Case Study

Rebuilding a global major project sales function

Rebuilding a global major project sales to deliver 30% YoY growth for a market-leading process engineering business

Problem Statement

Build a winning strategy and restructure sales and execution in order to win and deliver big projects


A matrixed process engineering company and global leader in products and services needed a multi-divisional strategy to crack the code to winning and successful execution major projects (€25M+).
Winning major projects was essential in order to deliver on overall growth targets and maintain global market leadership. An integrated approach and strategy, with clear roles and responsibilities, were needed across Key Accounts, Project Pursuit and country Field Sales.


The first step was to create a team and apply the seven-step process, focusing particularly on:

  •  Win-loss analysis on major projects over the previous five years including customer feedback
  • Achieve transparency on divisional expectations, growth contribution and market potential
  • Develop a new go-to-market approach and submit a proposal for approval by the board

Key findings

  1. DIVISION BY DIVISION APPROACH; The company had been highly successful for decades, running an essentially product divisional approach in each country. Budgets, targets, rewards, recognition, roles and responsibilities were all broken out by division and by country. However, to win large projects, the company needed to present a single face to the customer and so a multi-divisional, multi-country approach was essential to securing major projects successfully.
  2. INVESTMENT BY THE COMPETITION IN LINE WITH THE MARKET; The company had fallen behind the competition in investing in securing major projects. This was largely due to the success of the division-by-division approach. The multi-division approach needed specific above-division investment and focus in order to compete and win.


ARTICULATION OF THE OPPORTUNITY – It was critical to raise multi-divisional awareness of the market opportunity and the risks of the current approach. We assessed and shared the market data, identifying the industries and applications targeted for major investment over the next five years and the consequent need for a dedicated team focusing on strategic cross-divisional projects, making a measurable contribution to overall global and divisional profits.

ESTABLISHMENT OF CROSS-DIVISIONAL BUDGET AND COST CENTRE – A dedicated Major Project P&L was established, including measurable KPIs that were aligned with all divisions and world areas.

BUILD THE ‘A’ TEAM – The board agreed to the creation of a full-service team to include Major Project Sales, Proposal and Project Management and to hire the best people at the top of the market. In addition, existing Global Account and EPC teams were merged into one organisation called Strategic Sales.

ARTICULATION OF ‘MAJOR PROJECTS’ STRATEGY AND BUILDING THE NOMINATION PROCESS – A transparent qualification and nomination process was developed to separate ‘Major Projects’ from the rest, ensure clarity and enable the right level of focus for each project. In addition, a standardised global sales and execution tool and process were developed based on Miller Heiman’s consultative selling methodology and PMI project management best practices.

Board approval & Implementation

Prior to board approval, the revised major project strategy was aligned across all 14 divisions and five regions. Following approval, the plan was implemented, and a dedicated team was hired within four months.

In order to embed the new approach to pursuing major projects, communication and ongoing operational alignment were critical. This helped the team to get established, added value and also demonstrated that added value. This was achieved through a comprehensive internal communication process, the core of which was a quarterly multi-divisional multi-country roadshow to review progress, get issues on the table early, create awareness and generate continued buy-in. In addition, regular ‘deal-winning sessions’ where organised for major projects.


There was a rapid improvement in the results achieved: a 30% year-on-year growth rate and 60% improvement in the hit rate. The main contributors to this were ensuring consensus on the opportunity, followed by relentless communication, the embedding of the dedicated team and the standardised sales processes. In addition, the team contributed significantly to the rapid success of global emerging markets (e.g. ME, CEE, Russia), where this new route to market was embraced more easily and was exploited effectively right from the get-go.