Situation: In the wake of a major acquisition, a leading technology hardware company had increased their sales organization to more than 2,800 account management, technical sales and first-line sales management resources. They knew intuitively that sustainable sales success depends on nurturing a well-trained sales force, but during current economic times it is difficult to allocate the time and dollars to train reps effectively. The company needed to assess their training needs and prioritize a training roadmap for each sales constituent on an individualized basis. They lacked insight into the learning and knowledge gaps in the organization that could inform the development of new and more cost effective training modules. The same training was offered to all sales resources, regardless of geography, product type or seller role.
Challenge: The company wanted to assess training needs and uncover gaps in current rep / manager capabilities in each of the two pre-merger organizations, and compare with best-in-class sales organizations. They also wanted to identify and prioritize organizational training initiatives and individual training needs for the sales force for customized delivery geared to geography, product type and seller role.
Solution: Alexander Group developed and verified the role profiles that served as the basis for training planning surveys. We developed new survey tools, analytical models and delivery mechanisms to ensure timely survey delivery, administration, and analysis. With this analysis, Alexander Group successfully mapped more than 500 existing training modules to survey responses, and recommended elimination and investment opportunities to make training more efficient. This created behavioral cohort groups to compare individual responses to feedback from the larger group. Finally, we were able to evaluate training in the dimensions of need and importance for both individual and group – and further prioritize if both were high.
Benefits: The major benefit was the creation of a definitive and prioritized learning and development roadmap for all sales, technical sales and first line sales management personnel. Individual Development Plans (IDPs) were enthusiastically received by the field and now serve as the basis for all training planning. Additionally:
- Training participation has increased by nearly 30% since the delivery of IDPs
- Based on survey results, several planned training modules were identified as unnecessary, resulting in an immediate savings of millions of dollars of the client’s training budget
- The client will continue to use the training planning survey as a means to evaluate rep development and to measure progress of the sales force integration resulting from acquisition