The upfront challenges of shifting from a product-based to a subscription-based provider — in a formalized, cross-organizational, and profitably sustainable manner — was a catalyst for sweeping change at Axway.
Axway, a €300.0 million publicly-traded information technology organization with dual headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, and Paris, France, embraced transformation before the company switched to a subscription-based solution. Leadership roles were disrupted. The solution packaging was shifting. The entire culture was ripe for positive change. Mereo helped Axway hone-in on a number of roadblocks it would face as it raced toward its goals, including its sales enablement strategies and practices. Through the action plan grounded in tighter partnership with each client, Axway revamped its go-to-market strategy, as well as aligned as an organization across geographies for immediate results that have only created momentum for future success.
How Axway transformed its sales enablement practices for success during its greatest season of sweeping change – here is their sales enablement story.
Challenges in Time of Change
Axway knew that in its transformation to a subscription-based solution, it would need to revolutionize how it launched products, educated sales teams and spoke with its customers. Yet, the organization was struggling from common pitfalls that would impede the implementation of these changes:
- The organization was fragmented by geography and departments, resulting in disparate messaging and go-to-market disconnect.
- Current salespeople lacked formal skills and conversation training. They were accustomed to pitching products and rarely looked to engage buyers to understand their needs first before communicating a compelling value proposition.
- The go-to-market strategy lacked alignment between product, sales and marketing teams.
Mereo saw ample opportunity to overcome Axway’s current challenges through sales enablement activities. Led by the global head of marketing, Axway first set out to create playbooks that would (1) bring together and align leadership across functions for input and development and (2) support the upcoming sales kickoff with effective messaging tools for salespeople — while also (3) building-up formalized and aligned content that marketing could use for campaigns.
This initiative was unprecedented at Axway. More than 60 people within the organization came together across three, two-day workshops in the United States and a two-day workshop in Paris. Axway even brought in three executives from the Mereo Decision Maker Network™, who provided real-time buyer input and validation to the value messaging framework being created.
Next, Axway embedded sales enablement into their sales kickoff, a gathering that had historically been more of a festive celebration of the global sales team. To maximize the value of the session, Axway’s leadership asked salespeople to bring a real opportunity that was directly developed during the sales enablement session with new techniques. During a subsequent sales kickoff, marketing was given even more agenda to educate and train sales on relevant differentiated value messaging.
Over the last two years, Axway has provided additional in-field enablement sessions around new solution offerings and how to sell with the compelling messaging the marketing team had prepared. This cadence of sales enablement has afforded Axway the platform to expand on these efforts from the sales kickoffs and reinforce what was learned.
“Marketing had been generating a lot of leads that hadn’t been going anywhere. And sales is accountable for 70% of the pipeline, so marketing’s impact is higher by focusing on this alignment and support rather than staying silo-ed in the marketing department. With Mereo’s help, we were able to make a bigger impact with my team and its capabilities through sales enablement,” said Josh Hardy, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Axway.
Gains … and Counting
This transformational period could have resulted in a number of ways for Axway, some not positive. But, with Mereo’s partnership, the talented Axway teams helped the company realize a successful year in its shift to a subscription-based solution model, including:
- Realized growth in marketing-generated opportunities, up 53% in 2017, 58% in 2018 and 28% in 2019.
- Supported commercial momentum of the subscription business, which saw 7.5% growth in 2018 reaching revenue of €3 million, and 17.2% growth in 1H 2019 reaching revenue of €23.1 million. Organically, the business grew by 4.4% year-on-year.
- Improved sellers’ confidence and capability to engage prospects in effective conversations by 33% overall instilling value-based selling approaches and employing Axway value messaging through an in-person and eLearning sales enablement curriculum.
- Employed an interactive training approach as part of sales kickoff that leveraged sales-selected target accounts as the focal of exercises. 49.7% of these registered opportunities progressed to close by utilizing concepts and techniques learned and/or honed at the kickoff.
- Increased marketing and sales enablement content at sales kickoffs from 1.5 hours in 2017 to a full day of content in 2018, to 2.5 days of content and enablement in 2019, refocusing on education and preparing to succeed in the year to come.
- Experienced growth in return on marketing per business closed by 76% in 2018 and 41% in 2019, for a total of 148% cumulative growth from 2017 to 2019.
This momentum with sales enablement among other initiatives has remained strong, and recent numbers continue to show great achievement:
- 1,583 more MQLS than 2018
- 277 more opportunities created than 2018
- 257 wins with direct marketing attribution that have closed this year
- 84% increase in ROI on variable marketing spend since 2017
- 55% of total opportunities created this year were for net new logos
For the full Axway client value story, visit Mereo.co/our-clients.