Corporate Sales, Publishing Company-Shift to Most Trusted Negotiators in Company

Business Issue
The Corporate Sales Division of a leading provider of technology magazines was facing losses on page rates and other negotiation terms due to pressure from large clients who pushed for unprecedented discounts. Part of the challenge was that account managers were not sure how to deal with threats of “Give us a discount or else” and were uncomfortable pushing back or walking away from a deal. Additionally, other internal divisions didn't believe in the negotiation abilities of Corporate Sales, the newest function that represents all of the books to the seven top advertisers.
With bottom line losses, a weak internal reputation regarding negotiation, and the need to build bigger value propositions with division clients, the leaders decided to bring in Accordence to share a strategic framework and tools for negotiating deals and to provide coaching and practice for enhancing negotiation skills.

Accordence conducted diagnostic interviews with a cross-section of the Corporate Sales division, and used the diagnostics to create a 2-day workshop reflective of the broad array of challenges facing the sales force as well as to develop a customized case study to use during the program. The objective was to make the workshop relevant to the challenges Corporate Sales faced and strategic for effective integration and implementation of the methodology into their everyday negotiations.

The training session resulted in comments from participants such as “Relevant training in an increasingly ‘commoditized' world” and “Good methodology to follow for structured approach to sales strategy and client management with the goal of successful negotiation.”

In less than one year, the Corporate Sales division made dramatic changes in their skills and confidence. 

  • With one of their current and thorniest client negotiations, they were able to sign the contract in record time in the relationship's history while avoiding fall out which had been rampant in years past and even repairing the damaged relationship.
  • Later that year, with another large client, they were able to sign the earliest contract in company history and with an unheard of increase in rates.
  • The integration has been so successful that the entire division uses the tools and methodology for all accounts.
  • Other divisions went from thinking that Corporate Sales folks were lacking in negotiation skills to the most trusted negotiators.
  • The methodology has been institutionalized in competency plans with the policy that no sales bonuses are given unless every account has an Accordence Diamond Planner sheet filled out.
  • A new addition to the Corporate Sales team and a veteran with 20 years experience in the sales field was impressed with the tools and has not experienced other organizations using such a strategy.
  • They were confident that they could meet growth goals of a 2-10% increase for the following year.

Selected Clients