Sunday 24 June 2012

Relationship building the key to sales performance

Test your business development and relationship-building skills with this case study exercise from the consulting industry (content loosely borrowed from my own career).

Part 1 - Your brief: What approach would you take to the dinner planned at the end of the case study?
Andrew Turner has recently joined the Board of Telenercom as Chairman.  Telenercom are a relatively new player in the Energy sector with ambitious growth plans backed by investment funds from the shareholders of Andrew Turner's previous company.  A current client of yours, being aware of your interest in the Energy sector, has recommended you get in touch with Andrew and last week he accepted your LinkedIn request.

Andrew was until recently CEO of a UK-based global telecoms services firm - Mystel.  In 12 years he grew revenues and profits seven-fold and built-up international operations by opening offices in Continental Europe, US, Middle East and Asia.  Work outside the UK accounted for 75% of revenues by the end of his tenure.  In addition, he had merged his company with an equal sized partner 6 years ago and led the integration of that initiative plus that of 4 further acquisitions completed subsequently.  From a core base of fixed and mobile network services, the company had taken advantage of IT and Telecoms convergence trends by launching successful media and software applications businesses across its global footprint.

Once Andrew was comfortable that his most recent forays into India, Singapore and Dubai were on a stable footing he moved onto his next pet ambition - to create a similar enterprise to capitalise on the regulatory changes and IT-driven transformation affecting power and distribution companies in the UK and beyond.  He gained agreement from Mystel's shareholders to set up a separate vehicle to invest in a number of early stage entities that could ultimately be rolled-up to create Mystel's energy division.  These minority investments were to be run at arms-length from Mystel in the initial phase with Andrew acting as a co-investor and Non-Executive Chair to allow the existing MDs the freedom to run their own shows while Andrew helped bring the scale benefits of Mystel to these fledgling businesses.

Mystel made its first investment 3 months ago and Andrew is now fully focused on growing this new business.  He has not been a great user of consultants in his prior jobs and Mystel is not a client of your firm.
Your client contact has arranged a dinner for you with Andrew tonight…

To test your approach please contact me on

Part 2 - Your brief: What approach will you take to the scheduled review meeting?

Now let's pretend that 12 months have elapsed.

You advised Andrew on his initial acquisition and integration strategies and you are preparing for a review meeting as you are not currently working with the company and haven't done for 6 months.  You are aware that there were some problems in the relationship during the project and this is the first time you have had chance to pick this up directly. You are also aware that Andrew is ever hungry for growth and has a cash war chest to use to exploit the weaknesses of his competitors.  He is poised to make a number of acquisitions overseas.  One of these will be in South East Asia through the subsidiary he acquired a year ago.  Your firm has done work for this subsidiary in the past too.

Again, to test your approach please contact me on

If you are interesting in hearing how this case study approach can help you and colleagues achieve improve sales performance please contact

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