“Firstly, and importantly Grainne and People Vision took great time to understand fully the PVM Field Sales business and our requirements before putting together a great sales training platform. The bite sized training really helped our teams and individuals get the best out of the time and then had time to try things in the field before receiving further training and feedback. The program is now fully embedded in our ways of working and delivering great, consistent sales results across new and longer term sales team members.”
Sometimes I design and deliver sales training programmes for other training companies – and this is a perfect example of this working brilliantly! This time I’ve included the case study as it does a great job of explaining why it worked so well.
Perfetti Van Melle is a highly innovative global confectionery company with the best-selling sugar-free confectionery brand in the UK within its portfolio. Distribution of their products is through the major supermarkets as well as through travel outlets, symbol groups and independent retailers.
The Field Sales team of 30 people supports the national account team in ensuring ongoing product listings in major retail stores are secure and promotions are maximised. PVM recognised the opportunity for the Field Sales team to be even more proactive in calls and to sell significantly higher volumes.
PVM asked People Vision to create a sales training programme which set a new standard of sales excellence yet harnessed the individual creativity, agility and resourcefulness of the PVM Territory Sales Managers.
It needed to not only build confidence and skills in the best practice PVM way of selling but also foster a culture of sharing innovative approaches and successes.
This newly defined sales excellence framework would also be key in supporting the Regional Sales Managers to develop their team members and get new starters selling as quickly as possible.
The Territory Sales Managers are split across three regions and only meet as one team a couple of times each year. Running training in only one location would involve extensive travel and time out of the sales role for many of the team.
Amongst the total team of 27 TSMs there is a broad range of experience and skill and a range of ‘home-made’ approaches to selling. Until now these individual approaches had appeared to serve them well. The shift in emphasis from ensuring compliance in stores to actively selling is an uncomfortable change for some of the team members but a pivotal one in achieving higher targets.
With such a large team constructing a sales training programme which encouraged everyone to participate and benefit would require a creative and engaging approach.
Our sales training consultant (Grainne Ridge) facilitated an initial session with the Field Sales Management Team to define the best fit sales approach for their specific sales environment. They identified 10 steps and drafted the sales behaviours which would drive success in each of these steps. A key goal was to raise the overall standard in sales, also encouraging those who were already successful to stretch themselves. By defining three levels of behaviours they created a way to communicate and set expectations for team members at all levels of experience.
Over a period of six months, Grainne delivered four bitesize training modules at each of the regional team meetings to develop the sales behaviours. The new sales behaviours were practised, honed and successes shared.
In between sessions Regional Managers coached on the new sales behaviours and adapted feedback to reflect the new way of selling.
In a final session Grainne worked with the Field Sales Management Team to develop their coaching and mentoring skills and their confidence in supporting their team to deliver field sales excellence.
During and since the training completed there has been a notable increase in the planning, consistency across the team and confidence to challenge the status quo and look for more opportunities. This has resulted in an increase in orders captured for promotional activity and the size of these orders. We are seeing far more visibility and impact being made in stores through the team presenting more professionally and with flair to gain win / win outcomes with trade partners.
By using the same model of observe-able behaviours across the teams the Regional Sales Managers are seeing common areas for further development and pool their resources to deliver targeted training.
Chris Rainbow, National Field Sales Manager, Perfetti Van Melle