As a global consulting and training firm specializing in negotiation and conflict resolution, Accordence® has partnered with many Fortune 500 companies to develop new approaches for their teams that focus on both substance and relationship value. These case studies represent common negotiation challenges our clients have faced and the unique results they achieved, including becoming effective negotiators, by working with the most engaging and dedicated professionals at Accordence.
The American Red Cross (ARC) incorporated Accordence's ICON Framework into their approach to negotiation for their contracts to supply blood products to health systems. In the past, these contract negotiations challenged the ARC to maintain effective working relationships while making changes to pricing structure for their products or to contract language. ARC national leaders sought to equip account managers and regional CEOs with skills to enhance both their working relationships and contract terms with an eye toward measurable, lasting, win-win results.
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.
In February 1996, the San Diego Teachers Association (SDTA) went on a five-day strike. Afterward, union officials and district leaders announced a settlement that ended the threat of labor action but not the lingering hostility. The strike and its aftermath strained relationships at district and school site levels.
The Regulatory Affairs Department at one of the largest and most successful biotechnology companies in the world faced a multitude of negotiation challenges. Regulatory Affairs staff were charged with coordinating the activities of cross-functional teams that research and develop therapeutics, test them, and usher them through the rigorous FDA approval process.
Tripwire, a leading provider of data and network integrity software, needed to train a worldwide sales team selling in 15 countries. The team faced a number of negotiation challenges.
A leading high tech firm was bidding for a crucial outsourcing contract offered by its client, a major automaker. Both global companies were in the Fortune 50 and competition for this business included some of the world's best-known tech firms. Negotiators on the automaker side were known to be particularly skilled and tough, and the high tech firm had formed a huge pursuit team—comprised of scores of internal group leaders—to respond to the automaker's multiple RFPs. The financial stakes for the high tech firm were extremely high; this enterprise client represented a huge investment, and the size and complexity of the business presented the firm with both tremendous opportunity and risk.
The high tech firm needed help pulling off this critical major account negotiation. The company realized that external negotiation skills would be only one success factor; an internal negotiation approach the pursuit team could use to determine which RFPs to pursue, communicate and strategize effectively among themselves, negotiate assertively yet in a manner that would maintain the client relationship, set the stage for future re-negotiations, and more would be just as important to the firm's bottom line.
The Accordence negotiation model and process is ideally suited to the high-stakes, high-level negotiations required by enterprise accounts—because it gives teams a shared, proven negotiation framework they can use to guide their negotiating approach, assertively win the right business, and sustain profitable client relationships after the deal.
For the high tech firm, Accordence created highly customized versions of its flagship Just Negotiate learning program, and trained pursuit team members and service consultants around the world. First, Accordence worked closely with pursuit team leaders to understand the precise situation they faced, including the differing negotiating styles of the firm and the automaker, how the pursuit team communicated with each other and with other key firm players, and internal challenges the pursuit team might face in determining the point at which it would walk away from business.
Using these and other insights, Accordence developed a version of the interactive Just Negotiate program customized to the firm's current challenge. Just Negotiate gave participants an overview of the Accordence negotiation approach, then challenged them to use it during tailored scenarios to delve deeply into particularly difficult client situations. The program pushed participants to better understand their own negotiating style, for example, a need the firm had identified. This helped participants learn how to deal with key players whose negotiation styles were unorthodox and difficult to counteract—situations that might be encountered during negotiations with the automaker.
The high tech firm's bidding challenge points out the importance of having a strategic process driving internal negotiations, which were in some ways as dramatic as those with the automaker. Even though pursuit team members were all highly skilled before the training, the size and scope of these negotiations required the entire team to be coordinated around a team strategy. The Accordence training delivered what the group had been lacking: a consistent framework for negotiation decision-making, and a shared vocabulary for talking internally (and with the client) about key challenges. Similarly, negotiation success at the large account level is often less about money and more about the scope of resource commitment and the ability to handle multiple scenarios. Just Negotiate gave pursuit team members—some focused on profitability and some on market share—a way to coordinate and be sure they were pursuing the right kind and amount of new business given the firm's other client commitments.
Scores of pursuit team members learned the Accordence methodology, as well as technical personnel who were both involved in the RFP responses and would be part of delivery teams.
Using the Accordence approach to negotiation, the high tech firm achieved these highly significant business results:
Accordence has continued to partner with the high tech firm to provide negotiation training, consulting, and coaching for several of its business units in the U.S., Asia, and Europe.
Vice Presidents at one of the foremost global IT consulting firms brought us their negotiation challenges and a goal of implementing a consistent negotiation approach for the firm's entire consulting staff. The firm had undergone an international merger, and these VPs identified negotiation as a core competency for the new organization.
In early 2007, one of the largest US magazine publishing companies faced eroding profits in a shrinking market. Competitors were able to target more customer demographics due to quicker transitions to internet marketing & sales approaches, and more specific niche titles. The publishing company was playing catch up in creating web portals for its titles to increase web advertising and generating more sophisticated subscriber data to allow for more targeted marketing of customers.
A medical equipment division of one of the world's largest publicly traded medical products companies needed to improve its gross margin. After completing an analysis of the business issues, executives concluded that one of the areas responsible for the decline was the sales team. While the sales team was highly skilled in the capital product they sold and had an impressive record of past sales successes, over the past few years the market had begun to mature.