HP Grows the Contribution Microsoft Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn Sales Navigator Make to its Sales Pipeline by 6,500% in 4 Months
October 24, 2019
Editor's Note: A version of this post previously appeared on the Microsoft website.
Approaching its 80th anniversary, HP decided to embrace new capabilities that would help it create the sales workforce of the future. The organization invested in a completely new relationship with Microsoft—one that would enable it to train 1,200 global employees in relationship sales methods.
HP has since grown the contribution to its sales pipeline that’s attributable to Microsoft Relationship Sales by 6,500% in four months.
What we’re seeing is that month after month, the contribution LinkedIn and Dynamics 365 make to our sales pipeline is multiplied by 10. If that’s not exponential growth, I don’t know what is. — Vincent Brissot, VP of WW Digital Automation and Channel Operations, HP
Discovering untapped potential in relationship selling
As a global technology innovator with 55,000 employees operating in 170 countries, HP has long-established sales processes in place. Microsoft already supports many of these processes—in fact, HP has the one of the world’s largest implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales. However, with its 80th anniversary on the horizon, HP decided it was time to reevaluate its capabilities. As an industry leader, it needed to create the sales workforce of the future.
“We decided to look for skill sets and platforms where we wanted to increas our investment," explains Vincent Brissot, VP of Digital Automation and Channel Operations at HP. “We realized that the more transactional the vendor tends to be—the more they sell products by the pallet—the less they’re enabling sales reps to tap into the power of relationship selling and networking.”
Equipping salespeople with the right tools
Relationship selling is all about empowering sellers to drive customer engagement. In the digital age, engagement isn’t just about in-person interactions. It’s about delivering the types of engagement the buyer expects, whether that’s on the phone, over email, face-to-face, or via social networks like LinkedIn. With its extensive vendor networks and large business-to-business customer base, HP had previously identified huge potential in this approach. It subsequently equipped its teams with Dynamics 365 for Sales, which helps salespeople to focus on the right customers and build relationships through authentic, personalized engagement.
For the next step in its journey, HP decided to use Microsoft Relationship Sales, which combines Dynamics 365 for Sales with LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Its goal was to access LinkedIn’s network of more than 645 million professionals, unlocking new ways to digitally identify, connect to, and engage with customers. For a company wanting to create the sales workforce of the future, this was a huge step forward.
Modernizing the sales process
Brissot and HP entered into a worldwide contract with Microsoft, and HP began training 1,200 global sales team members to use Dynamics 365 for Sales together with LinkedIn Sales Navigator. One of the key priorities for HP was to digitally enable account hunting and farming. Accordingly, the early stages of the training focused on LinkedIn Sales Navigator basics and how salespeople can identify and connect to potential leads.
By using advanced search features to look for prospects, HP salespeople can search by company, title, industry, region, seniority, function, and more. They can then save any suitable prospects they find, so the prospects’ updates and shares appear in the LinkedIn Sales Navigator pane in Dynamics 365. This provides context for the salesperson to reach out at the right moment through the LinkedIn InMail messaging service, which is then logged in the Dynamics 365 activity tracker.
After HP salespeople have identified a prospect, they can also connect with them by using another key feature of LinkedIn Sales Navigator: TeamLink. This informs salespeople which LinkedIn Sales Navigator license holders in their organization are first-degree connections to the prospect. Salespeople can then ask the license holder in their network to give them a warm introduction to the lead—a highly effective way to create new relationships. Dynamics 365 for Sales integrates LinkedIn data with information on leads, contacts, accounts, and opportunity records, so salespeople get a holistic view of prospects.
Using these techniques is helping HP salespeople overcome some common challenges, as Brissot explains. “As an example, we’re going big into graphics and design at HP. Security for point of sales is also a key focus area for us. Identifying the security or design lead in some of those companies isn’t a very intuitive task, but using LinkedIn Sales Navigator has helped us do exactly that.”
Assessing sales team responses to the new tools
Within just four months of rolling out the training program for Microsoft Relationship Sales, HP noticed it was generating significantly more leads through relationship selling. What’s more, an internal survey of salespeople revealed some interesting reactions.
“The first claim about Sales Navigator is that it’s going to help salespeople identify who they should be talking to,” explains Brissot. “Our teams are telling us it’s true—89 percent of our salespeople report finding contacts that they didn’t previously know about.”
“We also asked them about the second important claim: does this product integration with Dynamics 365 make it easier for sellers to connect with those contacts? About 85% of our sales reps are telling us it works, and we’re hearing amazing stories from them. People are telling us, ‘I’m connecting directly to the executives I’m looking for in an unfiltered and unbiased way.'"
Achieving powerful effects on a global sales pipeline
For Brissot and HP, one important question remained: do these improved capabilities translate to pipeline growth? Answering this question had been part of the HP plan from the beginning—salespeople had been asked to enter a unique code into any contracts that were signed with leads they had found using Dynamics 365 for Sales and LinkedIn Sales Navigator. As a result, HP was able to track the effects of the integration. “What we’re seeing is that month after month, the contribution LinkedIn and Dynamics make to our sales pipeline is multiplied by 10,” Brissot explains. “If that’s not exponential growth, I don’t know what is.”
So far, the growth in the sales pipeline that can be attributed to relationship selling is 6,500 percent—and HP is still at the start of its journey. As time goes by, its teams will further benefit from the integration between Dynamics 365 for Sales and LinkedIn Sales Navigator. For example, sellers can easily save any contact they find in LinkedIn Sales Navigator and get recommended next best actions to track and nurture the relationship from the AI-powered assistant in Dynamics 365.
Brissot explains further, “We aren’t positioning Dynamics 365 as a CRM; we’re positioning it as a sales collaboration platform. With the combination of Dynamics 365 plus LinkedIn, we’re tapping into key Microsoft capabilities and what they mean for making the work of the salespeople easier. That means using features like CRM Sync for Microsoft Dynamics 365, which lets us easily pull lead details from Dynamics 365 into Sales Navigator, and then log Sales Navigator activity directly into Dynamics 365.”
Capturing the bigger picture of progress in a digital world
With its success growing month-over-month, HP is making plans for future use of Dynamics 365 for Sales and LinkedIn Sales Navigator. The next step is to encourage its vendors to adopt the platforms. HP makes 87 percent of its sales through partners, so this kind of digital shift could be another game-changer for the company.
“Now that we’re seeing extremely good traction, we’re expanding this with our external sales force and our community of channel partners,” says Brissot. “We’re giving them the capability to contract in Sales Navigator. That’s really a big shift in the industry.”
In its adoption of Dynamics 365 for Sales and LinkedIn Sales Navigator, HP has made fast and impressive progress in relationship selling, both for itself and its channel partners. Yet for Brissot, HP’s leadership in this is about more than just relationship selling—it’s about investing in people.
“There’s a much bigger story about how we’re developing HP to work in the future” explains Brissot. “We’re ensuring that our own HP sales reps, as well as our channel partners, will have the tools to succeed in an increasingly digital world.”
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