The Mourne Partership and Sun Microsystems

The NeedSun

Based initial on data gathering carried out by SunU, our recommendations focused on the specific priorities highlighted by the internal consultants. There was a perception that morale of the focus team could be improved, moving their mindset towards one of pride and satisfaction in achieving in the exciting and challenging role of new business sales.

In the sales arena some members of the team will thrive. It is evident that they have a different approach that, if fully explored and modelled, would benefit the whole of the sales force. We understood the need to identify the specific differences between these individuals and the remainder of the sales force, with the focus on ensuring that their skills, attributes and competencies could be replicated in others, and so increase the business generated across the sales teams.

We were also advised of the need to lift software sales to ensure targets are met. It was observed that, in the majority of cases, the level of client engagement is focused at the IT Director and below, rather than elevating conversations to those who had business issues. There was also a requirement to maximise the access and reach into client accounts, both existing and new, through partner channels, as well as leveraging the complimentary capabilities of Sun and their partner base to ensure delivery of a complete value proposition and solution to the end customer.

Phase One

Mourne proposed to modify our modelling process to ensure a complete fit with the sales process used within Sun EMM sales. We required a high level overview of the EMM sales process to ensure that our interview questions focused on the specific components of
this process.

Phase Two

We then required access to Sun’s pre-defined exemplars to conduct one-to-one interviews with them all. Mourne’s preferred method is to deploy two consultants to ensure maximum capture of information. Each interview took a minimum of two hours, with our consultants writing up findings post interview. These interviews were conducted at Sun’s UK office locations to minimise down time of the sales staff.

We recommended that we modelled 6 of the exemplars identified by EMM Sales
Management. This increased the applicability of the final model to all business sectors and, as with any sample, the greater the number the more robust the findings. We also recommended that interviews were conducted with a selection of two taken from the team that are perceived in the top 50% but are not on the exemplar list. This enabled us to compare the model of the exemplars to those not achieving the same high level of performance, as well validate the modelled components and provide valuable indications of areas for coaching and development.

Phase Three

Once phase two was completed, we constructed a working model which was tested and observed in ‘real world’ situations. During our preliminary discussions we raised client facing observation as an ideal test bed for the emerging model rather than artificial ‘role play’ situations. This was well received in previous engagements and perceived as an ideal message to send to Sun’s clients as an example of the organisation’s commitment
to both its employees and to its client relationships. This is a proven means of testing the model in the most important environment – the sales call. Rather than observe all interviewed exemplars, Mourne only required four (3 x exemplars and 1 x other) of the original number during this observation and validation phase. Mourne again deployed two
observers for each event.

Phase Four

The focus of phases two and three were on the gathering of information to enable the construction of a robust formal model. Phase four involved the building of a formal model that was trainable and transferable based on the findings from the first two phases. Once this was completed we presented this back to all interested parties within the organisation.

Post Modelling Activities

With the model complete, the follow-on task was to instil the components of the model in the sales force and enable coaching from the management and peer level to ensure application of the modelled behaviours. Rather than just copying someone else’s model it was important for each individual to ‘try on’ the model and customise its components to fit them. There were a number of options to this post model phase, with the pit-stop method (short focused events) being our recommended approach.