BASF is one of the largest chemical companies in the world, with offices globally and a commercial strategy envied by all successful companies, whether associated with the group or in direct competition.
In 2002, BASF announced that it’s IT services unit would be set free to make revenues from companies outside the boundaries of the BASF group. As one of the largest SAP software users in Europe – if not the world, directly responsible for the process sector functionality embedded in the SAP product itself, BASF Group felt sure that as a separate business unit, the IT services operations would soon become one of the worlds foremost authorities in SAP use, best practice and its application.
BASF IT Services’ first challenge was ‘how to provide a global approach to market?’
Each country delivered IT services differently in its selling strategy, some preferring to focus on ‘low hanging fruit’ technology opportunities. This led to a mixed and often confused product portfolio, extending of some 100 or more service lines – mostly unconnected and highly technical, indeed solutions that more or less were looking for a problem to resolve.
Education in solution selling was broadly available across the business units but at a sales level this ‘skill’ was polarised – solutions selling for the UK sales teams and component structured selling in core Europe. This meant that a single message was not presented to a customer, describing clarity and with vision BASF IT Services capability and the skills contained within the company. This was proving to be extremely damaging when their customer would typically have multi locations, resulting in a spectrum of views and values presented to them from each of the regional sales contact. Opportunities were lost through a lack of customer understanding or limited view of services on offer.
Anderson Baillie were engaged to help define where best to focus the activities of the UK market. This resulted in a pan European rollout of this strategy as the proposition was accepted and unfurled in new and existing customers.
The first port of call for Anderson Baillie was the core proposition or sales argument – just why would you work with BASF’s IT services company and who would find this the most attractive?
The result, was a defined and strategic focus on the process sector – many of its constituent companies being in direct competition, the value being able to gain access to the thought leadership and strategic thinking of this, their formidable competition!
Presented through a theme, For the Industry, To the industry, From the Industry, Anderson Baillie helped BASF IT Services create and establish a new way of thinking and applying SAP products and services.
This thought leadership would enable their clients to make better use of SAP through an Asset Centric Approach to IT – linking, integrating and combining technology together to improve their IT asset returns.
The result, less need to invest in IT and better returns from existing or past expenditure – vitally important to a globally stretched and oppressed industry.
Business Growth Methodology
Using Anderson Baillie’s Business Growth methodology, theAccount Team audited the current situation and marketopportunity of four existing BT business units that wereto come together to form the new company.
Having established their core proposition, the go-to-market strategy developed for BASF IT Services by Anderson Baillie fell into three areas: improving marketing effectiveness, supporting and developing the sales approach and finally improving the sales and marketing business intelligence.
Working with each of the teams a rollout education programme regarding the proposition and its effectiveness ran in parallel to the creation of campaign tools.
These were both supported by direct reference to the target industries issues and pains that had been gathered by Anderson Baillie to improve communications and education effectiveness.
Launched as an industry wide study, two-way communication was rapidly instilled between BASF, BASF IT Services and the key decision makers of their target industry.
Meeting the demand such focused marketing campaigns generated a Euro wide requirement for a single selling argument – one point of entry into the client, that would enable rapid progression to sale and identification of many other revenue opportunities.
Anderson Baillie assisted in the creation of the Asset Centric Model – a consultative and selling tool that enabled simple articulation of the proposition to any member of the target industry decision making unit and for whatever issue or problem that was to be discussed.
This model Anderson Baillie, then rolled out into sales support audit tools, presentations and collateral.
BASF where now in a position to communicate and sell a single argument – asset centric – that leveraged SAP and also the myriad of other software tools and skills BASF IT Services had acquired over the years of support BASF Group.