Post-Merger Integration: Using Assessment to Develop a Best-in-Class Salesforce

Business Issue

A global technology organization had recently merged with a former competitor. As a result, the newly formed organization had two worldwide salesforces with inconsistent go-to-market strategies, development systems, and assessment processes. This led to a lack of linkages across various business groups, regions, and sales roles and a duplication of effort in a number of areas. The Learning and Development function did not have information that would guide their prioritization and allocation of limited development resources. In addition, salespeople and management had little data to guide individual development planning.

The organization needed concrete, real-world data at the individual and organizational level to support the prioritization of limited workforce development resources as they created a Sales University. With assessment results, salespeople would have focused insight on their strengths and development needs and, consequently, would make more informed decisions when entering the University and planning their development.

Prior to the development of the University, Wilson Learning had been engaged by the organization to evaluate the skills of its salesforce. Wilson Learning delivered a global implementation of Salesperson Navigator, a multi-rater assessment instrument. The skill assessment involved use of both client-specific and Wilson Learning competency models. With the development of the University, the organization again engaged Wilson Learning to provide and deliver online assessments to its distributed salesforce.

Solution

The solution consisted of individual multi-rater assessments, knowledge tests, individual reports, group reports, feedback sessions, and data analysis. More specifically, Wilson Learning:

  • Partnered with other vendors to implement assessments, set target scores, and test participants on their product and technology knowledge
  • Provided a mechanism for participants to view and download assessment surveys in 10 different languages
  • Developed a number of status reporting tools that client administrators could use to monitor participation rates
  • Created multiple registration systems to meet the dynamic needs of the customer and its salespeople
  • Developed multiple custom individual and group reports
  • Created a data feed to the organization’s development system

Outcome

Wilson Learning has delivered over 18,000 skill assessments and 10,000 knowledge tests to salespeople in approximately 200 different sales roles. The assessment process has had a very high (90+%) participation and acceptance rate. Their workforce development organization has used the results to guide curriculum design, development, and resource utilization, creating a much more effective and efficient organization. The assessment process has also become the mandatory point of entry into the Sales University program. Salespeople review their assessment results with their managers to create development plans and select learning options in the University.

In addition to continuing to work closely with Wilson Learning to assess its salesforce, the organization continues to collaborate with Wilson Learning to assess other functions such as presale technical roles, product designers, and marketing.

A study by McKinsey shows that the integration of sales organizations from a merger or acquisition ranks as the highest priority and most difficult task for leaders.

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