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Increased sales productivity frees selling time and saves millions

A multibillion dollar global technology giant was growing revenues fast, but sales and marketing expenses were growing faster. We looked at where those dollars were flowing, both to the salesforce and behind-the-scenes in seller preparation, and ultimately helped the company simplify organizational structures, save millions in costs, and create better-prepared sellers with more time for customers.

  • Tempo di lettura min.

In evidenza

  • 33% increase in customer-facing selling time
  • 10% reduction in overall costs over initial baseline
  • $20M realized in actual savings
  • $250M potential created in incremental bookings

Intera notizia/storia

The Situation

Despite healthy revenue growth and product portfolio expansion, TechCo* had a problem: sales and marketing expenses were rising faster than anything else. The salesforce had become bloated, and roles were murky due to new layers of product specialists and channel partners who often duplicated the efforts of the primary salesforce.

Meanwhile, as the complexity of the product portfolio grew, some critical capabilities appeared to be missing. For one, sellers struggled to get the training and information they needed when new products came to market, crimping their ability to sell. For these and other reasons, Bain analysis helped reveal that sellers spent less than 25% of their time in front of customers, dragging down sales productivity.

High spending and poor results meant the company needed to make some immediate changes to the sales organization to improve its productivity. At the same time, it needed to take a step back and look at how the organization could better support sellers in a fast-paced and ever-evolving environment.

Sales enablement efforts can turn unproductive time into selling time, moving TechCo closer to benchmark:

Our Approach

As part of a large multi-phase effort over multiple years, Bain's first step was to take stock of what the company already had in place. Our experts:

  • Collected data and interviewed dozens of leaders and frontline employees to understand issues and opportunities throughout sales, marketing and other teams involved with the sales force.
  • Analyzed the total cost to sell, including specialists and channel partners, as well as the costs attributable to each of those components individually.
  • Identified the best and most relevant sales enablement practices within and outside the organization given TechCo's unique and specific challenges.

Facts in hand, we worked with TechCo to develop a strategy to restructure the salesforce that would better balance the cost of each selling component with the revenue opportunities it presented. We also looked at ways to improve the sales preparation process, from organizational design to collateral production processes.

Our Recommendations

Working alongside the team at TechCo, we developed the following recommendations on their core challenges:

Sales productivity:
  • Unlock near-term productivity by instilling a more rigorous performance-focused culture; managing out chronic under-performers and investing in better training for those with potential.
  • With new visibility into costs and returns, ensure GMs align high-cost direct salesforce with highest-return opportunities and better align the sales specialists with the primary salesforce.
  • Re-vamp partner model for the future, redefining roles and incentives around the next generation of products.
Sales preparation:
  • Create a new sales enablement organization to focus on high-value areas for sellers such as collateral, training and demonstrations.
  • Invest in a single online seller workspace to replace the hundreds of portals sellers had to sift through for information.
  • Take a more interactive approach to sales collateral that allows for seller and customer feedback.

The Results

The joint efforts of our experts and TechCo's team resulted in a simplified company structure, lowered costs and it also afforded sellers more time with customers. Together, we:

  • Implemented significant productivity improvements, increased customer-facing selling time by 33% and improved time to revenue.
  • Reduced overall costs by 10% over initial baseline and saved more than $25M in non-sales and marketing costs.
  • Realized more than $20 million in actual savings by changing partner economics and created the potential for $250 million in incremental bookings.
  • Improved seller experience with streamlined enablement organization and better collateral.


* We take our clients' confidentiality seriously. While we've changed their names, the results are real. 

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