Search past winners/finalists

IBM - Sales Process of the Year

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2019, Click to Enter The 2020 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service

Company: IBM, Armonk, NY
Company Description: IBM is a values-based enterprise of individuals who create & apply technology to make the world work better. Today, more than 400,000 IBM employees around the world invent and integrate hardware, software and services to help forward-thinking enterprises, institutions and people succeed on a smarter planet.
Nomination Category: Sales Awards Achievement Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Sales Process of the Year

Nomination Title: Creating Value Through Process Innovation

Tell the story about your organization's sales process implementation since the beginning of July 2017 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:


In eight months, the Kaizen Team have successfully created and executed a roadmap of process, robotic automation and tools improvement for Global Technology Services and Systems Hardware that affects 400 members of the Quote to Cash organization, Business Partners and Sellers.

The challenge

Global Technology Services Support and Systems Hardware are two distinct Market areas supported from two different Centers of Competence, the first in Hortolandia, Brazil and the second in Manila, the Philippines. These two areas are connected by the Hardware and Software inventory which needs to be accurate to allow new orders and services contracts to be seamlessly and quickly processed. Inventory accuracy is one of the major concerns because its inaccuracy has huge financial and operational impact on IBM’s cost and revenue as well as for the customers warranty and maintenance support. In addition to that, the second concern is the approvals matrix for contract life cycle management which adds a long waiting time to the process due to the number of approvals required. Having design thinking sessions where both market areas were able to voice concerns and drive initiatives together with a single objective to improve the overall sales process focusing on customer satisfaction, faster response time and lower operational cost has been successful with proven benefits.

The methods

The Kaizens have used various Design Thinking techniques to:

-Develop a strategic roadmap by following IBM’s strategy to integrate roles, simplify processes, apply robotic automation and improve speed to support IBM’s revenue growth and Net Promoter Scores.

-Perform several discovery sessions with a user-centric approach creating scenario maps focused on the outcomes and rooted in the needs of the users.

-Deliver efficient and well-designed processes that correct the issues and at the same time enable touchless transactions to reduce manual workload and improve speed of response.

-Provide initial face-to-face training, as well as online training to Q2C team, sellers and business partners on new processes and tool.

-Utilize the personas targeting a better user experience in moving from multiple tools into a single one for sellers and business partners to engage with Q2C operations.

The Outcomes

-Currently, the 2018 Strategic Roadmap results are as follows: (Please refer to the attachments for the specific initiatives).

-Nearly 47,000 labor hours saved in Quote to Cash operations of which 12,000 are with robotics. Additionally, the ongoing projects have an estimated 27,000 more labor hours to be saved by the end of 2018 with robotics and process improvement.

-Simplified Audit Matrix in Infrastructure Services by 35% in checklist items and by 51% in validated attributes resulting in simpler, quicker and audit ready contract registration.

-Simplified credit approvals by increasing the autonomy of the Q2C team from US$ 25,000 to US$ 50,000 and implemented an automated revenue impact report, which eliminates the need of approval by 50% in volume. Total cycle time improved by average 10 days and manpower reduced by 1,700 hours.

-Reduced backlog volume of uninstalled HW and SW by 71%, increasing operational efficiency by 30% and enabling hands-free automation experience by automating the order entry and streamlining both TSS and HW inventory process.

-Increased the speed of billing adjustment to 98% cycle time reduction by deploying robotic process automation enabling hands-free processing, higher billing accuracy and 5,000 hours of saved man hours.

-Developed and deployed a unique workflow tool for business partners and sellers to request inventory adjustment. Business Partners using the updated tool (Contracts Online) have been very positive for simplifying the forms, improving visibility of status and enhancing communication.

-Eliminated 4 different roles, cross-trained team members to gain better end to end knowledge, reduced hand-offs and increased empowerment for decision making, fostering professional and skills growth.