Success. Results. ADP

What You Need: Sell the value customers demand.

The good old days are gone: today’s customers require much more. We help sales professionals develop the skills that matter – like knowing your customers, communicating your value, managing accounts better, and creating business impact.

Issues You’re Facing

  • Sales people need to sell higher and wider
  • Sales people lack the skills to have higher-level conversations
  • Limited financial or business acumen
  • Inability to understand or sell your company’s value
  • Customers demand more linkage to their business drivers

How We Can Help

  • Improve sales performance
  • Move from product to solution selling
  • Accelerate the successful launch of new products
  • Sell to higher levels
  • Manage selling to committees
  • Create sales coaching that focuses on adding customer value
  • Gain understanding of how customers buy


Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP) is one of the world’s largest providers of business outsourcing solutions. In 2009, the company launched Workforce Now HR Services, an exciting “all in one” product for business owners that represented a different, higher-level value from ADP.

The company knew that sales performance success would happen at the C-Level. “With this new product, we were moving from the solution portfolio of just providing technology-based services to offering a fully-outsourced suite,” said the VP of Sales Leadership and Performance. “That dialog is very different from a buyer’s perspective.” ADP needed to help the sales organization sell to a different contact, at a higher level.

Success Solution

Advantage President and CEO Annika McCrea realized that in order to create optimal results going forward, the ADP sales organization needed to transform. Salespeople were used to offering specific products and moving customers through the ADP selling process in order to make the sale. Now they needed to think consultatively and align their sales process with their customers’ buying process. Salespeople were also used to selling primarily to the HR function. Now they needed to sell to the C-Level, and in order to do that, they needed to understand their customers’ entire company. Everyone in ADP’s global sales organization needed to move from a tech-based sale to a consultative, solutions sale.

McCrea began by analyzing the sales function as a whole to determine where it was and where it needed to go. Advantage would help salespeople understand the new product, develop C-Level relationships, coach more effectively, and think more consultatively. The solution was based on Advantage’s SalesOptimization systems approach to sales performance, and it included:

  • Right Process – A synchronized buying/selling roadmap ensured that the ADP sales process was in lockstep with the buying process of its C-Level customers. A new sales methodology was also integrated with ADP’s existing sales process.
  • Right Capabilities – Sales team members experienced business acumen and sales cycle alignment learning. The entire initiative also incorporated The Advantage WaySM, particularly Impact Maps that created a “line of sight” from learning to business results.
  • Right Communication – Interactive online avatars of each SVP “talked” to employees, explaining the importance of change and asking for commitment to the new sales strategy. The strategy was also communicated via a fictitious “Fortune” magazine article that created urgency for change.

A business acumen sales simulation, fully customized to the ADP product launch, formed the core of the learning experience. The Mind of the Customer and SalesTEAM programs showed salespeople the importance of aligning their sales cycle with their customers’ buying cycle, and provided a model for consistent selling. E-learning modules were customized and available across 9 business units, 7 languages, and 12 countries. The new sales message was communicated worldwide to create consistent methodology, mindset, buy-in, and commitment.

Six months following the learning, an Advantage Way Success Case evaluated how learners were making business impact. The study showed that staff at 3 levels had already produced significant sales and that other behavior changes were improving sales performance in several areas. Results included achievement of launch goals, increased multi-year sales contracts, expanded business with current customers, and a 467% return on learning investment – even in a turbulent economy.

The VP of Sales Leadership said, “The examples cited in the Success Case alone prove that the investment paid for itself, and that’s just scratching the surface. I’m confident that we covered our investment from an ROI standpoint. And from a sales standpoint, I expect that we will make a much larger impact over time.”