IBM Armonk Taps Blended Learning for Financial Selling Enablement

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


IBM Armonk 
New York

Executive Conversation (now part of Corporate Visions International) 
Incline Village, Nevada

FinListics Solutions
Alpharetta, Georgia


The marketplace and client mindset are constantly evolving so sellers must continuously evolve as well. To be successful in today’s environment, IBM sellers require a deeper understanding of the client and must consistently bring value to key decision makers, including C-level executives and business unit leaders.

At this higher level, sellers need to confidently use finance language to effectively engage in business-level dialogues with key client executives (like CFOs) who are involved in supplier relationships and their company's buying decisions. To address these needs, IBM developed a blended learning approach to help drive revenue growth in existing and new clients, and to improve skills that enable the ability to call higher in client organizations, especially outside the IT department.

They identified the need to more deeply link their solutions to business outcomes. IBM also sought to shorten sales cycles and increase deal sizes. They identified the need to increase the sales force’s ability to articulate the financial impact for clients by using a structured methodology that helps shift the mindset of the seller into the client’s perspective as a buyer.

IBM’s return on investment studies validate that its learning strategy is working: New business opportunities are being generated and closed, and sellers are acquiring deeper financial selling skills. Along with qualitative findings, ROI results from a study in the second quarter of 2015 confirmed more than $163 million of revenue and pipeline generation from an investment of just $2.8 million, of which $74 million were new opportunities.

ATD Excellence in Practice Awards are Presented to practices that have demonstrated clear and measurable results of achieving organizational goals, meet a demonstrated need, have appropriate design values, and are clearly aligned with other performance improvement initiatives. These practices have long-term, sustained results. Read about past Excellence in Practice winners by visiting the Winners Archive.

About the Author

Kristen Fyfe-Mills is the associate director of communications for the Association for Talent Development (ATD). In her role she works with ATD staff to plan and execute strategic communications for the association's initiatives and is the primary point of contact for media. Kristen is the executive producer of ATD-TV, manages ATD's public policy efforts and the association's awards programs. Kristen is a published author, coach, and speaker with diverse experience in broadcast journalism, and corporate, and nonprofit communications.

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