Dupont Textiles and Interiors (DTI) approached Accordence through our partner, Miller Heiman, for a comprehensive negotiation program to address the needs of their Apparel Division sales and marketing teams. DTI was preparing to be spun out of DuPont as an independent subsidiary, and this change, along with ongoing market pressures, highlighted a need for enhanced negotiation skills to maximize the effectiveness and profitability of the new independent company.
DTI's sales and marketing people are responsible for both front-end product sales and pull-through marketing efforts for powerful DuPont brands such as Lycra®, Tactel®, Coolmax® and Cordura®. They faced increased competition from generic brands in all markets, and increased price sensitivity from their buyers, the weavers and apparel manufacturers of their regional markets. At the same time, DTI perceived opportunities to leverage their brand strength, market access and market research capabilities for both their direct-to-customer markets as well as at the retail/consumer interface. Finally, DTI Apparel sought a common set of sales and marketing principles globally to drive their message consistently to their customers and demonstrate a “market-back” sales strategy. Negotiating strategically emerged as a key component of that message.
DTI is a global business with four regional offices in, North America, Europe, South America, and Asia. The Apparel Division sought a single negotiation approach that could address challenges the teams faced in all regions, despite local differences in culture and negotiating style. Further, each region desired facilitators with local knowledge and language capabilities to minimize the cultural limitations of a centrally developed negotiation program.
Accordence and Miller Heiman worked with DTI to address several issues central to the company with a global rollout of the negotiation programs. Together we:
A critical challenge was to provide locally knowledgeable facilitators with local language capabilities. Accordence tapped several contract consultants to facilitate in the South America and Asia/Pacific regions with appropriate language capabilities and local business knowledge. We worked with DTI to get the facilitators for all regions up to speed on DTI's goals for the programs as well as the local challenges the company was confronting.
Over several months, the negotiation workshops were rolled out across the globe. In individual sessions, participants created best practices strategic approaches to their negotiations challenges, which were collated and added to the company's intranet for ongoing learning and reinforcement. Within and among all regions, based on Accordence's ICON Negotiation Framework, participants adopted a common approach and vocabulary for negotiations that enhanced their ability to address comprehensively the company's global strategic negotiation needs.
Following the global rollout of these workshops, Stacy Fischbach, Training Director and a key sponsor of the program, had this to say about the program: “The difference with this training initiative was how well the learnings were integrated into the business. Leaders, managers, and individuals understood what was expected, learned new skills and how to integrate them, and then were held accountable. As training managers we talk about this but struggle to make it happen as effectively as possible.”
Marco Giancaspro, a program participant in Europe, identified critical lessons and results of the training for him: “I am now looking for creative solutions and have parameters around my organizing process. I am more prepared, and the results show. I have used the tools 4-5 times and have closed all these negotiations successfully.”
From the outset of this program, DTI stressed the need to measure both the qualitative and quantitative results of the program to evaluate their investment in the training program. The first step of this process was the pre- and post-course questionnaire developed for participants and delivered over the Internet. Participant responses showed improved mastery of negotiation terms and concepts, and indicated an improved strategic awareness of their negotiation approach.
More importantly, in follow up interviews three months later with program participants around the globe, DTI identified approximately $17 million in new and additional business that their sales and marketing people attributed to their new negotiation approach. In Stacy's words: “We know that there are many factors that can be attributed to the success of new business but as leaders responsible for solid ROI, we are certain that driving this initiative has given us revenue several times over what we have invested in money and time. The results were immediate!”