Elevating Land and Expand: How Burning Glass’s Successful “Land and Expand” Strategy Led to Remarkable Sales Growth

You can’t eat a whole elephant in one bite.  Start with what needs to be solved right now without losing sight of expansion opportunities.  Winalytics helped us develop this idea into an intentional ‘land and expand’ strategy that helped accelerate both initial sales and expansion sales to grow by 50% year-over-year.”

Ellen Mayes

Vice President of Institutional Partnerships, Burning Glass Technologies

Engagement Highlights

  • Accelerated the ‘land’ motion for initial sales by getting prospects to clarify phase one, phase two, and phase three priorities
  • Accelerated the ‘expand’ motion by elevating customer success conversations to a more strategic level that carried forward the focus on identified expansion areas
  • Increased revenue achievement by 50% in the first 6 months of 2021 as compared to the first 6 months of 2020

 

 

Challenge

Burning Glass Technologies is the world’s leading labor market analytics company and provides real-time data on jobs and skills trends to companies, governments, and higher education institutions.  Burning Glass’s Higher Education sales team works with colleges and universities to apply this real-time data to a number of areas, including helping with undergraduate enrollments,  graduate enrollments, academic portfolio management, career services for student success, and workforce development partnerships to align certificate programs with the needs of employers.

The breadth of use cases for the Burning Glass platform across campus is both a strength and a weakness. While there are lots of buyers from different parts of campus who can be engaged, the breadth of appeal means finding focus can be challenging once a lot of stakeholders with different interests are involved. What often happened was that these stakeholders from across campus would all end up participating in a product discussion and demonstration, but there was no narrative for how Burning Glass could engage with the institution to drive the most value. The lack of clear priorities and focus caused momentum to slow and stakeholders to disengage.

 

Solution

Winalytics worked with the Burning Glass team to develop a more consistent ‘land and expand’ motion that was the ‘secret sauce’ the sales team needed. The approach focused on specific strategies to accelerate initial sales, maintain focus on client goals through the hand-off from Sales to Customer Success, and then elevate Customer Success conversations to a more strategic level to further build the partnership and expand into new campus areas.

To accelerate initial sales, Winalytics worked with Ellen Mayes, the Vice President of Institutional Partnerships, and her entire team on developing strong Mutual Success Plans. This gave the team a structure for gathering a lot of information about where there might be value across campus while also working closely with stakeholders to prioritize the most actionable, highest-need area that had an existing budget. The goal was to land on what emerged as the highest priority, while also documenting all the expansion options that were identified through the sales cycle, ideally with specific second and even third priorities identified and agreed by the client institution.

The second part of the work focused on developing a very intentional hand-off from Sales to Customer Success, using the Mutual Success Plan as a vehicle for continuing conversations with new clients. The Mutual Success Plan clearly spelled out for the Customer Success team what goals the client was trying to achieve with the first implementation, as well as where they might want to go next. The Customer Success team then referred to this when following up with the client, eliminating the need to re-discover where the client might find additional value after their first goals were met.

In the final phase of the work, Winalytics worked directly with the Customer Success team on developing a more strategic approach to their quarterly reviews with clients. The team, led by Jeremy Kelly, adopted a practice of starting every customer success call with a reminder of the goal areas that had been identified earlier, re-confirming the goals with the client, then discussing any adjustments or new areas of need that could be addressed by the Burning Glass platform. In effect, the team continued to utilize and revise the Mutual Success Plan to build and expand the client relationship.

 

Results

Within a year of working with Winalytics, the Burning Glass Higher Ed team was significantly accelerating both initial sales and expansion sales. In the first 6 months of 2021, their revenue was 50% higher than it had been in the first 6 months of 2020. Ellen Mayes credits the new ‘land and expand’ strategy, anchored by the Mutual Success Plan with helping her team achieve these results. “You can’t eat a whole elephant in one bite,” is how she puts it. “There are lots of things a buyer may want to do, but we have to help them identify and address the most pressing thing now.”