For more than three years in a row, Adobe’s Strategic Accounts Sales Team has met or exceeded its aggressive annual sales goals by applying the Value Selling Account Management® (VSAM) sales methodology. In 2013 Adobe began a major business model shift to transition from making boxed software to providing cloud-based platform solutions that allow customers to make, manage and measure content seamlessly. This change in focus spurred a shift from “product” sales to selling fully integrated digital marketing platforms, and from transactions to long-term strategic partnerships.
Follow Adobe’s journey with ValueSelling as they partner with customers and tap into opportunities by increasing satisfaction, relationships and loyalty.
ENGAGING THE CREAM OF THE CROP
To enhance these relationships, Adobe had to establish itself as a leader in digital marketing, evolving from selling solutions to partnering with customers and solving their business challenges. Robbie brought in Rick McAninch, Senior Partner of ValueSelling Associates, to help address the challenges:
- Aligning the Organization: The key to success was to employ the same terminology, approach and methodology throughout Strategic Accounts and other areas of Adobe.
- Shifting to a Value-Based Approach: Adobe had become a technology leader using a feature/function sales approach that targeted the middle of an organization. With a broader platform and message, Adobe wanted to adopt a value-based, customer focus, which required selling much higher, using the language of senior executives and approaching them as a partner.
- Catering to an Array of clients: Adobe needed a sales methodology that catered to a wide range of customers—from large to small—with a baseline of simplicity that could accommodate complex and sophisticated deals.
Adobe’s entire management team agreed that the ValueSelling sales methodology was the solution. Rick and his team of Associates started with the Strategic Accounts team. Robbie saw incredible results by applying unrelenting rigor and management accountability with ValueSelling.
CREATING AN ‘A-HA’ MOMENT
The enablement team, led by Krista Ducey, Director of Worldwide Field Enablement, scaled the success by sharing success stories of how Strategic Accounts put customers first and, subsequently, grew the company’s biggest opportunities. Throughout the Adobe ecosystem, the proverbial light bulbs were going on, as field management and business unit leaders recognized the opportunity to implement Value Selling across the global organization.
Enablement then set its eyes on message consistency. If the collateral developed for the field was product-centric and lacked value messaging, then the momentum and field success with ValueSelling would be undermined.
We see the greatest ROI when our field managers and their teams fully embrace the ValueSelling Framework in their day-to-day business. Incorporating the methodology and tools into how they run their business, and how managers coach and manage their teams, ultimately drives customer value realization and success.
Director, Worldwide Field Enablement, Adobe
Krista secured management buy-in and funding to have the business units learn the ValueSelling Framework based on the premise that a common value-based approach, terminology, methodology and account planning process implemented in their messaging, collateral and training would ensure a seamless customer journey.
Now, ValueSelling is infused into nearly all field facing programs, sales collateral, field communications, best practice spotlights, training and skills development to drive field discipline and reinforcement of a value-based customer approach.
Adobe Reinforces ValueSelling At All Levels Throughout Global Field Organization
New reps are trained on the ValueSelling Framework early-on, improving onboarding time. Adobe secured Rick’s consulting expertise to work one-on-one with sales reps on opportunity assessments, big deal reviews and role playing, and sales managers on coaching and management.
The sales team knows that completion of the ValuePrompter®, a practical 6-box tool that facilitates customer dialogue, is the gateway to obtaining more sales resources. As part of the daily cadence, reps use Mutual Plan letters to pinpoint holes in the sales conversation and how to address them. And they use the Qualified Prospect Formula™ to qualify faster and improve forecast accuracy.
MEASURING AND SCALING
Three years of data on the ValueSelling Account Management approach has resulted in impressive metrics. For example, in the North America Strategic and Vertical Accounts team in FY 2015 alone:
- 16 of Adobe’s top 20 deals were from Strategic and Vertical Accounts in North America.
- The VSAM-approach to Financial Services/Insurance customers resulted in a 318% increase in qualifying Strategic Accounts.
- Average number of solutions sold per customer increased from 3.0 solutions to 3.4.
As Adobe infuses its ValueSelling sales strategy and account management process into every piece of the business, the ValueSelling methodology continues to guide Adobe to ever-greater achievements.
Rick, specifically, made a big difference. We consistently get feedback from people who have done many different types of sales training. The professionalism and approach of Rick and the Associates he brought in is what made it click.
VP, Strategic and Vertical Accounts, NA Adobe
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