Why creating a sales academy could be the best move your organisation ever makes
Sales excellence does not happen by chance, and any manager worth their key to the executives’ drinks cabinet knows that continual training and development are the foundations of an exceptional sales team.
Hiring the right people is only the start of it, and a good manager wouldn’t dream of leaving a new member to their own devices. A sales induction is essential for getting new salespeople off to a great start.
But the training shouldn’t stop here.
Without the right kind of guidance,coaching and advice, even the most stellar salespeople can lose their mojo.
Every salesperson no matter where they are in their careers and regardless of how much success they have under their belt can profit from continuous, relevant learning and growth.
Creating an academy involves establishing a competency framework that details what is required to achieve the objectives for any given role.
With this in place meaningful discussions can take place between the individual and his or her manager about the skills and capabilities they already have and what is required to further develop them.
This can involve a broad range of learning and coaching tools and approaches, such as bespoke courses and workshops, books, DVDs and internet based-resources.
In short, a sales academy is a smart development programme that guides people through their careers. And for managers, it can also be a way of delivering measurable and sustainable change.
We recently created a sales academy for the online food ordering giant, JUST EAT. We simplified their existing competency framework and built specially designed training resources and a calendar of bespoke training events that were synonymous with excellence at JUST EAT.
The results of this academy were an increase in staff engagement, a significant uplift in training undertaken and higher than expected sales numbers.
Benefits of sales academies
Introducing a sales academy avoids the disappointments and low return on investment that many organisations experience when they buy sales training.
Among the reasons for their poor success rates from training are:
- Difference departments buying training on their own with no company-wide coordination
- Buying standalone courses because they feel they have to rather than part of a specific and sustainable plan for sales development
- Buying generic courses
- Poor or no follow-up after courses
- Buying courses from different suppliers, all with different language and approaches.
An academy is a structured approach to developing the revenue-generating engine of your company. It allows you to build salespeople that are experts at selling your brand. They’re loyal, motivated and have a clear progression plan.
In other words, the perfect salesperson.
With a sales academy in place, salespeople will know what they need to do to progress and develop, while sales management will know the competencies they need to being on and nurture.
Academies provide focus and crystal-clear clarity that ultimately contributes to a continually winning sales team.
The key benefits of sales academies are that they:
- Boost revenue growth
- Deliver a healthy return on sales training investment
- Provide career progression
- Reduce staff turnover
- Motivate staff to learn and develop
- Provide a rewarding, motivating and enriching environment to work in
- Create a strong coaching culture
- Deliver training to exactly where it is needed.
A pathway to greater success
While there is nothing wrong with short-term fixes to plug competency gaps or to firefight a problem, sales academies are powerful and long-term strategic tools that support and individual’s journey of self-discovery and development.
Building academies requires clear objectives, long-term commitment, a supportive management, defined and measurable performance goals and a strong connection between organisational and personal objectives.
For companies that are willing to implement them, they can make all the difference between winning and losing, success and failure.
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