In the mid-1990s, SWA worked with MCI on a range of sales effectiveness assignments. We defined models of execution, roles, career paths, and compensation plans in Middle-Market Sales. We also guided MCI to expand the size of its sales force to capture market share while the long-distance telephone industry was young and growing. In helping MCI redesign its hiring process in Sales, we conducted primary research on recruitment and selection by:

  • Enlisting Federal Express, Lanier Worldwide, Microsoft, Motorola, Northwestern Mutual Life, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, and Texas Instruments as participants
  • Preparing in-depth case studies and producing a report describing each company’s practices
  • Hosting a one-day workshop for all participants to review common practices and to create innovative practices
  • Summarizing the results of the workshop and sending it to participants
  • Designing an innovative and professional sales force recruitment and selection system for MCI

MCI expanded its sales force, captured substantial market share, and grew profits rapidly until the WorldCom purchase in 1998. The sales force recruitment and selection system contributed substantially to the company’s success in the middle-market.

Key Lessons

With MCI, we developed our model for conducting primary organizational research that we apply today. We also became experts in recruitment and selection, and we continue to share with our clients the principles of effective sales force recruitment and selection that we formulated at MCI.

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