Being a value-added distributor in a mature electronic component market is increasingly challenging. Consolidation amongst competitors has caused the marketplace to be almost equally split between several companies. With virtually no difference in the products being sold, this organization saw an opportunity to emerge as the market leader by establishing consistently excellent customer service.
Gaining new customers has become arduous and expensive. Keeping its existing client base is imperative for the company’s success in the future. The Director of People Development for this Electronics Component for the Americas explained, “We really want our employees to dive deeper into the needs of their customers and develop a consultative relationship with them.” To that end, they decided to invest in sales training for the Electronics Marketing Americas division.
As an organization, one of the goals is to have an organization—from sales to operations to product management to supply chain management—that is functional and collaborative across each group. From a customer perspective, the company wanted to be seen as a customer-centric organization with extensive global resources and an expertise in supply chain management. To accomplish these goals, the company partnered with Wilson Learning to develop a comprehensive and customized sales training initiative specific to multiple job functions within the Electronics Marketing Americas division.
The designed solution was aligned with the corporate strategic model and supported by three main pillars:
- Profitable Growth: To become the preferred distribution partner for its customers and suppliers
- Operational Excellence: To continuously improve each customer’s experience while increasing employee productivity
- People Development: To attract, develop, and engage the best employees in the industry
The three pillars stand on a base of the Performance- and Values-Based Culture of Excellence that includes: Integrity, Customer Service, Accountability, Teamwork, and Innovation. The company believes that by training all of those in the Electronics Marketing Americas division, they can achieve the above goals and desired outcomes.
To start the training initiative, the Sales & Marketing Representatives (SMRs) attended a week of training at the company’s first-ever inside sales meeting. At this conference, almost 600 SMRs were trained in a configured one-day version of Wilson Learning’s Inbound Sales Excellence™. From this event, the feedback was very positive. One participant stated that “the course was a practical but logical approach to solution selling” and another sales leader stated that the course “enabled our team to think beyond the transaction.”
To develop consistent consultative selling skills across the division, the company continued to train others outside of the SMR group. Both the Field Application Engineers and the Account Managers, nearly 1,000 people, attended a different customized version of the program that addressed face-to-face sales situations. The final group of 650 Business Solutions Group employees also participated in a version customized to their job functions to maximize relevancy and connection to the training.
Reinforcement was a critical component to ensure application of the new skills and performance change. Internal advocates were present at each class to support the training and engage participants in the group exercises or conversations.
Prior to the successful completion of phase one of the implementation, the division and Wilson Learning started designing the second phase of the sales training focused on negotiations.
Reinforcement materials and continuous management support have ensured strong adoption of the new skills and behaviors.