultative way, Imparta offers a comprehensive solution.

  • Our Consultative Selling Skills programme is aimed at relatively straightforward sales (both field- and telephone-based) where it is nevertheless important to create value through the sales process.
  • Our Creating Client Value™ methodology is at the core of many highly successful consultative field sales forces, from Telefonica to Intel and GE. It has been adapted to – and proven in – our industries as diverse as software, finance, utilities and aircraft engines.
  • Our Selling to the C-Suite programme helps those senior salespeople who need to engage a very different type of stakeholder, often without a clear knowledge of who C-level executives are or what they care about.
  • Our Strategic Account Management programme is designed to give account managers a powerful and (unusually in this field) practical set of tools to create and capture maximum value from your highest-potential accounts.
  • Our unique SEPT™ technology (Sales-Enabled Product Training) can also help to ensure that Marketing and Sales are aligned around the new challenges.
  • Finally, Imparta's comprehensive Capability Building® System provides the "engine" that will help all these new skills to stick.

Example case studies

Next steps

  • Explore our sales curriculum in more detail.
  • Read our White Paper on Creating Client Value.
  • Use the Design Your Solution section part of this website to decide how to embed these new skills (you can then download a customised PowerPoint presentation to use in internal discussions). In general it's worth creating a proper infrastructure for this kind of change, as the issue is a long term one. However, you can focus on quick wins to begin with (training, reinforcement and coaching); add more sophisticated techniques such as accreditation later on.
  • Contact us to ask specific questions, or to find out more about our work in helping sales teams to embrace a more consultative approach. Even if we don't end up working together, we learn by discussing real-world problems, so we're happy to share our insights without obligation.

Compete in maturing industry

The challenge

iss 3 rabbitsWhen industries are created (or changed by a major innovation), many companies find they can grow rapidly without worrying too much about sales process and methodology. If you have the right product, customers will come to you – as early players in the mobile telephone market found. However, as markets mature, it becomes much harder to differentiate on product and service alone. The pipeline becomes harder to fill and win rates fall. For business to business sales (and to a large extent, retail sales as well), the game shifts from order taking to differentiating through the sales force itself. We call this consultative selling, but this is far from a reactive approach. It is proactive, insight-based and challenging where it needs to be.

Typical solutions

Not every customer wants to be dealt with in a consultative way, so it's important to segment your customers and deal with them through an appropriate channel. Fail to do this and you will end up "stuck in the middle", with a sales team that is too expensive to compete for transactional customers, and lacking the skills to win complex consultative deals.

However, once you know which customers need to be dealt with in a consultative way, Imparta offers a comprehensive solution.

  • Our Consultative Selling Skills programme is aimed at relatively straightforward sales (both field- and telephone-based) where it is nevertheless important to create value through the sales process.
  • Our Creating Client Value™ methodology is at the core of many highly successful consultative field sales forces, from Telefonica to Intel and GE. It has been adapted to – and proven in – our industries as diverse as software, finance, utilities and aircraft engines.
  • Our Selling to the C-Suite programme helps those senior salespeople who need to engage a very different type of stakeholder, often without a clear knowledge of who C-level executives are or what they care about.
  • Our Strategic Account Management programme is designed to give account managers a powerful and (unusually in this field) practical set of tools to create and capture maximum value from your highest-potential accounts.
  • Our unique SEPT™ technology (Sales-Enabled Product Training) can also help to ensure that Marketing and Sales are aligned around the new challenges.
  • Finally, Imparta's comprehensive Capability Building® System provides the 'engine' that will help all these new skills to stick.

Example case studies

Next steps

The O2 Sales Academy is a source of competitive advantage for our business - Telfonica O2
  • Explore our sales curriculum in more detail;
  • Read our White Paper on Creating Client Value;
  • Use the Design Your Solution section part of this website to decide how to embed these new skills (you can then download a customised PowerPoint presentation to use in internal discussions). In general it's worth creating a proper infrastructure for this kind of change, as the issue is a long term one. However, you can focus on quick wins to begin with (training, reinforcement and coaching); add more sophisticated techniques such as accreditation later on.
  • Contact us to ask specific questions, or to find out more about our work in helping sales teams to embrace a more consultative approach. Even if we don't end up working together, we learn by discussing real-world problems, so we're happy to share our insights without obligation.

Differentiate vs. competition

The challenge

It is increasingly difficult to differentiate on product and service alone. For many companies, sustainable strategic differentiation relies at least in part on a salesforce that can create value through the sale process itself. Rather than just communicating value, a skilled salesforce creates value by challenging customers to see their issues and solutions in a new way, and by facilitating their buying process.

Typical solutions

Imparta offers a comprehensive system for turning the salesforce into a source of strategic advantage:

  • Our Creating Client Value™ methodology is at the core of many highly successful consultative field sales forces, from Telefonica to Intel and GE. It has been adapted to – and proven in – our industries as diverse as mobile telecoms, software, finance, utilities and aircraft engines.
  • Our Selling to the C-Suite programme helps those senior salespeople who need to engage a very different type of stakeholder, often without a clear knowledge of who C-level executives are or what they care about.
  • Our Strategic Account Management programme is designed to give account managers a powerful and (unusually in this field) practical set of tools to create and capture maximum value from your highest-potential accounts.
  • Our unique SEPT™ technology (Sales-Enabled Product Training) can also help to ensure that proposition training shows salespeople how to sell a new product, not just what it does.
  • Finally, Imparta's comprehensive Capability Building® System provides the 'engine' that will help all these new skills to stick.

Example case studies

Next steps

The O2 Sales Academy is a source of competitive advantage for our business - Telfonica O2
  • Explore our sales curriculum in more detail.
  • Read our White Paper on Creating Client Value
  • Use the Design Your Solution section part of this website to design a change programme to embed these new skills (or reinforce training you have already done). You can then download a customised PowerPoint presentation to use in internal discussions.
  • Contact us to ask specific questions, or to find out more about our work in turning the sales team into a strategic differentiator. Even if we don't end up working together, we learn by discussing real-world problems, so we're happy to share our insights without obligation.

Launch a new product/enter a new market

The challenge

Launching a new product or unlocking a new market poses several challenges for the salesforce. Can they sell the new solutions? Do they understand the new industries, decision-makers and competitors? How can they generate leads in sufficient quantity to hit launch targets?

Typical solutions

You need to provide specifics in the needs of the new market, how to uncover those needs, how your solutions address them, and how to beat the new competition. Imparta's solutions include:

  • Customised versions of our Creating Client Value™ programme (CCV), focused specifically on the new products/services and markets. The programme is designed to fine tune sales skills but also help salespeople to get under the skin of their new target customers' businesses, the value that the new products can create, the typical decision criteria used by customers to choose a vendor, and how you compare to the new competition.
  • Versions of CCV designed specifically for the marketing and propositions teams, so they know what the salesforce needs from them.
  • Our unique SEPT™ technology (Sales-Enabled Product Training), which shows salespeople how to sell a new product, not just what it does.
  • Finally, Imparta's comprehensive Capability Building® System provides the 'engine' (assessments, tools, coaching and measurement) to drive performance.

Example case studies

Next steps

  • Explore our sales curriculum in more detail.
  • Read our White Paper on Sales & Marketing Alignment.
  • Use the Design Your Solution section part of this website to create a focused programme to support the new market entry. You can then download a customised PowerPoint presentation to use in internal discussions.
  • Contact us to ask specific questions, or to find out more about how we've helped clients to drive into new markets. Even if we don't end up working together, we learn by discussing real-world problems, so we're happy to share our insights without obligation.

Deal with sales training that hasn't worked

The challenge

Companies spend huge amounts each year on sales training that doesn't deliver results. Although many sales training companies talk about impact, few really have the resources, skills or willingness to deliver on the follow-through. (One reason is that gross margins on training are much higher than those on coaching and reinforcement!)

Typical solutions

We are frequently brought in to 'fix' sales training programmes that have not delivered value. Often this involves getting managers to coach (which can be a challenge in both skill and will), and driving both the new skills and coaching itself with ongoing measurement. The old adage about getting what you measure was never more true than with salespeople and sales managers!

Our comprehensive Capability Building® System is content-agnostic, so you can use it to reinforce your existing methodology; you don't need to use ours. It is also modular, so you can use just the elements you need. What's more, if you like, we'll train and accredit your own L&D staff so that they can use the tools directly themselves.

Example case studies

Next steps

  • Read our White Paper on Why Sales Training Doesn't Work (and what to do about it).
  • Use the Design Your Solution section part of this website to select the modules that will help you to reinforce the training you've already delivered. You can then download a customised PowerPoint presentation to use in internal discussions.
  • Contact us to ask specific questions, or to find out more about how we can drive the ROI from your existing investment. Even if we don't end up working together, we learn by discussing real-world problems, so we're happy to share our insights without obligation.

Major change in sales strategy

The challenge

Strategies evolve, and we have helped a number of businesses to steer their organisation from one sales strategy to another. In some cases the journey was towards value added markets and more senior buyers. In others, it was to an increased use of telephone sales and account managers to reduce costs in a fiercely competitive market. In both scenarios, the change management aspects were just as important as the skills themselves.

Typical solutions

A Sales Academy can provide a great vehicle for driving a major change in sales strategy, not least because all the different skills involved in the new roles can be embodied in a single competency framework, so people are clear on where they need to develop. Our comprehensive sales curriculum can provide all the training you needs, and the Capability Building® System offers huge depth around the change management aspects of a major strategic shift. In particular, we would recommend that you complete a visioning process prior to implementation, and engage local champions to act as eyes and ears (as well as coaches) around the organisation.

Example clients/case studies

Next steps

  • Explore our sales curriculum in more detail.
  • Use the Design Your Solution section part of this website to scope out a change management process. You can then download a customised PowerPoint presentation to use as a starting point in internal discussions.
  • Contact us to ask specific questions, or to find out more about how we can enable large-scale change in your sales coverage. Even if we don't end up working together, we learn by discussing real-world problems, so we're happy to share our insights without obligation.

Align a global sales force

The challenge

Many global companies have developed through a combination of organic growth and acquisition. As a result, the country teams are often using a wide range of different sales methodologies and tools, with varying degrees of success. This can lead to poor collaboration on multinational clients, lack of mobility around the global sales team, and inefficiency as economies of scale are not exploited and best practices are not shared.

Typical solutions

Imparta has first-hand experience of driving a consistent, best practice sales approach around a global organisation. We coined the phrase 'design centrally, change locally' to summarise the approach that seems to work best. Because there is likely to be some resistance from the local organisations, a degree of co-creation and the use of local champions are particularly important in this kind of initiative. So, too, is strong capability in translation/localisation! For one client we had to translate six courses into 18 languages, which was only possible to do within budget using our in-house translation department.

Example case studies

Next steps

  • Listen to the ESR Webinar on Increasing Sales Effectiveness Across a Global Sales Organization, which included Imparta's founder and CEO, Richard Barkey.
  • Use the Design Your Solution section of this website to scope out how the change management programme could look. You can download a customised PowerPoint presentation to use in internal discussions.
  • Contact us to ask specific questions, or to find out more about our global capabilities and how we can bring your teams together. Even if we don't end up working together, we learn by discussing real-world problems, so we're happy to share our insights without obligation.

Fix a specific sales issue (e.g. win rate, deal size)

The challenge

Sometimes you don't need to 'sheep-dip' your whole sales team through a new methodology. If the problem is with one specific aspect of sales performance, you'll want to fix it quickly, without too much cost, hassle or time off the road.

Typical solutions

Our Bite-Sized Learning Campaigns are perfect for creating a short, focused intervention that still includes enough reinforcement and follow-through to deliver significant results. All our programmes are modular, so the chances are we can create something that meets your needs very precisely. As examples:

  • Cross-selling and Deal Size. The Gameboard tool in our Strategic Account Management programme is ideal for identifying major cross-selling opportunities for your largest accounts. The Value Chain (in both the SAM and CCV programmes) allows you to drill down to the specific cross-selling opportunities and increase average deal size.
  • Pipeline and lead generation. Lead generation is covered in Creating Client Value™, but we also have a range of other modules, including ones on the use of LinkedIn and highly effective training in the creation of referral-based leads.
  • Improving win rates. The Value Map tools within Creating Client Value™ are extremely powerful, and have increased clients' win rates in competitive situations by as much as a factor of 3.
  • Forecasting accuracy. Our customer-centric Buying Cycle provides a far more accurate guide to deal probabilities than the seller-centric models used in most CRM systems.
  • Reducing customer churn. The same tools that can be used to win deals can also be used to protect your existing accounts.
  • Improving conversion rates in retail sales. Our retail simulations are particularly effective in training sales advisers to guide customers through their decision journey, improving conversion rates in-store.

You may also find our Deal and Account Clinics to be of value for 'must-win' deals and 'must-grow' accounts.

Example case studies

We tackle specific sales issues with virtually all our clients in the sales area.  Please see our full set of case studies for more details.

Next steps

  • Read our White Paper on Creating Client Value (which covers many of the key sales issues).
  • Take a look at our Bite-Sized Learning Campaigns – and remember, they can be combined with any other parts of the Capability Building® System. In particular, the tools in Measure will help to drive the impact of a campaign.
  • Explore our sales curriculum in more detail.
  • Contact us to ask specific questions, or to find out more about how we can help you address your specific sales issues. Even if we don't end up working together, we learn by discussing real-world situations, so we're happy to share our insights without obligation.

Digitising sales training

The challenge

Many companies are seeking to digitise their training, both to reduce cost, and to encourage an increased level of on-the-job learning. This can certainly be done, but needs to be done carefully as eLearning and mLearning are generally better at transferring knowledge than they are at building and sustaining skills.

Typical solutions

Most commentators recommend a blend of learning approaches that is known as 70/20/10:

  • 10% face-to-face training,
  • 20% eLearning and mLearning, and
  • 70% social and on-the-job learning.

Imparta has a comprehensive offering in each of these areas, including our class-leading Academy Management System and learning portal, i-Coach. Our simulations also provide a superior form of eLearning.

Example case studies

Digital training plays a role in virtually all our implementations, but it is of particular importance for some clients, including:

Next steps

  • Use the Design Your Solution section part of this website to identify the different learning methods that might make sense for you. You can then download a customised PowerPoint presentation to use in internal discussions.
  • You might also find value in our White Paper: Training Without Travel - Contingency Planning for Flu and Recession.
  • Contact us to ask specific questions, or to find out more about our digital library. Even if we don't end up working together, we learn by discussing real-world problems, so we're happy to share our insights without obligation.

Growing the sales team without hurting your P&L

The challenge

Unless you already have a dominant market share, or operate in a commodity business, increasing the size of your sales team would have a major impact on your growth. The problem is that the cost of a new salesperson starts to affect your P&L as soon as you hire them, but, for many B2B products, they may not start generating revenue until at a year later.

Typical solutions

For many companies, the time it takes for new salespeople to generate revenue is their biggest barrier to growth

Imparta has recently completed a major piece of research into this issue and our thinking is set out in the White Paper Reducing the Breakeven Time for New Salespeople.

Another way to increase the effective size of your sales team is, of course, to reduce the amount of time salespeople spend on non-selling activities. Our White Paper on Time and Territory Managementshows how it is possible to double the effective number of salespeople in your team, without spendin a penny.

Imparta's sales experts and Impact Consultants can also work with you to identify and address any specific issues within your customer-facing organisation that are limiting your growth potential.

Next steps

  • Review our White Papers for ideas.
  • Contact us to ask specific questions, or to discuss the issue of growing your sales team. Even if we don't end up working together, we learn by discussing real-world problems, so we're happy to share our insights without obligation.

Hire better salespeople

The challenge

Hiring good salespeople is downright difficult. Many bad salespeople are good enough to fool you in interviews. And many good salespeople fail to make the transition to your environment. The true cost of hiring a poor salesperson can easily exceed $200k, so this is a problem that's worth fixing.

Typical solutions

Imparta's toolkit for screening sales candidates gives a balanced view of their capabilities. It generally includes:

  • Consulting around desired competencies and characteristics
  • CV screening
  • Pre-interview call (reduce time wasted on candidates that are a poor fit for a reason not on the CV)
  • Psychometric assessment
  • Simulation-based skills assessment
  • Competency-based interview
  • Role-play and debrief (sometimes as part of an assessment centre)
  • Cross-checking of identified issues against references

It may sound a lot, but it's a lot less cost and hassle than hiring the wrong person…

Next steps

Contact us to discuss our approach to hiring the right salespeople for your team. Even if we don't end up working together, we learn by discussing real-world situations, so we're happy to share our insights without obligation.

Protect margins/deal with procurement

The challenge

The extended economic downturn has put immense pressure on margins, made worse by the increased power and skill of your customers' Procurement teams.

Typical solutions

Imparta offers two main programmes to help in this area, though as usual we can 'mix and match' modules to create something that is an exact fit with your needs.

  • Our Commercial Acumen programme provides the core finance knowledge required to understand account profitability and then explores the decisions that affect it, including price/volume tradeoffs, discounting strategies, product mix, account-level costs and 'profit leakage'.
  • Our Negotiating Client Value™ programme is tied closely to our sales methodology and gives salespeople the skills to make tradeoffs to expand the value 'pie', while using strategies like framing and anchoring and concession strategies to ensure a good outcome.

Both programmes include extended modules on Procurement that can be added in if required.

You can also use our Deal and Account Breakthrough Sessions to maximise profits in significant deals and accounts.

Example case studies

Margin protection and commercial acumen are an important part of many implementations, but some specific examples where this has been a focus include:

Next steps

  • Explore our sales curriculum in more detail;
  • Contact us to ask specific questions, or to find out more about how we can help you protect your margins. Even if we don't end up working together, we learn by discussing real-world situations, so we're happy to share our insights without obligation.

Selling to the C-Suite

The challenge

iss 14 ladderWould you like to be selling higher up the food chain, engaging the C-Suite around issues of strategic significance, with budgets to match?

Easier said than done, if your salespeople lack the gravitas, business acumen, contacts and even language needed to engage at that level.

Typical solutions

Our Selling to the C-Suite programme helps those senior salespeople who need to engage a very different type of stakeholder, often without a clear knowledge of who C-level executives are or what they care about.

We can also draw on our modular Leadership programmes to give more depth around specific functional issues at the C-suite (strategy, marketing, finance, people and operations, etc.).

Example clients

  • IBM
  • London Business School exec education progammes

Next steps

  • Explore our sales curriculum in more detail.
  • Use the Design Your Solution section part of this website to decide how to embed these new skills (you can then download a customised PowerPoint presentation to use in internal discussions).
  • Contact us to ask specific questions, or to find out more about our work in helping sales teams to lift their game to the C-Suite. Even if we don't end up working together, we learn by discussing real-world problems, so we're happy to share our insights without obligation.

Create a Sales Academy

The Challenge

academyCompanies spend huge amounts each year on sales training that doesn't deliver results, because it is not retained by the learner. 

Our experience is that experiential learning is much more likely to be retained than traditional 'chalk and talk'.  However, if you want to make a permanent improvement in the skills of your sales team, a relatively small additional investment in follow-through pays huge dividends. 

A Sales Academy is one of the best ways to make sure that follow-through becomes part of "the way we do things around here".  However, trying to create one from scratch is a difficult and expensive process, full of pitfalls.

Typical solutions

Imparta has a decade's experience in running some of the world's best regarded Sales Academies (often linked with Marketing and Service as well).  Our dedicated Client Impact team, working closely with our Client Directors and your own team, make sure that you have the right infrastructure for your business - not too much, not too little. Every Academy is different, but our modular Capability Building® System has all the tools, technology and processes you need to underpin anything from a single intervention to a global Academy. 

We can run the Academy for you (you'll need an internal Academy Head to own the internal vision for the Academy, manage stakeholders, etc., and one or two administrators to support them) or we can train and accredit your own L&D staff so that they can use the tools directly themselves.

Example case studies

We have been instrumental in the creation of many world-class Sales Academies, including:

Next steps

  • Read our White Paper on Why Sales Training Doesn't Work (and what to do about it).
  • Use the Design Your Solution section part of this website to select the modules that could form the basis for your Academy. You can then download a customised PowerPoint presentation to use in internal discussions.
  • Contact us to ask specific questions, or to find out more about how we can help you build a world-class Sales Academy. Even if we don't end up working together, we learn by discussing real-world problems, so we're happy to share our insights without obligation

Embedding a coaching culture

The challenge

Many companies have acted on the significant body of research (HR Chally, SEC, Imparta and others) showing that manager coaching has a major impact on sales team performance. Sadly, many have found that embedding a coaching culture is harder than it sounds, especially if sales managers have been promoted because they were good salespeople, rather than good managers. In one study, less than 15% of managers were coaching to quality and quantity targets, despite the training being very well received.

Typical solutions

Coaching is like any skill; it will disappear if it is not reinforced. So as well as coaching training and tools, we help you to manage the cultural change process, going back to the managers and bringing them along on the journey rather than imposing it on them. We also offer a 'coach the coach' service, observing your managers and providing personal feedback, guidance and coaching. Our Coaching Effectiveness tools also measure when, how often and how well your managers coach their teams, giving you a powerful tool for managing your managers.

Click here for one of our videos on how to overcome barriers to coaching.

Example case studies

Next steps

  • Use the Design Your Solution section part of this website to select the approaches that will help you to build coaching capability – in particular in the Stick and Measure sections. You can then download a customised PowerPoint presentation to use in internal discussions.
  • Contact us to ask specific questions, or to find out more about how we can help you embed a coaching culture within your organisation. Even if we don't end up working together, we learn by discussing real-world problems, so we're happy to share our insights without obligation.

Business Priority Contact

If you have an issue or business priority that’s not on the list above, please let us know what it is! If it’s in our sweet spot, we’ll aim to add a new page covering that issue, and if you like we can send you a link when we post it.

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