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RWE npower Sales Academy

Key highlights

  • Proven Selling from the Left® methodology tailored to specific teams and roles.
  • Content tailored to the customer’s marketplace and integrated into RWE npower’s development strategy.
  • Personalised learning and development journeys across desk and field sales teams linked to performance management and personal development planning processes.
  • Applied coaching, training and accreditation linked to performance benchmarks.
  • Applied sales leadership development to ensure embedding and sustained ROI.
  • Direct delivery of 600% ROI within 6 months as a direct result of the programme.
  • Major impact on individual confidence and skills demonstrated via employee feedback.
  • Client testimonials confirms that the approach differentiated npower and resulted in winning at a premium price.

Background

Sterling Chase was chosen as the preferred supplier for the design and delivery of the Sales Academy programme for the RWE npower Industrial and Commercial Unit. The unit provides energy management solutions to RWE npower’s largest public and commercial sector clients.

The Sales Academy programme’s objective was to transform the field and desk-based sales teams from being reactive relationship managers to proactive consultative business development managers. It encompassed desk and field-based account managers and sales specialists from both direct and indirect (third party consultant) sales channels.

Programme format

The format for the programme was as follows:

  • A six-week design phase for tailoring the programme within the context of RWE npower’s marketplace. Content, tools, techniques and integration tailored and completed during this phase.
  • A launch event sponsored and led by senior leaders up to and including sales director.
  • Pre-training assessment profiling of all sales people and sales managers against tailored, role-specific competency benchmarks.
  • Group and individual competency reviews to facilitate the ongoing tailoring of the content, tools, techniques and integration of the programme.
  • Platform learning event 1.
  • – Leading the sales interaction.
    – Relationship development planning (sales people only).
    – Situational leadership and ‘coach-the-coach’ (sales managers only).
    – Inter-module application and consolidation period.

  • Platform learning event 2.
  • – Sales campaign and sales territory planning.
    – Internal stakeholder management.
    – Sales Coaching Master-class.
    – Change Leadership for Sales Managers.

  • Post-training application and consolidation period with coaching from sales managers.
  • Return on investment measurement and post-training accreditation assessment.
  • Accreditation and Graduation.

Crucial to the programme’s success was the level of tailoring and the fact that the programme was applied. All of the coaching and workshops were based on real scenarios to ensure that each sales person’s learning experience would directly improve their performance in the role.

A tailored programme

Sterling Chase and the RWE npower programme team adapted and tailored proven tools, techniques and process adapted that Sterling Chase had previously developed.

The whole programme was tailored to the context of the company and its marketplace. It involved initial skills profiling assessment to provide a personalised learning journey for every individual across the desk and field sales teams. Fist line and second line sales managers and their sector leaders attended a sales leadership cohort which prepared them to lead, coach and manage effectively along the change journey.

Sales people were grouped into cohorts based on their job types and training needs and, on the basis of their initial competency profiling report embarked on a personalised learning journey that involved grouped and one-to-one coaching sessions over a six month period up to their graduation.

Graduation and accreditation for sales people and sales managers was based on evidence of them having applied their learning and successfully delivering the required outcomes.

The importance of the partnership

The programme teams on both sides work together from the start as a partnership with the singular aim of delivering sustainable success. Launch events were planned and co-delivered and the programme had a commitment from senior sponsors right from the outset.

“What was it that Sterling Chase brought that was different? On top of all of the tools, techniques and content, it was the level of support, tailoring to our marketplace, attention to detail and commitment to delivering successful outcomes that all of the coaches brought. They worked in partnership with us, as the customer, to deliver a programme that developed the sales processes, attitudes, competencies and execution of the sales teams. This approach has delivered the change in skill-sets and culture that we wanted for today’s marketplace. Would I recommend them to other companies? Unreservedly, yes.”

Vicki Mustard, Sales Development Manager, RWE npower

“We looked at 10 companies to develop a partnership that could deliver successful programme. My team recommended Sterling Chase because of the tools, techniques, experience and level of tailoring they offered. I was initially sceptical and was leaning towards bigger names in the sales training industry. However, we made exactly the right choice and we are delighted with the partnership and what it has delivered to date. The level of tailoring to meet our needs and the level of support has been great.”

Senior sponsor quote, RWE npower

Benefits

The benefits of the Sales Academy have included:

  • Enabling the I&C solution selling strategy via a new solution selling operating model that has become ‘the npower way of selling’.
  • Account planning and field execution methodology embedded into the culture and processes via tools and techniques that have been tailored to the market and the company.
  • £1.5m incremental new business in the field within six months.
  • 200% increase in cross selling across the desk team within six months and 17% increase in overall profit performance across the desk team in the first year.
  • Individual merit performances, including Raj Bamrah who increased her sales performance by 40% as a direct result of this applied sales development programme.
  • 13% increase in behavioural performance score (as measured against the sales competency matrix benchmark for sales excellence) across field and desk sales teams.
  • Quarterly employee feedback showing ‘excellent progress’ in term of listening to and investment in the development of the people, with many specific quotes from delegates such as ‘The programme gave me important wider life skills’; ‘It made me think about my calls in a completely different way’; and ‘It encouraged me to challenge my existing approach and I can see clear benefits from the new approach’.
  • Feedback from npower’s customers included very positive testimonials such as “absolutely refreshing for an energy company to have such a desire to understand the ins and outs of my business – thank you”.

Testimonials

Some more testimonials from npower personnel:

“I have been thoroughly impressed with Sterling Chase and the commitment they have given to the npower Sales Academy. Their ability to understand the training requirements, organisational drivers and industry context to drive performance sets them streets ahead of other training and development providers. I would have no hesitation in recommending them to any organisation.”

Chris Billing, Head of Indirect Channel Sales, RWE npower

“Sterling Chase have worked with us to create a true partnership model for design and delivery of our sales programme which is now delivering tangible change to a key area of the business. The team at Sterling Chase really get what we want to achieve and we now have a programme that is enabling a shift in culture, behaviours and results.”

Trish Ospedale, Learning & Development Partner, RWE npower

“The level of support from the coaches couldn’t have been better. The tools and techniques really work and really made a huge difference – it’s been great.”

Graham Mitchell, Senior Client Lead, RWE npower