‘Eisenfelt has helped us adjust our behaviour’

Boudewijn van DulkenHP is one of the world’s largest technology companies. Its portfolio includes printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure solutions. According to Boudewijn van Dulken at HP sales management, the organisation is currently experiencing a world-wide change: the share of the infrastructural contracts in the total turnover is going down and the contribution of software and services to profits is going up. “You want to sell solutions, which means you must have the right business relations. My objective was to acquire large projects with a larger margin. This means modifying the business model and creating value for the customer. And this is exactly where the Eisenfelt method fits in.”

For a long time, the services of HP consisted mainly of the delivery of infrastructural business. But orders and contracts became smaller and margins were under pressure. According to Van Dulken this was “because HP was being compared to competitors at product level.”

“We were able to develop a plan of attack, manage the sales cycle and come in at the right level. But then we would not be able to align ourselves with the customer’s needs. If you cannot not establish the link with a particular business problem, you will never be in a position to steer the customer and increase budgets.”

“You must ensure that you get the message across properly, to the right people. It is also imperative that you capitalise on the projects that matter, otherwise you cannot create value. Eisenfelt has helped us adjust our behaviour.”

‘The problem is never to do with IT’

“To get involved early in a customer’s buying process, you must take time to explore his or her business. It is a problem at board level, to do with meeting legislation on time, for instance. The problem is never to do with IT or the data centre.”

“How do you behave towards a CFO, CMO, or CEO? How do you take advantage of a 5 minute attention span without becoming technical? Eisenfelt has taught us to create an excellent pitch. ‘What do you have to offer?’ Where does the demand come from?’ ‘How is the ‘pain’ experienced at other management levels?’ How a CIO experiences this ‘pain’ can be completely different from how the CEO experiences it.”

You must focus on those themes that are of strategic importance to your customer and help them before they look elsewhere on the market. Eisenfelt has a structural approach for this.”

Value selling

“Two teams (10 – 15 people) were coached intensively for two months. The process began with a series of interviews – a light assessment – followed by a four day workshop. During the workshop, several people from the profession, active at C level, performed a number of role-plays. Then Eisenfelt organised several refresher days and everyone received personal feedback. This was followed by personal guidance in the field. It really is completely different from sales training and is truly a programme for value selling. It makes working together with a customer a lot more enjoyable.”

Create value

“Using the Eisenfelt method you can enlarge your ‘share of wallet’ at your existing customers. But the approach is also very useful for acquiring new business. New customers have given us orders because, according to them, we understand their business.”

“Companies are often inclined to just work towards figures and forget about the long term: how are you actually going to achieve those figures? Naturally, large projects with a larger margin are what everything depends on. And then you must create value for your customers. ‘So how do you achieve that?’ Eisenfelt really focuses on behaviour. I am a huge fan of their approach.”