Client: A global FMCG company


Core Partner: James & Carmichael



A global consumer business wanted to achieve top-line growth in a globally declining and increasingly competitive market. 

The goal for this EMEA wide field force programme, was to get sales reps to help their customers sell products on to consumers, rather than simply on selling their customers as much product as possible. The logic was simple, if the customers can better sell it out, we can sell more in. 

To make this happen, we needed to transform the field force into a business partnering community, focused on the joint success of their customers and themselves. 

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The Challenge

Some representatives had been in the business for over 20 years and could not see the need for change – indeed some directors did not fully see the need as their own market was not perhaps struggling as much as others. We were also asking sales reps and customers to take what seemed like a leap of faith and have a different conversation based on new skills and insights we were providing, and to take a more commercial approach. They needed new skills, new tools and a new way of looking at things – ultimately a transformed mind-set.  Reason, story, buy-in, fear of change, motivations and commercial pressures were all significant barriers to achieving the vision.


The Solution

Vision and Story:  

We worked with the EMEA leadership team to define the goal and vision of the programme.  We then turned this into a real story of the required change in beaviours for all impacted stakeholders.  Importantly, we ran sessions with local directors to ensure that they not only understood the changes, but engaged with the programme and took ownership.

Business engagement in build and design:  

We asked the markets to identify key reps to be ambassadors for the programme and created Process Education sessions throughout the programme in which they would review, assess and support the development of tools that would be truly fit for purpose.  These ambassadors had an important role in selling the project to their colleagues.

Behaviours, education and training:  

We designed a training and communication programme in conjunction with managers and ambassadors which incorporated:

  • Behavioural change - giving them the belief that they can try something new and succeed.  Helping them to understand how they manage their own personal change and provide them with cognitive tools focused on being successful yet resilient when challenges come their way.

  • A new way of working with customers - role-playing the new conversations we wanted them to have with customers and learning new ways of focusing on selling-on.

  • Technical skills - use and practice on iPads, ordering systems, profit simulators, catalogue management and shopper insights amongst other tools.

A focus on managers to encourage sustainable change:  

We developed an easy to use coaching programme for managers, providing them with tools and a framework to help their team members embed the new ways of working and build upon those behaviours long after go-live.

A focus on success:  

We created an approach which looked to incentivise positive behaviours, not just through financial gain (rewards for hitting targets) but through making success of a rich world of opportunity and development potential for representatives, managers and customers to aspire to, by helping them articulate their own stories of success and their own plans of how to get there.


The Result

Success was measured using a number of factors such as adoption of the initiatives by customers and the uplift in sales  Ultimately, a material increase in top line sales was successfully achieved.

We enabled continuous improvement, post our engagement, by developing an approach for truly embedding and improving on the new way of working, including access to JCC coaching framework and materials.