Global Leader Closes Salesforce’s Skill Gaps to Maximize Return on Investment

Business Issue

A sanitization and sterilization company was growing quickly through acquisition. To maintain their competitive edge, the organization needed to better utilize their sister companies to sell integrated solutions. Leaders were planning profound infrastructure, strategy, and organizational changes to enable the long-term growth strategy of becoming a total solutions provider. A critical piece of this change involved transforming the salesforce.

The organization’s salesforce used a product-focused and transactional approach to sales. They were comfortable calling on existing buy points and were reluctant to position products from their sister companies.

The Global VP of Sales recognized that long-term growth depended on the salesforce’s ability to call higher, wider, and deeper, engage new buy points, position new products, and sell value versus price. He recognized the key to success was providing concrete data to global salesforce leads so each region could determine how best to support the sales transformation.

Solution

The organization engaged Wilson Learning to help diagnose the current state of the salesforce and define plans to support all divisions in the shift to integrated solution selling. Wilson Learning implemented its multi-rater assessment to identify the salesforce’s strengths and development opportunities.

The project kicked off with a series of context-setting sessions that communicated how the organization planned to support the salesforce in the transformation. To provide salespeople and sales leaders with a clear sales development path, competency models defined the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics for effective sales performance, serving as the assessment’s foundation.

The global salesforce completed a 180-degree multi-rater assessment to measure current and desired performance, enabling salespeople and managers to receive targeted, prioritized feedback.

Assessment results were provided at the organizational, group, and individual levels, determining the sales development activities that would have the biggest performance impact. Targeted results pinpointed the specific sales development activities that would have the biggest payoff, promoting buy-in among regional leaders and the salesforce.

At the global sales meeting, a personal development workshop assisted sales and sales leadership in interpreting their individual results. Guidance on how to initiate and conduct a development planning conversation helped close their identified gaps.

Using the results, the organization defined a two-year sales curriculum. Year One developed the salesforce’s consultative sales skills to help the salesforce call higher and wider. The planned Year Two curriculum includes negotiation and advanced sales skills.

Outcomes

The solution equipped the company’s leadership with the ability to support organizational change from the top down. The salesforce developed the behaviors needed to call higher and wider, with sales management coaching to these specific behaviors. Each region implemented its own development plan, creating greater accountability and support.

Based on the organizational report, senior leadership unanimously supported the implementation of Wilson Learning’s The Counselor Salespersonconsultative selling program. The first session was delivered face-to-face in an instructor-led classroom environment. When COVID-19 brought a halt to travel, salespeople completed the program through a blended delivery option with e-learning. After each e-learning module, a live virtual learning session reinforced key skills. An Extended Learning System provided coaching tips to managers and feedback to participants on their assignments.

Using this approach, sales managers and senior sales leaders reported observable progress toward closing skill gaps identified by the multi-rater assessment. Senior leaders were pleased that all sales development efforts and investments were directed at the greatest skill gaps, thereby maximizing their sales training return on investment.

When COVID-19 brought a halt to travel, salespeople completed the program through a blended delivery option with e-learning.

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