The entry of new competitors around the globe led to significant margin pressure and decreasing price points. The leadership team realized that Ansell would need to reinvent its positioning or continue to be displaced by competitors or win lower- margin business.
Establish Ansell as a solutions provider and partner to customers
Ansell decided to make a complete cultural shift in how customers were engaged. They realized that their organization could provide ‘best practice insight’ on hand protection and take price off the table by focusing on business impact. This was a strategy that could truly differentiate Ansell from the competition.
Engage customers at the GM level
The new positioning was particularly focused on business issues that would be important to a General Manager. The sales organization would need to gain the confidence and ability to engage at that level.
Drive lasting behavioral and cultural change
A successful outcome would depend on full adoption of new selling behaviors, messaging, processes and tools.
Improve sales productivity
A critical success factor was to shift sales force’s focus to the right opportunities where the solutions approach would resonate. By ensuring sales time and energy was devoted to the right opportunities, average sales productivity should increase.
“We knew we had to differentiate ourselves from a growing list of competitors, and the way to do that was to position ourselves as “best practice experts” where we really were becoming the customer’s partner and a valued solutions provider.”
Ray Morris, Director of Sales Development
Ansell engaged DSG to lead a two-year transformation of the sales organization with a primary focus on 5 areas:
A repeatable Solution Selling Process and associated sales practices that fit the unique realities of Ansell’s new engagement strategy, products, customer segments, and competitive environment
A Sales Leadership System for how sales managers coach to the new strategy, reinforce new positioning, an drive adoption of new processes and disciplines
A Sales Messaging Playbook that provides the field with practical sales conversation content and tools for engaging customers as ‘best practice experts’ (what to know, what to say, what to ask, what to show)
A Sales Development Framework consisting of customized training, competency models, and assessment tools for equipping existing and new team members to execute the Ansell strategy
Ongoing Reinforcement and Change Management activities to ensure the strategy, messaging, processes, and overall culture are fully institutionalized
The DSG process included a number of deliverables and interventions that especially contributed to differentiating Ansell and accelerating progress in the field:
Creation of a whiteboard tool that the sales organization used to lead GM-level conversations focused on hand protection, cost drivers, and business impact. Every salesperson mastered the art and science of leading an interactive conversation on a whiteboard, flip chart, or legal pad.
Development of a sophisticated cost model around hand protection best practices to enable the sales team to engage as advisors. Every salesperson learned how to use insight ad real data to explain the actual cost of cheap gloves in terms of lost productivity and injuries. The sales force gained a whole new mindset on customer engagement that could not easily be replicated by the competition.
Enablement of the sales management team to drive lasting change at the sales execution level. Managers were equipped with a Coaching Playbook for how their individual coaching conversations would drive tangible results in building pipeline, developing accounts and winning new business.
“Sales management is the key to the whole process and driving cultural change. DSG helped us develop the discipline of driving change through a cadence of sales review meetings. Our managers shifted from operating as ‘super reps’ to engaging their sales teams around best practices, territory strategies, building solutions, and adding value in customer conversations. It’s the weekly and monthly reinforcement that drives that cultural shift.”
Bob Gaither, VP N.A. Sales
Ansell’s industrial division moved from being the laggard of three divisions to the most profitable – contributing the most EBITDA to the business within approximately 18 months. Despite increased competition, Ansell maintains healthier margins than their peer group with an estimated premium of 5 – 7 percent based on the added value Ansell delivers to customers. Additionally, the company increasingly gains executive level customer meetings to present a comprehensive value proposition that clearly differentiates Ansell in the marketplace.
“DSG became our partner in moving the business a significant step forward. We knew the factors that were putting pressure on our business and where we needed to go, but DSG helped us get there faster and make the results sustainable. Over the years, we’ve come to really appreciate DSG’s flexible platform for sales enablement which we’ve been able to evolve as our market conditions continue to change.”