Ascential Plc is a FTSE250 listed, global information company serving customers in 150 countries from 39 offices. Ascential helps its clients win in the digital economy and focuses on solving problems for its clients principally in three disciplines: Product Design, Sales & Marketing. Brands in the Group include Cannes Lions, WARC, MediaLink, Money20/20, WGSN, Retail Week and Edge by Ascential.


We needed to make a rapid change in our direction to get our organisation and sales teams 100% focussed back on serving our customers. Positive Momentum were instrumental in ensuring we achieved this step change very quickly but more importantly sustainably.

Duncan Painter Chief Executive, Ascential

What did the client need?

The private equity shareholders, since the buy-out from the public markets in 2008, primary focus had been maintaining their share equity in the deepest recession since the 1930’s. However, in 2010, despite very tough market conditions the shareholders nevertheless felt that the original thesis of their buy-out case remained intact i.e. strongly valued brands and good products in resilient markets, and that therefore there was potential for growth to return as the primary objective of the business. This dramatically reenergised optimism for the organisation resulted in an immediate and considerable change in both strategy and business emphasis. A massive focus on the effectiveness of both the people and processes associated with Sales and Marketing across the group was instigated with the senior leadership team placing this at the very epicentre of their efforts.

How did it work

Positive Momentum were invited to assist very early in the development of this new strategy and built rapid and very close relationships with all the key senior leaders and their teams. Given the seismic and potentially disruptive nature of many of the plans it was necessary to work quickly and effectively in establishing credibility and gaining the trust of this core group.

What did Positive Momentum do?

  1. Advised on a sales leadership delayering programme
  2. Assessed each MD individually both one-to-one and via 360° surveys
  3. Redesigned the core sales compensation principles and methodologies
  4. Designed, coordinated and led a set of group wide communication events including a group wide Sales and Marketing conference and leadership summits
  5. Advised on pre-CRM KPI tracking tools and methodologies
  6. Designed and delivered a programme of Sales Leadership effectiveness training
  7. Designed and delivered a programme of B2B Sales Effectiveness training
  8. Advised on the delivery of an Elite programme of recognition events
  9. Ongoing coaching and transformational consultancy with all Operating Companies

What were the results?

After four years of top line decline, within less than 12 months of this new strategy, and in challenging trading conditions, the group has very successfully re-ignited meaningful growth (7% year-on-year) and is very much on course to achieve double digit growth in the full second year.


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