Revenue: $3.5B
Employees: 15K

Client Challenge

Flowserve sales engineers were accustomed to traditional sales methods focused on product features and technical specifics. The organization had made limited investments to build a consistent global sales methodology or to develop coaching capabilities among its frontline managers and engineering community.

These factors left Flowserve’s sales engineers feeling greater pressure to perform in a changing and more complex customer environment. Its market challenges included:

  • Growing competition from low-cost international competitors
  • A changing demographic among their customer set, with different perspectives and experience
  • Customers with more sources for information, alternatives, and a greater need for consensus when making a purchase decision

Solution

Together with Challenger, Flowserve took a holistic view of its sales and marketing organization and identified key strategic gaps to close, including commercial insight, sales experience capability, and coaching support.

  • Commercial insight: Flowserve dug deep into the minds of its biggest customers, looking for knowledge gaps and a suboptimal approach to running operations. Those gaps were quantified with a clear business case for change that led uniquely to Flowserve as the best partner and supplier.
  • Coaching: Before field teams could deliver this new commercial insight, Flowserve invested in manager coaching capabilities to better support the change. The fundamental coaching shift was to forward-looking and skill-based coaching interactions and away from simple performance and metrics management. 
  • Capability: Flowserve assembled its sales engineers together for two days of region-configured Challenger skill-building workshops. These sessions combined expert facilitation (in the local language) focused on centrally built commercial insights, manager coaching support, and the application of skills and messages to real accounts. Following the workshops, sales engineers continued to practice new skills through a reinforcement plan that used video-based practice and targeted manager feedback.

Implementing a behavioral transformation in their global field force was a complex endeavor, including workshops for over 1,200 managers and frontline sales engineers in 10 different languages across five continents, each with cultural sensitivities and market nuances.  



Results:

Challenger and Flowserve leadership quickly noticed a fundamental change in the way sales engineers approached customer interactions, including greater preparation for sales interactions and overall engagement across the field. In the six months following the Challenger skill workshops, Flowserve realized the following results:

  • $75 million in closed business directly attributed to the use of Challenger skills in sales interactions with customers
  • Over 75% of sales engineers reported more thorough preparation for sales interactions
  • 78% of sales engineers reported more meaningful sales conversations with customers

Quotes

“Challenger’s methodical approach illustrates many skills other programs have lacked, and I’ve been in sales for over 20 years. Although sensitive with some customers, taking control and building constructive tension are vital to ignite low-priority opportunities forward.”

Flowserve Sales Engineer, North America

Before Challenger

  • Flowserve is a leading supplier of pumps, seals, and valves for large CapEx projects like yours. We have the expertise to walk you through each stage of development to reduce delays and improve plant uptime.

After Challenger

  • Many engineers underestimate the impact that comes from using equipment from multiple vendors. Minor fluctuations in capacity, specifications, and repair processes across multiple suppliers can turn a small repair into a large-scale systemic issue. This can bring your facility offline and cost you more than you realize.