InfinityQS International - Sales Turnaround of the Year
Company: InfinityQS International, Inc., Fairfax, VA
Entry Submitted By: DPR Group
Company Description: InfinityQS International, Inc. is the global authority on enterprise quality. Its software helps manufacturers transform quality problems into competitive advantages. Headquartered near Washington, D.C., with offices in Seattle, London, and Beijing, InfinityQS was founded in 1989 and services over 40,000 active licenses with more than 2,500 of the world’s leading manufacturers.
Nomination Category: Sales Awards Achievement Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Sales Turnaround of the Year
Nomination Title: The Third Quarter Rally - How a Complete Reinvention Positioned InfinityQS for Unprecedented and Sustainable Success
Tell the story about how your organization has improved its sales performance since the beginning of July 2015 (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:
Traditionally, the third quarter of the year is the worst sales quarter for InfinityQS. 2015 was no exception. However, drastic organizational changes throughout the year primed the company to change this third-quarter struggle in 2016.
Tommy Doran, VP of global sales, and John Hicks, manager of sales operations, initiated a complete department overhaul that would result in unprecedented sales for InfinityQS. First, they eliminated previous geographic sales regions and instituted a one team (InfinityQS Sales), one goal mentality. A new, dynamic sales arena was developed at the company’s headquarters with flexible meeting areas designed for quick huddles, strategy sessions, and drive-by coachings. Multiple monitors display key information and highlight wins to celebrate small victories.
Next, the sales leadership evaluated each representative’s responsibilities. Previously, individuals pursued a range of opportunities for current clients, prospects, and key accounts. Instead, Tommy and John aligned responsibilities with customer lifecycle stages: acquisition, growth, key accounts, and retention. This means that account managers for existing clients zero in on value-add items to help them use the software better, while account managers for retention nurture established clients for ongoing success. Representatives for acquisition are solely responsible for new business and global account executives now handle the company’s rock-star customers and prospects.
The Miller Heiman Strategic Selling® and Conceptual Selling® methodology was implemented to standardize the way the account managers handled opportunities, entered information into the Salesforce CRM, and talked about potential new clients. They also required every sales representative to become a certified Six Sigma Green Belt. This gave them a unique level of understanding from the prospect’s perspective. The result is a well-oiled sales department that can progress a deal, even when the primary account representative is on holiday or out sick.
Further, sales leadership completed a pipeline audit to understand where revenue comes from, determine each opportunity’s potential, and implement iron-clad forecasting. Upon review of open opportunities, John identified numerous outstanding prospects with low conversion potential that the sales team ‘hoped’ would submit a purchase order or extend a single-plant pilot into an enterprise-wide deployment. He immediately implemented the “hope is not a strategy” rule and whittled the inflated pipeline down to real, actionable leads. While this gave the sales department more focus, the closed/lost deals required explanation for the executives. After John clarified the benefits of a pipeline with laser-beam focus on realistic opportunities, and noted increased requirements to deploy pilot programs, the InfinityQS leadership gave it their blessing to move forward.
It also became glaringly obvious to John that approaching manufacturers on a plant-by-plant basis required significant effort and resulted in minimal sales. So, in the most impactful change for the sales department, Tommy and John flipped this strategy and developed a pitch for corporate quality and operations leaders that establishes the value of the InfinityQS solution at the plant level, as well as up the corporate ladder to the executive level. Securing buy-in from the top enables InfinityQS to pursue six- and seven-figure deals with hundreds of facilities, instead of single-plant deployments. The average sale increased tremendously and now requires a phased roll out, ensuring ongoing revenue streams for multiple years. As the mandated solution of choice from the corporate office, InfinityQS also eliminates external competition.
The risk of completely upending the sales department paid off in 2016. At the end of Q3 2016, gross sales were 35% higher than 2015 and over 100 additional orders closed, making it the company’s all-time best third quarter and fifth best overall quarter ever. Additionally, InfinityQS doubled the number of cloud licenses it manages, directly impacting recurring revenue streams. And its two-year-old EMEA sales team posted 102% year-over-year growth.
With 22% total year-over-year growth in 2016, InfinityQS recorded the second highest annual sales number in the company’s nearly 30-year history. This milestone proves that this brief window of success is not just a fluke, but a definitive and sustainable turnaround for the company.