Vice President of Sales Enablement, Thomson Reuters Legal
Digital Marketing Transformation and Sales Effectiveness
With more than 45,000 professionals, in 100+ countries and over 100 years of experience, Thomson Reuters provides professionals with the intelligence, technology and human expertise they need to find trusted answers. A $3.4 Billion division of its parent company, Thomson Reuters Legal (TRL) is the leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals in the legal industry. Serving over 350,000 customers in distinct markets, TRL delivers legal research and practice management solutions, and products for lawyers and support staff, general counsels and their teams, regulatory bodies, government, judges, law enforcement, academics and students.
For over a decade, TRL had received disappointing customer satisfaction surveys claiming the large-scale organization was simply “too difficult to do business with.” The division’s tens of thousands of SKUs, lack of standardized templates and pricing, and overly-complex and inconsistent terms and conditions, led to a negative customer buying experience and also presented compliance issues. Additionally, in 2014 TRL surveyed its 1,000+ sales professionals & found that only 56% of their time was spent with prospective customers and the remainder – a whopping 44% – was spent on “administrative burdens” of preparing for value-based selling discussions. One of the main reasons for the lengthy prep and complex quoting process was that TRL’s sales teams had to navigate through 14 different sources of information – legacy systems, browsers, and information repositories – to obtain product & pricing information, and to get exceptions approved in order to generate an accurate price quote. Clearly, it was imperative to reduce the amount of time spent on administrative work and to increase facetime with clients, and engage with them in a more meaningful way. So, when Craig Eiter, VP of Sales Enablement received a charter to improve the customer experience and better enable his global sales force, he knew he needed to modernize his entire “Order Capture” strategy.
While restructuring Order Capture had been mandated prior, its efforts in turning SAP into an agile order entry system remained fruitless. Craig knew a new vendor needed to be selected. First, TRL needed a tool that allowed them to configure business rules & seamlessly administrate the behind the scenes for their 1,000+ sales team. Another was to automate quoting – creating proposals in real-time, & handle TRL’s large volume of 100K print & 20K online products. Craig took a methodical approach in vendor selection, which lasted 6 months. TRL evaluated 8 vendors, reduced to 3 and then to 2. For 30 days, they set up products/processes in the 2 sandboxes, focusing on simplicity, avoiding customizations, & how the tool would affect the UX – both for sales & prospects. The team complied scorecards measuring UX for sales, how well it fit into TRL’s architecture, & its future vision, & looked at total cost of ownership.
In the end, TRL selected Apttus the leader in Quote-to-cash and from day 1 of the implementation process, organizational readiness was top of mind. Craig and his team knew what they were going to be up against with having to train more than 1,000 people who had been using a legacy system for 10-15 years. As a result, they made sure to always have a trainer at the table when determining workflows, as well as change management resources available at all times – not just towards the end. Additionally, for the duration of the implementation daily standing meetings were held at 7:30am CT with leaders from different departments in Colorado, California, the UK, and India to discuss new insights or make relevant decisions to keep the project momentum going. The implementation kicked off on April 4th, 2016 and in November of that year, TRL began a test trial with 40 “early adopter” sales reps. Throughout the test run, the team deployed an agile-like methodology which was critical to their success. For example, every 2-3 weeks the team designed, built, delivered and played back potential workflows. Throughout the duration, TRL ran 11 or 12 sprints and continued to successfully build out more complex use cases and scenarios as a result. Eleven months after signing the contract, TRL went live on February 13, 2017 with the remaining 1000+ sales professionals responsible for $200 Millions of annual incremental new businesses and annual renewal revenues of $600 Million.
At the time the following metrics were gathered, TRL had only been live with Apttus for 1.5 months–yet the results speak for themselves. One of the earliest successes was the consolidation of 14 sources of information from legacy systems, browsers & information repositories into 1 main system: Apttus. As a result of this effort, TRL decreased order configuration time by 90% & cut held orders by 95%. Previously, a typical complex order of their WestLaw product would take up to 2 hours to assemble, yet after deploying Apttus & reducing complexity, the process was shortened to 10-15 minutes – 8 times faster. It’s no surprise that due to the new efficiency gains, adoption of the solution skyrocketed. According to Craig by the end of February 2017 (2 weeks after go-live), 23% of all new orders were processed through the new system. That number increased to 49% by the end of March & by the end of April, the number had jumped to 52%, representing 17,000 issued quotes & 8,000 accepted orders in just 56 days. It also important to note, that TRL still has their legacy order capture system in play and isn’t planning to pull the plug until Q4 2017 – meaning the high adoption rates of the new system have been entirely voluntary. As a result of project’s success, TR is in the also rolling out Apttus to the rest of the divisions within legal, & is currently deploying it in both its Finance/Risk business, and its Tax business.
- Apttus Configure-Price-Quote
- Apttus Contract Lifecycle Management
- Apttus eCommerce
One of the biggest impacts TRL’s new Order Capture strategy had on the business was the drastic and immediate shift in customer satisfaction. Recently, Craig and his team telephonically surveyed the first 1,284 new customers that purchased through the updated technology process. Incredibly, net promoter score results increased from an abysmal 24%, to a staggering 68% YOY. Customers now had a better understanding of what they were contracting for, and the automated e-signature process made it so sales representatives could construct and close a deal in one sitting. Partnering with Apttus to streamline selling and to simplify sales process, also provided some internal lightbulbs to go off within Thomson Reuters Legal. The organization had to come to terms with that due its tens of thousands of product SKUs, TRL’s multi-billion-dollar suite of products was too overwhelming and needed to be commercially simplified. Working very closely with the different segment teams, Craig had to influence his marketing partners, who own the customer and revenue dollars, to simply its products to have a more thoughtful migration path. After much work went into streamlining the number of products and the permutations and combinations that a sales rep could offer, the WestLaw product for example, was reduced from 20,000 SKUs down to 1,200. According to Craig, the bigger and more simplified packages have been well received and are truly resonating in the marketplace.
Quotes from reps: “Starting as a new sales rep, I love the layout of order capture and found it easy to learn and to jump right into” “I was an early adopter and its crazy how far the system has come along. Truly excited for what the future holds with this.” “I love the dynamic bundling of products to show only one price.” “I like the ‘one-stop-shop’ format, it’s saving me at least 2 hours per week!”