Identifying and meeting customer needs more effectively thanks to a professionalized sales approach
ABB is an international leader in energy and automation technology. The company is present in over 100 countries and employs around 147,000 employees, 6,000 of which are in Switzerland. For more than 130 years, ABB has maintained a consistent focus on technological advances and innovation. Today ABB is decisively shaping the digitization of the industry and offers two clear value propositions: reliable energy supply and a broad range of electrification and automation solutions for the industrial sector.
As a leading international company in energy and automation technology, ABB has specialized in efficient, environmentally friendly solutions. However, working together with customers posed a growing challenge due to two factors: increasing pressure from global competitors and the complex array of products and services on offer requiring competent consultation. ABB recognized that adopting a holistic approach to sales would play a critical role in improving this situation. The company defined the development of its own sales operations as a key success factor. The aim: to serve global and national key accounts as well as smaller regional customers in an effective and efficient manner. To help make this goal a reality, ABB has been working together with the Institute of Marketing (IfM) at the University of St.Gallen as well as the Center for Industrial Marketing (CiM) for many years.
Numerous proven concepts developed by the Institute of Marketing – such as the St. Gallen key account management (KAM) concept, value-based selling, and sales excellence – provided a substantial basis for the project. Management narrowed down the areas of action needed to optimize the company’s sales approach and identified measures for how to equip employees. In concrete terms, this meant biannual management workshops, in-house training sessions, and workshops for employees at the ABB University. As the company’s internal training program, the ABB University hosted these workshops with the goal of creating a uniform customer management across business units and countries.
ABB is now more successful in adapting to dynamic market conditions, recognizing changes in customer needs early on, and bringing the company as a whole closer to the customer. The company was able to enhance understanding of customer demands throughout the entire organization – not just in the sales department – by raising awareness among the sales team and creating a stronger focus on the customer. ABB invests in its employees through training and continuing education, thereby making it easier to increasingly generate added value for its customers. Today there are regular discussions taking place in internal meetings and customer workshops about ideas for new initiatives and services that can strengthen ABB’s competitiveness. The sales team now has a better understanding of the needs of their customers, which improves the quality of their interactions and strengthens overall customer retention.
|Thanks to the cooperation, we were able to develop science-based sales initiatives to professionalize our sales force effectively across all divisions. Today we are able to inspire our customers with a consistent sales approach while responding to their individual needs.
Max Wüthrich, former Head Account Management & Customer Segments