Sales, customer relations, customer and client analysis, customer attitudes, preferences, customer relationship management, service profit chain, customer retention, personal selling, sales cycle, customer acquisition, sales closing, sales force management, sales management, collapse section sales systems, business to business, direct sales
Around 6:00 p.m. on May 31, 2007, Urs Müller and Christoph Burger from ESMT European School of Management and Technology were getting prepared for the presentation. In about an hour they would present their proposal for an executive education program to the CEO of Energie aus Deutschland Systems (EAD Systems) and two of his senior HR managers. Sitting in the lobby of a hotel in western Germany next to the main entrance of the EAD Systems headquarters, Urs recalled the pitching process by scrolling through his notes. ESMT’s pitch to EAD Systems describes the efforts of ESMT European School of Management and Technology to acquire EAD Systems as a client for an executive education program. The case study comprises two parts, A and B, which allow comprehensively reviewing sales management in a professional services firm.
1. Understanding tender processes from the seller’s perspective: The case illustrates the typical process responding to a tender by putting together and proposal and presenting it to a B2B client, in this case a tender for executive education support of a company by a business school. As this particular process is largely in line with the tender process of other professional services such as consultancy, legal advice or auditing etc., the case can also be used to help students understand how professional service firms acquire business. To a lesser extend the case can be used to draw parallels and learnings for other B2B service offers, e.g. maintenance, complex solutions etc. 2. Understanding success factors for selling in tender processes: Beyond a mere description of the proposal process, the case helps students understand how to successfully structure a proposal process and which pitfalls are on the way. Hereby, students may improve their personal selling and sales management skills. 3. Managing the sales force: The case also allows to discuss the role of sales managers in leading sales people, especially with respect to the question of how they can get the best out of their people and what they can do to support them in their proposal and client management efforts. 4. Client management and retention: And finally – and possibly most importantly – the case sheds some light on the interconnection of winning clients on one side and managing and retaining clients on the other side.
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