CEB Inc. (NYSE:CEB) Q1 2016 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Apr 26, 2016 • 09:00 am ET

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CEB Inc. (NYSE:CEB) Q1 2016 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
operator

I'll turn the conference over to the Company's Chairman and CEO, Mr. Tom Monahan. Please go ahead, sir.

Executive
Tom Monahan

Thanks, everyone, for calling in or logging in. We appreciate the opportunity to bring you up to speed on the continued impact of growth and profitability of our business. I'll kick off the call with comments about our performance in the first quarter, prospective on our pending acquisition of Evanta, and some thoughts on the year ahead. Rich will then provide a more detailed discussion of our financial results and outlook for the remainder of the year. I will then close with a look at our strategic priorities before we take your questions.

I will begin my remarks on slide three. We accomplished a lot in the first quarter and have set ourselves up to deliver client impact, bookings growth and solid profit through the rest of the year. The overall volume of change, along with continued stress in a few challenged sectors, did cost us some mid-quarter bookings momentum. By the end of the quarter, however, our teams were rapidly settling into new roles and driving growth, and bookings momentum improved as we entered Q2.

In addition to managing significant internal change, our teams confronted a fast-changing external environment. Early in the quarter, turbulent equity markets and some mixed economic news put executives in a very cautious frame of mind. As it has been for the past several quarters, this caution was particularly concentrated in a few sectors. By the end of the quarter executives in most sectors were leaning forward again. Even though growth forecasts aren't that strong for many sectors executives across the board are focused again on driving their business forward.

Our efforts in the quarter focused on five areas. First, engaging and renewing our installed base of great companies. Q1 is by far our biggest renewal quarter, and teams focus at this point in the year on securing their renewals for the coming year or two, and, where we can, adding some incremental growth through cross-sell. As I mentioned, we did see somewhat more caution this year than in previous years. The bulk of that caution was concentrated in a few sectors, as we have discussed before. Across the broader market we generally saw solid renewable performance.

You can see combination of these dynamics reflected in our wallet retention rate, which dipped from the 90s down to 89 this quarter, reflecting a world where most industries are comfortably in the 90s and a few are in the low 80s. By the end of the quarter, we were seeing and hearing signals that the challenged industries had begun gearing back up to a new normal, and were open to discussions of relationship growth again. While we're optimistic this will become a tailwind over time, we'd expect that growth this year will come from industries with already healthy economic profiles.

Our second area of focus was evolving our go-to-market approach in North America. As we have discussed, our goals here