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Sales Training Success: Imation Grows Revenue

Category: Sales Training  |  Permalink

Published: Friday, September 16, 2011

Sales Training Success: Imation skillfully leverages CustomerCentric Selling® to grow revenue, improve forecast accuracy and reduce ramp-up time.

Business Problem

Debra Swann, a CustomerCentric Selling® Business Partner, engaged with the Printing & Publishing Systems business unit of Imation Corporation. Other business units within Imation also produce products used by printers, such as data storage solutions, but there was not a focused effort to pursue this business. Imation then established a separate division solely dedicated to selling the complete Imation offering to the largest global printing companies. A team of twenty of Imation's most successful salespeople was assigned to this division. Imation's primary goal was to increase revenue by 50% within the named printing accounts during the upcoming year in a market that was flat or declining.

The challenges Imation faced in reaching its goals were:

  • The sales team had historically sold commodity products into specific printer departments and differentiated themselves by providing "value-added" services at no charge. In their new assignments, they were required to get up to speed on new high tech offerings, call into unfamiliar departments, and charge for services that they had previously given away. Ramp-up time was critical in order to achieve the aggressive revenue target.
  • Salespeople were more comfortable speaking with the users of the products and not as effective at conversing with, and developing a solid business case for, executive-level decision makers.
  • Each salesperson had their 'own' process for grading pipeline opportunities, making it difficult to prepare an accurate sales forecast.

The CustomerCentric Selling® Solution

After working with Imation's sales management to define the challenges and establish goals, Debra confirmed these capabilities that Imation expressed as required needs:

  • A standardized processfor helping salespeople quickly learn about new customer types and products, determine and gain access to those involved in the buying process, and qualify/disqualify opportunities early in the sell cycle.
  • The ability for salespeople to facilitate discussions throughout the prospect's organizationto quantify the "as is" business environment and the "projected" improvement upon implementation of their company's products/services.
  • A consistent, auditable grading system for classifying pipeline opportunities that could be used to prepare more objective sales forecasts.

CustomerCentric Selling® provided Imation with all of these defined capabilities.


After conducting a customized CustomerCentric Selling® Workshop with this new sales team, Debra worked with Imation to determine the results of this sales process implementation, which included:

  • Ramp-up time was reduced from 90 to 45 days.
  • Forecast accuracy improved significantly.
  • In the first six months, revenue growth was +24%, up from a baseline run rate of +5%.

Following the success of CustomerCentric Selling® with the initial group of twenty salespeople, Imation went on to train their entire team consisting of 150 sales and marketing professionals.

For more information about Imation, please see:

If you have questions about this client, please contact Debra Swann with SDK Alliance at or +1.407.671.5351.

Benefits to Imation:

  • Ramp-up time reduced from 90 to 45 days
  • Significantly improved forecasting accuracy
  • Increase in revenue growth by 24% from a baseline run rate of 5%

Read more of our sales training success stories in the Customer Showcase.

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