Our client, a $4 billion provider of data-center infrastructure, asked us to help redesign its go-to-market approach to better understand who the most promising customers were and how to meet their complex needs. Our work helped reverse a downward revenue trend from a 10% decline to a 10% rise, and the company reduced its cost of sales by more than 100 basis points.
For companies that supply equipment and services to data centers, recent tectonic shifts in the digital ecosystem present both a threat and an opportunity.
The primary challenge for Data Center Co* (DCCo) was determining how to pivot away from traditional enterprise customers toward the cloud service providers that are driving a structural change in the market. Growth segments included both colocation facilities (serving multiple customers) and the “hyperscale” facilities fueling the growth of the public cloud. Among other things, our Commercial Excellence X-ray diagnostic tool revealed that DCCo needed to align its sales capacity, capabilities and investment with these segments and their more sophisticated buying practices.
We deployed our proven Market Opportunity Definition solution to give DCCo a much sharper view of its customers’ potential spend across a number of product and service categories. Our analysis developed a bottom-up view of the true opportunity at each individual customer in the market and ascertained DCCo’s share of wallet at each account. This allowed us to develop a prioritized set of target customers and to demonstrate to DCCo’s leaders that their addressable market was 50% larger than they realized.
This insight provided the impetus for DCCo to completely overhaul its account planning practices and develop action plans to achieve full potential with each of its priority customers. This meant creating detailed account plans for nearly 100 customers and prospects. It also meant restructuring the company’s sales organization to capture these opportunities. We increased the size of the strategic accounts team by 50% and added newly designed roles for better cross-functional collaboration.
To foster that collaboration, we helped DCCo install new discipline around its account planning and pipeline processes. This included new digital tools that track an expanded set of metrics—not just order history and margin, but also total addressable spend and share-of-wallet data by product category. Companywide visibility into these metrics enhanced cross-selling, motivated sales reps, created tangible goals for sales managers and grew the pipeline of potential new clients.
Orchestrating an end-to-end transformation like this requires an effective change-management program; our Results360® approach supported a successful implementation. The process involved cocreation of the strategy with the team that needed to implement it, building a sponsorship spine of influencers throughout the organization, and creating comprehensive work plans that mapped out every milestone and the people accountable for every action. The new account planning process enshrines winning sales behaviors, leaving reps far better equipped to identify customer needs, engage with important decision makers, and understand the position and tactics of DCCo’s competitors.
In the end, DCCo’s go-to-market upgrade increased its sales opportunity pipeline by $300 million in a $2 billion business unit and increased the active pipeline by 40%. A downward revenue trend reversed from a 10% decline to a 10% rise, and the company reduced its cost of sales by more than 100 basis points.