Historically, group development at IBM had not focused on identity beyond external advertising or individual career planning.
Many of the sales teams found themselves relying on the reputation of ‘big blue’ and found it challenging to articulate how they were adding value in ways that connected with their clients. IBM had been known for excellent salesmanship and the executives we met were highly skilled. Yet, as is the case with many successful, seasoned professionals, it can be difficult to open up to new learning. The GBS consultants excelled at building client relationships but were not so proficient in creating them. Their sales counterparts within IBM had the opposite challenge. Our client project briefs were multifaceted and ranged from unmasking unhelpful behavioural traits to re-framing self belief and enhancing resilence..
Initial engagements involved a series of workshops as part of a senior sales training programme across all 9 lines of IBM business in the U.K. and Ireland. We subsequently supported client engagement initiatives for Transformational Account (T.A.) and International Account (I.A.) executives. Participants in these programmes then asked us to coach and train a number of their intact teams at GBS. We also presented to over 400 of their top sales people at an annual Leaders Academy offsite. Here are some of the specific benefits cited when participants were asked about the impact of their time with us:
- CuriousLeaders helped us build strategic relationships with our customers
- Today we are much better at cross-selling and opening up new opportunities with existing clients and a new range of stakeholders
- Your pragmatic tools enhanced our reputation and demonstrates how to add individual/team value
- We have new skills to balance the delivery of positive client experiences while meeting sales objectives
- Re-positioned key individuals/teams as thought leaders and solutions providers
- Expanded relationships within the ‘C’ suite beyond current stakeholder comfort zones
- Leveraged internal resources so clients can be matched with the right expertise
- Learned how to better manage capacity to open up space for strategic thinking
- Can better set and manage client expectations
- Effectively structure meetings so that active listening becomes a specific and intentional part of the process
- Really helped my team deliver results and manage personal resilience in extremely challenging circumstances