Developing Regional Sales Directors to Improve Overall Team Effectiveness

Case Summary

Our client is an IT services company based in the US with a global footprint, selling IT managed services, hosting, data center services, and IT consulting. With revenues in excess of $1B annually, this company serves a variety of industries: Media, Brands, Financial, and Education. They compete with a variety of hosting and IT managed services companies in a highly competitive and ever expanding industry. They have been a Symmetrics Group client since 2010 and have partnered with us to deliver Top 100/50 Account Planning sessions, new hire training, and specialized sales effectiveness programs.

In 2011 our client was acquired by a classic telecommunications company selling Internet, cable, and telephone and have been integrating the two organizations since that time.

Business Challenge

All of the global sales reps in the organization reported to a team of roughly 35 Regional Sales Directors (RSDs). The RSDs were a fairly experienced team with sales and leadership backgrounds mostly in the IT space. The client had a need to further develop the leadership and coaching skills of this team, which led to an investment in Situational Leadership II®(Ken Blanchard Companies); however, the program needed to be customized to better suit the role of an RSD. As a result, the company engaged Symmetrics Group to accomplish two things: Customize and deliver a full day workshop applying the SL II® concepts to the RSD role and engage in post 1:1 coaching with each of the RSDs to better develop their own abilities to drive performance.

Symmetrics Group Approach

Symmetrics Group took a highly customized approach to addressing these needs. We created a custom program combining the basic concepts of SL II® with the day-to-day role of an RSD and immersed them in exercises to better cement the concepts/application. We also created a coaching playbook that unpacked the skills/competencies required for success in the role of a hunter/farmer, including a detailed methodology for diagnosing competence in the role. This was accomplished by providing a scale from novice to expert and looking closely at the common tendencies/behaviors that help them determine where people are in their development. The playbook also included an HR Chally assessment that the company had already invested in as a backdrop for the core skills used in initial hiring of hunters/farmers. This assessment allowed the RSDs to look at the initial skills required vs. how they are deploying/performing today in the role. In addition each RSD participated in up to 10 coaching calls designed to develop their own coaching skills and address any of the following topics: Team assessments, individual assessments, field coaching, skill building, coaching hunters vs. farmers, sales meetings, creative ways to isolate and build skills, contests, sales call analysis, performance drivers, managing “up,” coaching newer reps, coaching highly experienced reps, account development, and team dynamics. Coaching was completed from April 2013 – December 2013.

Results

Our client realized the following results from this initiative: Consistent development of the RSD team and feedback to Senior Leadership on the common challenges they face in the role; insight to the common issues the RSDs face in developing sales talent; measurement on the level of engagement of the RSD team (number of coaching calls completed); consistent tool for diagnosing sales performance (coaching playbook), which can also be used to develop new RSDs; personal development of RSDs engaged in the coaching program; better development of sales talent, driving improved sales performance across teams/individuals.

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