We have just finished the first stage of a very interesting project with the CBI.
Everything has gone well and the CBI are pleased with the results.
Here's what happened.
The short version...
The CBI liked what we did.
Cedric Kennedy, the CBI's Director of Resources said:
"The CBI asked Real World Strategy to review the way in which membership is sold and retained. We were impressed with their quick grasp of the business and their ability to speak in ‘our language’ – even to the extent that we did not request any alterations between their first draft and final reports."
"They were able in a short period to confirm that our approach to ‘sales’ was on the right track but also provided a number of sensible and practical ideas for improving it. This has helped give us the confidence to develop our approach and we expect their ideas to help us with short and long term improvement."
The longer version...
First things first - who are the CBI?
Quoting directly from their website:
"The CBI is the UK's premier business lobbying organisation, providing a voice for employers at a national and international level."
"We speak for more than 240,000 companies of every size, including many in the FTSE 100 and FTSE 350, mid-caps, SMEs, micro businesses, private and family owned businesses, start ups, and trade associations...
…and in every sector, including agriculture, automotive, aerospace and defence, construction, creative and communications, financial services, IT and e-business, management consultancy, manufacturing, professional services, retail, transport, tourism and utilities."
"Our mission is to promote the conditions in which businesses of all sizes and sectors in the UK can compete and prosper for the benefit of all. To achieve this, we campaign in the UK, the EU and internationally for a competitive policy landscape."
John Cridland, the CBI's Director General summarises: 'We listen, we lobby, we get results'.
Real World Strategy and the CBI
Real World Strategy has been a member of the CBI for some years. We get to the CBI conference every Autumn, we go to regional meetings where we meet a wide range of senior business leaders and we receive a lot of policy briefing material.
As a result of our membership of the CBI we have a better perspective on the economy when we are working with our clients and when we are reviewing our own plans.
Membership is highly recommended, even for the smallest companies!
"What can the CBI learn from the world of B2B selling?"
At a regional CBI meeting last Autumn, we were asked if Real World Strategy might like to be involved in a discussion about what the CBI could learn from the world of B2B selling.
We were told about some recent changes within the CBI. There had been some restructuring and a decision to migrate to a brand new CRM system with a range of related initiatives. This sounded just like many of the B2B sales situations that we have worked with over the years.
CBI Real World Sales Review
The conclusion of these discussions was to proceed with a CBI Real World Sales Review. This is the methodology that we have developed to look at everything that has an impact on sales results.
Over the coming weeks we worked through the stages of the review process. We met and worked with some really good people from all areas of the CBI.
Overall, we were really impressed with the CBI's genuine engagement with us and an evident preparedness to look at anything that might improve their ability to recruit and retain members.
We delivered what we thought was the first draft of our report, and as Cedric commented above, the CBI told us that we had met their needs at the first go. As you might imagine, their reaction was very encouraging!
Pleased with outcomes
We're very pleased that the Real World Sales Review process has worked so effectively for the CBI. As always, we have learned a lot from the exercise.
It's been a really interesting project, and it has been good to have the opportunity to play a small part in helping this unique organisation.