As one of the big players in the UK energy market, npower’s reputation thrives on their ability to innovate and adapt to market trends. To that end, the Industrial and Commercial Unit in npower was seeking a relevant, in-depth and effective professional sales development programme to sharpen the selling skills of their key account management and new business development teams.
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.
Sterling Chase and the RWE npower programme team adapted and tailored proven tools, techniques and processes, integrating them into the Sales Academy programme.
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.
Some of the key outcomes of the npower Sales Academy 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”.
“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, 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, 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, npower