Training at the network computing company Sun Microsystems highlighted the importance of understanding customer needs as it moved from a product- to a solutions-based offering
Founded just 20 years ago, Sun Microsystems has grown to become one of the world's leading providers of network hardware, software and services.
Today, Sun helps companies in virtually every sector to leverage the full power of the internet in improving their competitiveness.
Yet in an increasingly tough marketplace, Sun recognised it could not maintain market leadership by standing still. In mid-2001, in the North Europe Region - comprising Scandinavia, Benelux and parts of the former Soviet bloc - the vice-president, together with senior managers, recognised the need to take selling skills 'to the next level'. This was especially important in such areas as negotiation and account development, if the region's broader business strategy was to be achieved.
As the company's in-house training services provider for the region, Sun University's (SunU's) EMEA office was approached to source a suitable external training provider who could meet the following objectives:
- in replacing a large number of existing third party trainers, to provide a fully integrated programme with a common sales language and consistent messages
- to ensure a common level of high-quality training across a broad geographic region
- as Sun shifted its focus from a product to an end-to-end solutions-based offering, to help the company move from the existing transactional sales approach to one based on relationship building and understanding customer needs
- be recognised as an established and credible provider of sales training solutions
Huthwaite was chosen because its SPIN¨Selling programme was identified as offering the ideal combination of the strongly research-based and customer needs-focused approach which was required.
At the outset, the Huthwaite team, led by training consultant Graham Short, held several meetings with senior managers to establish th