Procter & Gamble (P&G) is a Fortune 500 consumer goods manufacturer operating in approximately 180 countries around the world. Over the last few decades, large-scale retail consolidation and the spread of “big-box” stores has led to new challenges in reaching commercial agreements with sales partners. Realizing that they needed to adapt, P&G asked CBI to help build their negotiation capacity by delivering tailored trainings and coaching to the company's Customer Business Development (CBD) group – a 36,000 member sales team responsible for negotiating with distributors.
In order to quickly and thoroughly assess the particular negotiation challenges faced by P&G, CBI conducted a negotiations audit in advance of a one-day summit for senior leaders in the CBD group. CBI covered the Mutual Gains Approach to negotiation, and carefully customized the training to fit within the CBD context. As part of the training, we wrote and produced a professional-grade film that follows a protagonist through her negotiations with a retail leader. CBI also developed a ‘fishbowl’ simulation exercise that featured a complex, multi-issue retail negotiation – with participants alternately observing and playing the negotiators, and everyone discussing and debriefing the simulated negotiation as it played out.
At the request of various senior CBD leaders, CBI conducted follow-up trainings designed to bring entire negotiation teams – rather than just senior leaders – up to speed on the Mutual Gains Approach and to apply it to critical imminent negotiations. In these sessions CBI helped P&G negotiators develop valuable, in-depth strategies and coached them through key moments in their negotiations. We also trained trainers within P&G to play the role of the coach.
Following the trainings, P&G asked CBI to evaluate the company's existing negotiation training approach. CBI helped them align their existing courses with the Mutual Gains Approach; ensured that their three levels of negotiation training were pedagogically sound; and, developed customized, contextually relevant learning materials, such as simulation exercises and training videos.
CBI produced a number of customized training videos for P&G, including the feature film described above, and 20 brief vignettes that helped illustrate key choices and behaviors and contrast them with less productive ones.
CBI also set up a summit for Procter & Gamble and Hewlett-Packard teams who don’t compete with one another but do negotiate with many of the same counterparts. The summit confronted participants with key negotiation challenges from their contexts and allowed them to share learning and best practices with one another.
P&G found the Mutual Gains Approach to be both analytically sound and a very good cultural fit for the company. The simulations and films that CBI developed have been widely adopted by the company's training teams. After working closely with the CBD group for several years, CBI was recognized by Procter & Gamble as one of four key organizations to have significantly improved the group’s capabilities.