World leader in hydraulic components and electronic controls Creating a proactive mindset with ambitious goals

Industry: Manufacturing and Engineering

Expertise: Rapid Results

Schaffer Team: Robert Schaffer, Jonathan Stearn

New product was launched ahead of competitors in a way that used short-term results to build a strong foundation of success.

A game-changing solution requires an enhanced launch effort

A world leader in hydraulic components and electronic controls, had commissioned a team to develop a new, game-changing solution leveraging telematics technology. Over the course of eight months, this small, focused group investigated market needs, found a technology partner, and developed a market-ready solution embraced by several pilot customers. At this stage, they were ready to launch the solution. They realized that telematics was a new offering not only for customers, but also for internal sales people. It would take new skills and mindsets for account managers and sales development managers to successfully sell the solution. To add to the pressure, the company knew that competitors were developing their own telematics solutions and were eager to be first to market to capitalize on the significant telematics opportunity.

Rapid-cycle, results-focused projects drive focus, energy, urgency, and commitment among the sales force

The company engaged Schaffer Consulting to help them design and carry out a series of Rapid Results projects that delivered meaningful sales in the short term, while also building sales people’s capabilities and learning more about market needs so the initial telematics solution could be further enhanced.

First, Schaffer organized a one-day workshop with the telematics core team and key sales leadership team members to orient them to the Rapid Results method and to identify the most compelling opportunities to tackle right away. The group agreed to target four customer segments:

  • Small distributors
  • Large distributors
  • Specialist/Large OEM’s
  • Rental Companies

Schaffer helped the group scope each of these projects, draft initial 100-day goals aimed directly at important business outcomes (e.g., unit sales, recruitment of reference customers, etc.), and identify project sponsors and team leaders.

After the workshop, Schaffer helped each sponsor and team leader select team members and organize formal project launch sessions where the teams refined the initial goals, developed work plans to guide their achievement of their goals, and agreed on how these temporary, cross-functional teams would collaborate through the course of the 100-day Rapid Results projects.

Schaffer supported each team throughout its project and conducted weekly sponsor check-in sessions. We also organized formal Mid-Point Review and Final Review sessions as a chance for teams to report out to leadership what they accomplished and learned, and to share their recommendations for what should be accomplished next to capitalize on the learning and momentum generated.

Teams deliver short-term gains and set the stage for longer-term impact

The teams achieved a series of remarkable and impactful results in only 100 days, as summarized below.

  • Sold “broadly and deeply” (i.e., multiple units to a large number of customers) and generated the largest sales pipeline for a new product in the company’s history.
  • Recruited three OEM’s to be reference customers for the telematics solution.
  • Identified several telematics opportunities with the company’s largest customer.
  • Confirmed they had a highly marketable telematics solution with the company’s proprietary PLUS+1® platform being the key differentiator.
  • Built a solid foundation for sustained success: In addition to the sales pipeline, they trained >300 internal and external sales people, held dozens of customer sales meetings, published three intranet case study articles, and installed several demo units at their development center. And, the intensive engagement with customers helped the company gain more insights into their needs – the company is even better positioned to enhance its solution in ways that they know will benefit customers right away.

Team members and leadership agreed that these Rapid Results projects were instrumental in delivering these short-term results and building the strong foundation for telematics success. One leader contrasted this experience with some other recent product launches: “In the past, most of our product launch activities were focused on providing details about the new product to customers and sales people and assuming that the sales would follow. These Telematics Rapid Results projects created a more proactive mindset. The ambitious goals that the teams committed to achieving became a ‘forcing function’ – account managers took accountability for visiting customers with the aim of selling the solution, and common issues associated with new product launches were not accepted as excuses. Instead, everyone pulled together to find creative solutions and share best practices in order to deliver on their commitments.”

Rapid Results Works

The organization continues to enhance its telematics solution based on feedback captured during these early launch efforts. And, the company is exploring ways to leverage Rapid Results projects to accelerate the launch of other new products.