Our Work

Total Negotiation is known for delivering measurable results through both capability build and consultancy. Find out how we have done this for a range of global clients.

Case Studies

How negotiation skills investment delivered £400k return

The Client

Total Negotiation's client is a UK based FMCG snackfood manufacturer with a large portfolio of well known brands. Their teams of commercial managers negotiate across all accounts in the grocery and convenience sectors.

Their Challenge

They were aware that amongst their team of 20 Account Managers negotiation capability varied and there was no one negotiation framework to help Account Managers support their teams. They identified that greater consistency in approach would minimise the risk of unequitable terms agreements across sectors and accounts and would leverage opportunities.

Objectives of the Engagement

The client specifically wanted to introduce and embed a robust, consistent negotiation approach. This would be borne out by their commercial managers being more confident in their customer negotiation management.

The Solution

Total Negotiation created a tailored solution which started with workshops designed to support the negotiation of improved joint business plans. This then moved into an embedding phase of regular coaching and a hot line to support and improve outcomes on all key customer negotiations that year.

Outcome

The Account Managers themselves declared over £400k of directly attributable value. This came from a combination of extra listings, a reduction in promotional margin, over-rider targets used to drive business and a rebalancing of growth steps to give the client a higher percentage of the incremental profit. The £400k of financial achievements easily outweighed the £80k cost of Total Negotiation's engagement.

Future

Access to our coaching and hotline service, which is designed to work on live customer issues and improve outcomes, has meant that, 4 years later, the client still sees the value and uses Total Negotiation.

Negotiation capability building expertise to complement internal sales skills development.

The Client

A leading FMCG manufacturer within food and drink categories with a significant number of sales teams in the UK, Europe and globally.

Their Challenge

While they had a well-honed sales skills development programme, the client identified that a step change in negotiation skills would deliver better value for money on their trade investments, a key business objective.

They wanted a partner who could provide commercial negotiation skills programmes which blended seamlessly with their existing sales skills courses and content. There were 2 critical elements:

  • 1. Training, coaching and design expertise with experience in their sectors
  • 2. Tangible sales results which could be attributed to the training

Objectives of the Engagement

Alongside improved negotiation skills, the client was keen that participants had the opportunity to share negotiation best practice across markets and would then be able to apply the learnings consistently to real world challenges.

Building the confidence of the sales teams as negotiators was equally as important as showing them how to create internal alignment to strengthen the business units.

The Solution

Total Negotiation tailored and delivered 2 negotiation skills programmes: Essential and Advanced Negotiation Skills. Both included the trademark follow up coaching and hotline support. The programmes ran across a number of European countries, bringing together teams dealing with several major grocery accounts.

The European Sales Capability Manager was really pleased with the outcome: 'With plenty of suppliers ready to sell you their one size fits all programs, what has been great about working with Total Negotiation is the flexibility they have shown in adapting their core programs to blend with our existing commercial courses. This gives them, and therefore us, a unique point of difference in creating tailor-made solutions without the hassle and cost of starting from scratch.'

Outcome

  • Confident sales teams with clear and fully aligned plans for dealing with all retailers.
  • Improved terms achieved with retailers despite tough trading conditions.
  • Significant incremental value delivered to the business (Exceeding 15 x payback on programme cost)

Future

Total Negotiation continue to support the client across Europe with further negotiation programmes and coaching planned for 2014.

Client secured total annual business from key customer at enhanced margin level in the face of cheaper competition to the value of over $5m.

The Client

Total Negotiation's client is a global manufacturer operating in more than 50 markets.

Their Challenge

The client had been challenged to dramatically reduce their price to a long term customer or risk losing all of the business. The threat was borne from the emergence of cheaper local competition vying to supply the same customer. Accepting the pricing demand would have eliminated any margin. The client could see no alternative to accepting the price decrease demand.

Objectives of the Engagement

The client sought support from TN on creating alternatives in engaging with their customer to retain the key business.

The Solution

Prior to the price decrease demand, the client commercial team had taken part in an advanced negotiation skills workshop with follow up commercial coaching and hotline support. This meant that they could build and deliver a strategy, which not only secured but improved their position. Direct access to Total Negotiation expertise enabled them to check and to strengthen their approach at every stage. In particular, they explored their power and the true power of their competition and leveraged this to win the deal.

Outcome

The client secured an 18 month contract for all the business. The customer involved is now one of their largest in sales and margin contribution.

'Persistence and a good strategy with a firm position and a tight timeline during negotiation won the business valued at over $5M annually'

Future

Total Negotiation continue to support this client with individual negotiations through their hotline support and further capability build programmes are planned.

Trade terms re-design and capability build to deliver internal alignment and commercially harmonized terms across grocery sector.

The Client

Total Negotiation's client is a global FMCG supplier with a product portfolio spanning 5 distinct grocery categories and market leadership in 3 of these.

Their Challenge

The client had been through a sustained period of mergers and acquisitions during which trading practices had not been harmonised. As a result, trading terms were both commercially and legally unsustainable. In practice some customers had up to 12 different sets of terms and agreements while others only had part of the portfolio included for growth and over-rider payments.

Buyers and NAM's spent most of their time focused on calculating retro payments rather than developing their mutual business! The technical commercial risk of harmonising similar customers to similar terms was estimated at 100 million per annum.

Objectives of the Engagement

The overarching objective was to help the business implement a strategy of making all trade investment conditional and to address significant over investment in multiple customers. Within this were several discrete objectives:

To align senior stakeholders on an implementation strategy with immediate legal defensibility and improved commercial defensibility whilst laying a clear path to complete commercial protection over 5 years.

To create negotiation strategies for all customers and build the negotiation capability in all key customer managers, effectively cradle to grave support from strategy to execution.

To support the central project team to ensure a successful transfer from project to business as usual transition.

The Solution

Total Negotiation joined the engagement to support implementation after the commercial design was completed by a top 3 consulting firm. As often happens, the design worked well on a spreadsheet and in theory but ignored the practicalities and customer overlaps. Consequently our role extended to supporting the business in significant re-design of the strategy before implementation could take place. The outputs were negotiation strategies which matched the business risk decision for each customer.

As a member of the governance team of the UK Commercial Exec Total Negotiation facilitated senior stakeholders to create workable and aligned strategies. They then supported account teams with detailed negotiation planning and support sessions for key customers, including role playing meetings and hothousing stumbling blocks.

Finally, they led the thinking around business as usual transition and delivered required training to minimise future commercial risk.

Outcome

Total Negotiation added significant value to the project which resulted in the original 6 day trial being regularly extended by the client to become 200 days across 2 years.

'Total Negotiation has been pivotal in the project to restructure trade terms this year. Mark has supported senior managers but also, very effectively, played devil's advocate to produce far better options than we could have achieved otherwise. Mark is adept at influencing at all levels, from NAM to Director, and this has brokered alignment on the project. Most importantly, he has helped to maintain the momentum when it could have been derailed by other priorities.'

Future

Total Negotiation continues to provide a supporting role as the client implements the new trade terms.

Create aligned and conditional trade terms, a compelling investment plan and improved capability in FMCG trading teams.

The Client

Total Negotiation's client is a major UK manufacturer in the FMCG sector.

Their Challenge

A grocery account team came under pressure from a major grocer during the renewal of annual trade terms. The customer wanted significantly improved funding, yet the client had few options. In addition, any decision would potentially set an unwelcome precedent for negotiations across the sector. The client Account Director needed expert support to explore other options to minimize the impact in this account and also across other grocery accounts.

Objectives of the Engagement

Help formulate an aligned strategy to respond to the customer, create a compelling terms investment plan, increase conditionality and build the confidence and capability of the team to deal with the negotiation.

The Solution

Over a period of two months, TN evaluated the situation and helped the team to create a strategy to approach the customer. This involved a blend of analysis, coaching, challenging discussion and internal alignment. They invested a significant amount of time creating a wide range of variables, understanding their counterpart's stances and planning their own. TN facilitated role plays in which the client team played out their moves and the anticipated counter moves.

Another significant element of the TN approach was supporting the achievement of robust internal client alignment.

In the words of the Account Director, 'I feel the TN approach is very conducive towards reaching a win-win agreement within a manageable time period. Your pragmatic and highly structured approach to negotiation has helped me enormously in understanding the grocer's overall game plan and has been invaluable in reaching the agreement that we have struck.'

Outcome

Increased conditionality throughout the terms agreement.

Better targeted and more conditional and measurable investment.

Future

The client team now invest heavily in preparing their negotiations, to the extent that often 75% of the time is spent in this phase with only 25% in the live negotiation discussions.

Tangible sense of confidence in the team that they can deliver far more commercially beneficial outcomes than in previous years. They feel that, with this improved approach, much of the pressure to agree to sub-optimal terms within account meetings has been removed.

Delivering more than £9m incremental margin

The Client

Total Negotiation's client is a global manufacturer within the FMCG sector. It is a key category for retailers, so is always under pressure.

Their Challenge

From a strategic review, the client had identified that their current trading terms structure didn't leverage the retail opportunities to their full potential, either for their business or for the retailers.

In the words of the client's Sales Director, 'traditionally these agreements have been based around fixed payments that require no performance or behaviour to be completed before trading terms are paid. As this kind of investment delivers no real benefit to our business, it was important that we addressed these issues before we moved into our new agreements.'

Total Negotiation had been successfully working with this client to build negotiation capability. The extension of the partnership to trading terms consultancy was borne out of a high satisfaction level with the results from the salesforce capability shift.

Objectives of the Engagement

The client prioritised a number of key retail groups who were growing and were seen as the retail benchmark in their sector. It was important to create a new precedent for conditional trade terms which would then be rolled out to the next levels of accounts.

Total Negotiation were asked to advise on alternative trading terms structures and to work with the key account teams to implement them.

The Solution

Timing was crucial. Total Negotiation partnered the trading teams to create a plan which would ensure that all internal stakeholders were aligned to the new terms structure before the team implementation training sessions started.

Outcome

In all the groups, new trading terms were agreed, converting into practice the strategic goals. The 'more for more' strategy was structured to benefit the retail partners in return for a more measured and disciplined investment structure.

At an operational level there were 2 distinct and measurable results:

  • Increased availability of products in all accounts, supported by clear visibility of the products on all pricing communication mediums
  • Adoption by all accounts of key targets to achieve in order for terms payments to be triggered.

Over a full year these trading agreements are expected to deliver over £9m in incremental margin. Additionally the client's position as market leader has been underpinned.

Future

The client recognizes that there will continue to be tough trading challenges in their category and these will surface in all of their markets at different times. They are using the model developed with Total Negotiation to plan a pre-emptive approach and are accessing Total Negotiations expertise and resource in other markets.

Capability build and negotiation consultancy for multi-national FMCG client entering important trade terms discussions with major retailers.

The Client

An international FMCG supplier operating in a wide range of global markets including both modern trade and traditional trade environments. Not always the market leader, they trade strongly.

Their Challenge

Global retailers can be challenging in trade terms negotiations. Our client wanted to ensure that all their agreed trade terms were conditional and rewarding to both parties thus encouraging positive and profitable behaviour. This had not always been possible in the past.

Objectives of the Engagement

Ensure team were confident and prepared for the forthcoming negotiations. Develop detailed and thorough plans for all the major retailers. Role play the negotiations, share feedback and seek internal alignment.

The Solution

TN designed a tailored workshop over 4 days to reflect all the identified challenges and the current market conditions. This was reinforced by challenging review sessions to test the preparations and finally filmed role plays to recreate the actual negotiations.

Outcome

Within 6 weeks of the workshop conclusion, two major negotiations had been successfully concluded. Estimated incremental value achieved is approximately $700k already. In addition, these two big wins have created more confidence for the other negotiations and increased perception of power.

Future

TN will continue to support the client through ongoing commercial coaching in the remaining negotiations and in the implementation of the two big wins.

Aligning the full sales team to deliver a price increase in the UK market delivering more than £1m of incremental value

The Client

A leading FMCG manufacturer within non food who have a track record of year on year growth. They have well respected brands which are distributed throughout the UK and strategically in multi-national markets. They face strong competition from global players with greater marketing and discounting funds.

Their Challenge

Significant investment in innovation and in acquisitions meant they had limited funding to support retailers. They had benefitted from the impact of earlier price increases by their main competitors, however, they needed to increase their own prices across the majority of their brand portfolio and in all customer sectors. The client knew that previous cost prices had been met with tough resistance from the trade, although they had eventually been adopted.

Objectives of the Engagement

Our client decided to build the sales team's negotiation skills using this price increase discussion as an immediate opportunity to leverage the training. In some accounts, they aimed to leverage their investments to review and improve range and distribution agreements.

The Solution

Total Negotiation designed a full workshop and coaching programme to ensure the team were challenged and that the training was very realistic and based in the real world. New information and theory was directly applied to the day job.

Outcome

Across 4 key retailers, the client achieved over £1m in incremental margin and saved investment.

Negotiations were often complex and for some teams, coaching and support was called upon. To quote one Sales Manager, "A great result, given the client did not speak to us for 4 weeks during the process. Again this was the subject we worked through in the coaching sessions."

Future

The client's continuing success is underpinned by innovation and tailoring their strategy to meet local consumer needs. They recognize that building negotiation skills is an important ingredient and continue to use Total Negotiation globally to train and coach sales teams.

Securing price rises across all product ranges ranging from 1- 8%, the first increases in several years.

The Client

Total Negotiation's client is a global FMCG supplier which TN had not worked with before. The work took place in a key overseas subsidiary.

Their Challenge

The client had not passed on material cost increases for a number of years due to challenging market conditions. Management realised it was now essential to increase their costs prices due to growth requirements, consumer feedback and market demand. They operate through a range of distribution channels, but predominantly grocery accounts and independent retailers, both of which are notoriously challenging in price negotiations.

Objectives of the Engagement

Complete alignment of message and approach across all distribution channels was key. As it was the first time that a significant number of account managers had been tasked with delivering price rises there was a need to strengthen their negotiation skills and confidence in this specific context.

The Solution

The engagement was a combination of strategic planning facilitation and capability build. In the first phase Total Negotiation was instrumental in aligning the leadership team around a common strategy. Once this was in place the negotiation workshops were rolled out with the sales teams. The one-to-one coaching sessions were carefully timed to support team members as they prepared for their price rise negotiations.

Sales Director feedback:
"The whole process was extremely well managed and helped change the mindset of the organisation. What impressed me most was the practicality of the content and the relationships, which Mark, the TN consultant built at all levels both pre, during and post implementation. I would have no hesitation in recommending Mark and the TN team, as I have to our other operations globally."

Outcome

Majority of retailers agreed quickly due to the well planned approach taken by the account managers highlighting the opportunity for both parties. A couple of retailers took longer to reach agreement, however with close ongoing support from TN and a consistent, strong approach from management, agreement was reached and significant incremental value achieved.

How consistency of approach delivered £900k of value

The Client

Total Negotiation's client is a global FMCG manufacturer. In one geography, the market was changing more rapidly than in many other markets so they needed to be quick in their decision making while avoiding a disjointed approach across accounts and sectors.

Their Challenge

The client had historically invested significantly with major key accounts. In one sector two accounts were important and still profitable, yet neither were engaging closely with the client. Additionally, one was requesting increased investment while the other, unwilling to enter into new trade terms discussions, for the first time, handed over responsibility for negotiations to their procurement team.

Objectives of the Engagement

Our client took the opportunity to review what they wanted to achieve both in this sector and through these accounts and to draw up very specific volume, profit and share targets in return for investment. They were keen to re-establish the principles of conditional trade investment.

The Solution

Total Negotiation worked with the account teams to design an engagement strategy with clear commercial outcomes. Whilst building capability, commercial discussions were also being managed and advanced through direct support and coaching.

Outcome

In one account, the client realised savings of approximately £0.8m per annum in terms and discounting by walking away at the end of the terms negotiation period.

Investment was restructured in the second account to support specific and targeted marketing activities. More than £100k was saved and additional levers will translate into incremental volume and profit wins.

Future

The client continues to use TN services extensively to review commercial strategies, build capability and support ongoing challenges with customers with direct coaching.

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