The customer is a large and growing registered broker/dealer and investment advisory subsidiary of one of the world’s largest financial services firms. They offer services and products available to individuals and small businesses including:
Business, retirement, and estate planning
The company’s senior management team faced many complex issues including increased competitive pressures.
They wanted to achieve several very important objectives including
increasing share of wallet
A key to their sales strategy was developing special relationships with talented, capable financial professionals in their local communities. Sales associates were very good at selling a financial plan, but not good at selling the complete suite of services and products.
The company hires over 1,250 new financial planners every year. The company wanted to get salespeople up to speed more quickly so that timeframes to make sales would be reduced, and revenue generation would increase. In addition, they wanted all sales managers to actively coach salespeople by reinforcing the training once associates completed the program and to help associates implement the skills on the job.
We proposed an approach built on four components needed to be in place for real performance improvement to occur:
Effective employee knowledge and skill development.
Integrated tools and processes.
Measurement and Feedback to assess performance.
Management Alignment -to produce business results.
Associates needed to learn how to build trust and develop effective questioning techniques to uncover each customer’s real needs. They needed to get better at discovery.
With the involvement of senior management, the company integrated a defined sales and sales management process that measures, tracks, and holds salespeople accountable for increased performance.
The president of the company announced the project to the whole population, tying it to business drivers and a consistent sales system. We had a senior sales executive kick off each manager session. It was mandatory for all managers to attend the programs prior to the new hires or experienced salespeople, so that they could learn how to coach to the new sales behaviors.
We are providing a blended solution consisting of customized sales skills training for the sales associates, combining Web-based e-learning with live workshop facilitation. This included teaching the regional vice presidents (RVPs) and executive vice presidents (EVPs) how to coach and sustain the new selling behaviors of their sales associates, as well as training internal facilitators to lead the programs.
New associates begin their training in the field through an asynchronous program within two months of being hired. The Web-based program tracks individual competence in the course content; completion of the program ensures each participant is proficient before being allowed to proceed to the facilitator-led Application workshop. This ensures that all participants have a basic common level of understanding of the techniques and processes required in the CSP program, without using valuable classroom time.
Upon completion of the e-learning, associates will receive assignments to work on prior to attending a two-day live Application workshop at the 90-day mark.
Sales managers attend an Application day workshop that is specifically focused on learning coaching techniques for the process.
We also certified facilitators for the Application workshop and Managing Sales Performance.
“Thank you for all of the support. The program is getting noticed at the highest levels. It is the ‘good news’ in a sea of turmoil and change. Your efforts are greatly appreciated!”
Speaking of the “highest levels,” here is a comment from the president of the company:
“Keep the feedback coming. It’s good to hear some positive news!”
And these comments from a highly successful district manager:
“I wanted to let you know that I consider myself lucky to have been part of the program. We have not had a good, solid sales program to teach our new associates the ‘psychology of the sale’ in quite a few years. Many of the associates that we hire, even if they are ‘gold,’ have never sold in their lives. The sales training program complements our financial planning strategy.”
The implementation is a success. Associates are building trust with customers. Sales managers are utilizing reinforcement techniques and tools and are coaching to the new selling system.
On average new sales associates are selling solutions that include 25% more of the company’s suite of products and services.