Sales and management training specialist Consalia sharpened the customer skills at global auditing firm, helping it to win millions of pounds worth of business from the world’s top retailers.
Consalia, is a joint venture company formed in 2006, located in London and Singapore and backed by two large shareholder companies in Italy Praxi and Spain Development Systems. It trained key executives and account managers at the global recovery auditing company, whose primary role is to find and recover monies owing that have been overlooked or overpaid, for example where suppliers have overcharged.
In 2005, a new MD joined when the company was close to insolvency and running at a £3 million loss with revenues declining 10% a year for four years running. He saw the need to change the organisation so it could serve its customers better. Consalia’s CEO, Dr. Philip Squire, explains, "The key was to look beyond the basic service of recovery auditing. The recovery mindset was leading to diminishing revenue each year. The senior management team wanted to establish a new client-centric mindset where account managers focused on how else they could help their customers improve their business, which would, in turn, create new revenue streams.”
The MD had to act quickly when their largest European Account decided to put its primary and secondary audits out to tender. They had held the primary order for many years - and achieved good results – so they thought they had a good relationship with with their account and we wondered what went wrong.
Consalia organised a series of client-specific workshops for 10 auditors and audit account managers at a time. The aim was to create a cultural change that centred on the client, and to urge an improvement in working practices, improved client relationships, and better retention of contracts, and ultimately for the business to experience growth rather than losses. Staff were trained to research their clients’ values and attitudes, and to find out what their clients expected from them and how they could achieve it.
The workshops were intensely practical because they focused on individual clients, and resulted in all trainees changing the way they viewed and approached their clients. The audit firms staff developed four new mindsets: authenticity, client-centricity, proactive creativity and tactful audacity. For example, one account director had been heavily criticised by several key people at one client, and changed both his attitude and behaviours. The programme resulted in changes to internal procedures, such as the corporate governance model, trade promotion practice, relationship management and frequency of client meetings, using key performance indicators to support these meetings.
But there was also a profound financial benefit. The audit company invested an average of £20,000 for each client, for a return of at least £1m a year. For example the company invested £40,000 in training to analyse, win back and serve the largest EMEA client, and won the role of secondary auditor, worth £1m a year. Similarly, it won the primary auditing account for the world’s largest retailer, worth US$10m per annum.
Client interviews and workshops are now being conducted halfway through contracts rather than prior to renewal, and this auditing company uses, Consalia’s online survey tool annually to gain feedback from clients. The MD says, "The best sale we can possibly make is keeping the clients we've got and figuring out how to help them grow and get more money in their pockets. I'm now seeing significant value being created for our clients. The trust is increasing. We're not selling something to them - we're creating additional value together and we're creating a relationship.”