CASE STUDY | BEAUHURST
Embedding Negotiation skills across collaborating AM and CX teams
Beauhurst’s platform facilitates the discovery, tracking and analysis of high-growth companies through their data. A SaaS business head quartered in London, Beauhurst has grown rapidly, supporting the activities of a broad array of sectors and business types seeking powerful information on the high-growth ecosystem.
BPB’s research and scoping interviews identified that Beauhurst’s Account Management Team had been encountering a number of specific negotiation challenges. With a diverse client base, product use-cases and specific feature dependencies varied hugely from sector to sector and client to client. No consistent renewal negotiation process was in place, therefore the quality of renewal outcomes was extremely variable. Specific issues included:
Gathering of information and assessment of the power balance ahead of renewals was haphazard and inconsistent
Potential to incorporate a wide range of negotiation variables important to both parties, however, the team was unsure how to structure this
Consequently, renewals focused on price, leading to transactional negotiations missing the opportunity to create broad, long term value for both parties.
While the importance of strong client relationships was not in question, accommodating behaviours associated with relationship building were leaving the door open to opportunism and aggressive bargaining by more assertive clients at renewal
Client Experience Managers
The CX Team at Beauhurst work in tandem with the AMs to foster strong relationships and achieve successful product engagement across the user base. Through BPB's scoping and research process, it was identified that the CX Team could and should be playing a vital role in the renewal negotiation process.
The CX Team had the potential to gather invaluable negotiation information, offering insights into the way the customer was thinking and act as a crucial channel for pre-negotiation positioning
The CX Team did not yet have the skills and knowledge to play this role successfully, leading to widespread missed value across the client base.
The two teams were not yet clear how they could work collaboratively to drive negotiation results.
BreakPoint Black prepared a bespoke negotiation training program for an initial senior group of AMs and latterly a second program for the CX Team.
The three-day Master Negotiator workshop took AM participants through the full spectrum of negotiation types. Throughout this experiential learning process, delegates explored and practised a range of behavioural styles, planning and execution methods.
Over the workshop, rich feedback was embedded following each of the 11 negotiation cases participants completed. Video feedback was used as a tool to develop self-awareness of all key planning and execution learning points.
A follow-up day eight weeks after the workshop was used as an opportunity to embed the learnings. Delegates brought their own real upcoming renewal negotiations, for which they built working plans within the session. This cemented the application of the learnings within the real Beauhurst environment and ensured long term behavioural change for the team and the Business.
A shortened two-day Master Negotiator program was prepared for the CX Team. This was designed give the CX Team the skills and knowledge to support the contract renewal process, specifically with the collection of vital information and insights on the customer and the implementation of positioning strategies. These two key activities were trained with the objective of increasing Beauhurst’s negotiating power.
During the CX follow-up session, BPB worked with both AM and CX Teams to establish a new inter-team negotiation model. This supported aligned, coordinated collaboration between the teams for renewal negotiation planning and execution.
The Beauhurst AM Team have re-shaped their day-to-day client interactions to ensure information gathering and positioning are at their heart. Foremost, in terms of changes, is the new negotiation planning process across the entire AM function. This uniform process ensures all renewal negotiations are planned and prepared for with consistency, diligence and completeness. This step-change has created a major advantage for Beauhurst, already coming through in renewal results. The AM Team has developed a culture of negotiation that underpins regular collaborative negotiation planning sessions and constructive criticism to support continuous improvement of practices.
Zoë Carmichael, Head of Account Management said:
“This is by far and away the best training program I have ever been on... Guy displayed utter professionalism throughout and the impact on the team and our results has been unbelievable. We are immediately looking to roll this out to our Sales and CX Teams”
The CX Team now play a vital role in the contract renewal negotiation process. They have the knowledge, skills and confidence to gather negotiation specific information from customers throughout the year, building understanding of the other party and supporting a keen assessment of the power balance as they prepare for renewal. This intelligence gathering is providing the foundation for confident, assertive negotiation, leading to more valuable outcomes including longer contracts, improved pricing and creative value exchange across the board.
Georgia Brown Client Experience Lead said:
“This training has been transformative for the CX Team. They are now able to play a central role in the renewal negotiation process and the negotiation system we have created within the business. The knowledge and skills they have acquired with BreakPoint Black mean they can now use their day to day customer interactions to collect important negotiation information and work as true partners with the Account Management Team in the renewal process. We have already seen huge improvement in our commercial outcomes as a direct result of this - the ROI on this training has been immediate and significant. I highly recommend this training to other SaaS businesses”