How One Company Improved Its Sales Velocity by 400%


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The tagline on their website says Success is never an accident … it is always a result of passion.

When, on a recent webinar, Imrana Ghani and Tarek Khalifa of ITS told their story about how they dramatically improved the sales performance at ITS, their passion comes through at every turn; and the remarkable results they achieved were indeed no accident.

In this (edited) transcript from the webinar you will read about sales issues that I think you will find familiar. Facing CRM and sales process adoption challenges, Imrana – an MBA graduate from Halifax, Canada, but now based in the Middle East – led a carefully choreographed initiative that has delivered dramatic results for her company. Tarek, in his sales management role, embraced and informed the activity, and guided his team, and others to reap the rewards.

The results, in terms of improved win rate, growth in average deal size, increased number of opportunities and reduced sales cycle, are all very impressive – an aggregate 400% improvement in sales velocity. I think it is worth reading this story to the end to see the actual numbers they achieved, but also, and more importantly, to learn how they got there.

I’ve edited the transcript for brevity, but hopefully I’ve not edited out any of the passion that has fueled this tremendous success story. So, here, in their own words are Imrana and Tarek.

Background: International Turnkey Systems – ITS, is a leading integrated information technology solutions and software services provider based in Kuwait. It was founded in 1981 and has 3000 employees, and 350 satisfied customers in 45 countries. ITS services the Telecommunications, Financial Services, and Education industries, as well as other large enterprises in Oil & Gas, Government, Defense, Utilities, Transportation and Healthcare.

Imrana Ghani: At beginning of 2007, the executive team at ITS assessed and evaluated the company, set a specific revenue goal for 2015 and developed an action plan to get there. They decided that we needed to introduce a formal sales process. Prior to this, each of the teams had been following their own sales processes and there was no unified language. The other thing that was key was to adopt a CRM system, so that all the information about the customer was retained in the organization.

We had poor adoption of, even though we had invested quite a lot into the technology and into the process. The team felt they were not getting value from the system. There was a lack of understanding of the sales process and poor communication between sales, services, and marketing, which meant we could not best position the company for selling to an account.

Earlier Efforts: Prior to this project we had developed a sales process in which a number of sales tools had been created; paper tools, worksheets and a process guide. We expected the team to record their opportunities in We thought we could retain information about opportunities, understand the length of the sales cycle, and establish how many opportunities the team was working on. We had tried to get another system that would help us integrate with It was a desktop based system – but many of the users did not have access, and those who had access found it difficult to do both activities on desktop and to add additional activities in

The other concern was there was no real formal team selling approach, although our sales process did have account planning activities.

A New Approach: When we looked at those concerns we felt that we needed something that would make it easy to gain the advantages of the tools we had provided them. The team had to perceive the value not just in, but also in the other tools. We needed a single system and it had to be easy enough to use so that they could see the value in all of the tools that we had provided for them.

Starting in August 2009, we went through an extensive evaluation process, and came across Dealmaker. After a few meetings with the team it became clear that this was the solution we were looking for. We found that it gave us not only help with our sales process, but we found that it added value in account planning and forecast management.

We began implementation in November and completed it in a month. In December – supported by the Dealmaker team – we were able to arrange for 5 sessions in Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan and Dubai. By mid-December all teams had completed the pre-work as well as the formal training, and we were confident the team had what they needed.

At the start of February 2010 we had an Opportunity Management initiative, followed by one for Account Management at the end of that month to make sure that the team had a good understanding of the tools and system, and we helped them get into a routine of using the system.

The Benefits and Outcomes: At the beginning of this project we had certain goals to we wanted to achieve, related to the ROI in If anyone is a customer they understand the type of investment it takes. We had invested quite a bit in developing a customized sales process in – though we ended up moving away from that. Actually, though one of the original reasons we selected Dealmaker was its ability to easily customize the sales process to our business, in the end we decided to go with the standard process that came with Dealmaker during the implementation because we found that it matched the process we needed.

The main Return On Investment for us was seeing the team using the system through their daily activities, and actually spending their limited time on the opportunities where they were going to find the best value.

We use the RACI model, and Dealmaker made it easy for us to implement this model where we could track who is Responsible, who is Accountable, who should be Consulted, and who should be Informed. In Dealmaker on the web, it was much easier to do and we did see improved win rate overall. (We will talk about the numbers later.)

There were other benefits that we had not planned for, and one was guided change management. Having tools like the Customer Success Charter from The TAS Group helped us to put together some measurable goals to evaluate our success and continue to manage and track our goals.

Part of my role in Sales Operations is to ensure that our audit of the sales team is managed successfully. We have a number of internal audits through our quality department and we also get certified on ISO for our sales processes. And having a system (Dealmaker) where the documentation, the cycles, and the sales process is integrated reduced the number of non-conformities and improved the overall results.

In my experience the majority of organizations have a reactive approach to selling and it’s very hard to be proactive. Having tools like the Dealmaker forecast management and account planning has helped us to move to more proactive selling.

The Results

Tarek Khalifa: I look at this from a field sales view, not operations. I’m passionate about the sophistication of the enterprise sales process. We deal in multi-million deals, in big companies with big (buying ) teams. I consider Dealmaker to be the platform that supports us.

Usually you find that a lot of sales people follow their feeling on how they assess they opportunities. Sometimes it is good, but I believe that in sophisticated sales this will not work and will not take you to the end of the sale. Dealmaker really gave us a very structured way that we can apply and share throughout the whole sale to manage an opportunity through the whole sales cycle. We do this across

45 countries with virtual teams and many corporate functions. This was very hard before Dealmaker.

Account Management in Dealmaker gave us a good way to share information. Many of our accounts have operations in the different countries and we used to treat them as separate accounts. Dealmaker helped us have a single view and become a better partner with our customers.

How Dealmaker Helps ITS Manage Better: The way that the forecast management in Dealmaker represents what has been closed, the pipeline, the projection, the distribution of deals over time, and the number of deals each account manager is working, is very impressive. Also, we used to look at the total funnel; some account mangers had $6m in their funnel, others had $8m, or $10m. Dealmaker gave insight into managing the funnel and we could see if one account manager had the $8m in one deal, or another in 40 deals. Dealmaker gave us a chance to balance the size and number of deals and distribute them among the account managers. In Dealmaker we could track how deals were being moved from one stage to another, and also highlight deals that are inactive for say 30 days. If a deal (in a late funnel stage) is inactive then we can identify it and help the account manager make progress.

Financial Results

Imrana Ghani: I think it is important when we are looking at these numbers to gauge the success of the project.

We were really looking to see the value that the sales team would gain, not just at the executive or operational level, but also the ‘on the ground’ team.

  • Numbers of Deals: Up 47%
  • Average Deal Size: Up 26%
  • Win Rate: Up 58%
  • Sales Cycle Length: Down 27%

Just looking at these numbers you can see the type of growth we achieved. I know they look large and you can see the impact. As much as I am happy with these, I have to take into account there was a lot of information that had not been entered so that might impact the results.

When we started out we had 37% of management going in to the system. A little over 50% of the sales team was putting in their opportunities. At begin of the year we had an initiative for top down adoption and all presentations are done through Dealmaker and We now have 90% of managers reviewing their deals through Dealmaker.


I think you will agree that the approach taken by ITS to this important initiative was the correct one. The proof I guess is in the results. When we asked a little about what lessons were learned Imrana and Tarek shared the following observations.

  1. Take a top down approach with technology or process Implementation
  2. Involve the sales managers so that they can support their teams
  3. Be pragmatic, and implement incrementally, gain incremental benefit and then implement the next phase.

I think they avoided to mentioned the hard work and passion they brought to the project, and I don’t think that can be undervalued. Having read their account, what other lessons do you think can be taken away from this story. Please share your thoughts.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Donal Daly
Donal is Founder and CEO of The TAS Group the creators of the Dealmaker intelligent sales software application. Donal also founded Software Development Tools - acquired by Wall Data (NASDAQ: WALL), NewWorld Commerce, The Customer Respect Group and Select Strategies. Donal is author of five books including his recent #1 Amazon Bestseller Account Planning in Salesforce. He can be found on his blog at or on Twitter @donaldaly


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