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// Client Success Stories

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff

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Global engineering consultancy creates a business development culture and improves sales performance.

Client: WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff
Industry: Environment and Energy Consulting
Services: Sales Consulting, Sales Performance Improvement Assessment, Sales Training
 

Challenge

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff is a top 10 global consultancy specializing in environmental, sustainability, energy and health and safety issues. As part of WSP Group plc, a global design engineering and management consultancy, they help their clients manage risks, reduce costs, and create competitive opportunity in their markets.

Under the leadership of its established senior professionals, the large U.S. business unit had developed a strong service platform with diverse offerings. The group knew that significant growth potential existed -- to extend existing client relationships, build new ones, and grow revenue.

As is commonly the case in consulting practices, WSP relied on a seller-doer model where the environmental professionals who delivered services were also responsible for business development.

"Our clients are generally environmental, health and safety managers who are energy and sustainability professionals," says John Simon, Executive Vice President. "They're engineers or scientists. They expect us to bring them technical solutions as part of the sales process. They generally don't expect to see a salesperson who is not selling a service as a trusted advisor."

The challenge was how to put a structure and process in place to drive and sustain business development success in a firm with a relationship-oriented sales process and a long sales cycle.

 

Solution

WSP engaged with RAIN Group to help build a business development structure and to help meet their aggressive four-year growth goals.

Assess the Organization and the Team

An initial sales performance consulting engagement with the RAIN Group assessed the company's business development structure and process, identified the existing team's sales strengths and improvement areas (using our sales assessments), and resulted in a Revenue Growth Plan of Action to help WSP achieve their aggressive four-year revenue growth target.

Armed with RAIN Group's recommendations, WSP began the process of creating a business development culture. The firm continued to use a seller-doer model, but supplemented it with a professional business development team -- hiring full-time business development professionals.

Train the Professionals to Improve Skills

Next, WSP brought RAIN Group back to conduct a two-day onsite sales training program for its professionals. Based on the earlier sales performance assessment of the organization's and individual team members' strengths and weaknesses, RAIN Group customized the RAIN Selling training program for maximum results.

This wasn't the first time WSP tried sales training. Years before they had brought in a sales trainer but it had not been a good experience. "The training was too salesy for our sophisticated customers," says Simon. "It wasn’t about growing relationships; it was about mining needs from people in an overly transparent fashion. It was sleazy."

RAIN Group's sales training was completely different.

"[RAIN Group] delivered the training at a level that our engineers and scientists could comprehend," says Simon. "It wasn’t just training that you would expect for a sales organization. It was training tailored to technical people who had a business development interest, but where sales wasn't going to be their full-time job. [RAIN Group] taught our professionals how to create stronger relationships with existing and prospective clients and, even more importantly, how to establish a sales process that supported each client's business needs."

In addition to helping the team improve their sales conversations, the training addressed the proposal process in detail -- a critical skill in this industry and one where the company historically struggled.

Reinforce Sales Training for Lasting Impact

Following the successful in-person training, a series of bi-monthly reinforcement webinars were held to reinforce and expand on the core training, and continue the momentum and excitement created by the in-person training. Webinars were customized for WSP and dug deep into specific topics that their team was struggling with at the time.
 

Results

According to Simon, the experience has been phenomenal, "What we've seen is that most of the professionals have responded with a greater interest in business development. They're more comfortable having business conversations with prospective clients or existing clients and we’re seeing a renewed energy around our business development culture."

Eight months following the initial RAIN Group engagement, WSP has:

  • Restructured the business development organization for greater effectiveness and financial performance
  • Created more and better sales conversations and improved cross-selling
  • Realized a marked difference in the company’s business development culture and a significant increase in sales opportunities
"We're not only seeing more opportunities from new clients, but a better mining of work from existing clients. The idea that we're only going to grow if we get more business from both the senior consultants as well as the business development professionals is really well understood throughout the business now."

- John Simon, Executive Vice President WSP

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