INDUSTRY: Global environmental planning consultancy

“Right from the start, John and Chris’ inclusive working style resonated with our people. As highly skilled professionals in their field, their absolute commitment to partnering with us to co-create a relevant programme of theoretical and practical activities has led to many positive, new ways of engaging with our clients across our business. Based on the success of this programme we are now looking forward to a long and continuing relationship with JA Consulting well into the future.”

Chantalle Meijer, Group Marketing Director, RPS

Sales skills development ……..

BACKGROUND

Founded in 1970 by a group of Oxford academics with a vision to create an environmental planning practice dedicated to making the world a better place, RPS has grown into a global professional services firm. Working across six sectors (property, energy, transport, water, resources, government and defence services), RPS uses its deep expertise to solve problems that matter, delivering solutions that are easy to understand.

THE CHALLENGE

RPS recognised the need to create recurring, high value, client experiences at every stage of the buyer journey. To do this they initiated a global Client Experience (CX) Project focused on connecting marketing and sales across the buyer journey always with the client at the core. This would result in building trust and client advocacy and in turn deliver sustainable, organic revenue growth across the business.

Recognised for their deep technical expertise, RPS operates predominantly as a seller/doer consultancy. For the CX Project to be truly successful it was important for their consultants to understand ‘how’ and ‘why’ their clients valued their service offerings beyond the technical solution.

The CX Project presented the Firm with an opportunity to introduce one consistent RPS process across the business and to provide their consultants with the tools and the confidence they needed to have non-technical conversations at each stage of the buyer journey.

WHAT HAPPENED?

JA Consulting were engaged to partner with RPS to build and deliver a client focused sales programme; ‘Influencing Conversations to Win’ starting with a number of RPS consultants and RPS senior stakeholder interviews led by JA Consulting. Areas of focus were identified, and a programme was developed consisting of four modules. Each module was designed to be delivered remotely with a duration of 90 minutes.

  • Module 1 focused on the buyer journey; how buyers buy and the opportunities to engage differently with buyers
  • Module 2 looked at how to develop and understand buyers’ needs through questioning and introduced the JA Consulting CADI questioning framework
  • Module 3 extended the understanding of buyers’ needs whilst also providing insight into how to open and close a meeting. It also introduced the importance of getting an “advance”
  • Module 4 focused on how to talk persuasively about the RPS service offering

To test the approach and gain buy-in from the global RPS leadership team, Influencing Conversations to Win was delivered as a pilot to 95 RPS consultants in 2020.

Following extensive analysis of the pilot participant feedback which resulted in some minor tweaks to the content, RPS decided to make Influencing Conversations to Win a formal part of the CX Project and extended the training to 220 participants across the company.

Due to the onset of the Covid pandemic JA Consulting and RPS adapted the practical face to face application into a virtual programme using Microsoft Teams technology.

RPS strategically chose to mix the participants in the sales training groups from the different sectors and services and utilised a digital ‘get to know your colleagues’ pre-engagement exercise prior to the start of the virtual sales training. The different business examples and experiences brought into the training sessions by the participants proved to be immensely beneficial.

Feedback from RPS attendees was overwhelmingly positive and indicated the importance of embedding and refreshing learning once leaving the classroom. In addition to the continued roll out of Influencing Conversations to Win, JA Consulting is currently working with the RPS team on creating an ongoing community information hub of practical application activities for all attendees of the programme.

HOW RPS BENEFITTED

As the modules progressed participants became more adept at listening and exploring client challenges. The inspired, deliberate mixing of the webinar groups, both by business area and geographically, resulted in the participants developing a far deeper understanding of the skills and services provided by consultants from other areas of the business. The wider knowledge of what everyone else does sparked new conversations about how to help clients even further resulting in some exciting upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

By combining their strong understanding of what their clients value, along with our listening techniques and questioning frameworks RPS’ consultants have engaged with their clients in new ways. Because of applying these new skills at every stage of the buyer journey, they continue to build trust and advocacy with their clients, ensuring ongoing delivery and driving recurring revenue.

What the client said

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“The course has taught me to think about conversations differently. There has always been a sub-conscious understanding of how to structure a conversation, but I now understand the theory behind this. From understanding the buyer journey, buyer needs and problems, and tailoring conversations accordingly. And considering what it is that RPS do differently to other consultancies.”

Course participant

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Other Case Studies

All the work we do is based on deep experience and we utilise the most comprehensive research sources to ensure that whatever we do will deliver results. Our broad experience means we can quickly make interventions that are pragmatic and built on what the best do – and often brought to life with real case illustrations.

Check out more examples.

The JA Consulting Proposition

JA Consulting delivers development capability across a range of business environments – from the Defence industry to professional services – the typical situations dealt with range from few £ thousands to £ billions – and at all levels in industry.