To answer this in clear terms, the Sales and Service Academy is not an answer to the immediate problems but a long-term project. Living in a world wherein we are witnessing an avalanche on the manpower front, the market is changing faster than ever before. The digital transformation has caused disruption. Add to this, the growth of gig economy, evolutions in the skill matrix and a push on greater diversity, multiplied by uncertainties like the pandemic has altered the reality of millions and redefined what’s in store for the future. Under such a situation, an Academy has to be one of your major strategic long-term interventions.
A quality Sales and Service Academy can take your organizational capability index ahead of the curve through the right mix of learning and engagement measures. It uses a blend of classroom training, coaching, digital learning tools, unique engagement plans with completely personalized learning journeys and milestones.
The advantage of using a structured Academy approach lies in its capability that allows a sustained focus on building performance over a sales/service professional’s career, rather than merely focusing on the next quarter or a short-term performance period.
Here are the 5 core strategic objectives of a high-quality Sales and Service Academy
The Sales and Service Academy is a multi-year skill development program that together forms a single competency framework for driving the performance of sales and service professionals over a period of time. The focus area followed by the Sales and Service Academy is outlined as under:
- Nurturing sales and service competencies. When building a Sales and Service Academy, the overarching focus is on fostering competencies over time.
- Benchmarking individual performance and knowledge through a defined competency framework.
- Personalized learning journey instead of generic learning.
- The right mix of mandatory training and voluntary options.
- Ensuring training engages users through knowledge sharing and competitive elements.
- Gathering feedback to ensure the sales/service organization ‘owns’ the integrated program.
The Process: Centum’s 5D Approach
With over 15 years into the L&D industry that includes our experience and expertise in setting up Sales and Service Academies for over 100+ leading brands, here’s a mention of our proprietary process of setting up an Academy that entails the following five steps-
- Deep Dive: This step involves defining goals and objectives for sales and service training. It also defines the way in which training should affect sales force/service team results along with the competencies that need to be developed.
- Diagnostic: It involves the identification of training gaps- actual vs. perceived. A range of assessment tools is used to get an in-depth look at the current state to make appropriate learning intervention recommendations.
- Design: The third step is concerned with the creation of custom sales and service training with the objective of making improvements to the performance environment in areas such as sales and service process, sales management, etc. using performance support tools such as sales playbooks or interactive service guides.
- Delivery: The penultimate step involves delivering, monitoring, and refining learning intervention that blends sales and service training with strong reinforcement that is well-received by participants and immediately applicable to their jobs. It also involves the deployment of enablement methods so that sales training translates into the desired behavioral change.
- Drive Output: The final step demonstrates the effectiveness of sales and service training and its effect on sales and service performance results with an aim to continuously improve the training and performance environment.
Academy – Core Elements
The core elements of an Academy
Competency Framework: The key objective of the Academy is to nurture sales and service competencies. It is critical to understand that every role has a unique set of competencies, behavior, and motivator.
A robust competency model that captures learning needs for individual contributors, emerging leaders, first-time managers, and managers of managers is pivotal to the success of an Academy. A quality Sales and Service Academy serves as the backbone to sales and service performance, with the agility to include new competencies or skills to meet the shifting needs of the market.
Assessment and Certification: The Academy should use a mix of assessment instruments like online tests, assessment centers, and certification. Assessment and certification is continuous process and should help ascertain knowledge gained after every intervention.
Curriculum: Keeping in mind that every individual is unique, the focus here clearly has to be on an individual learning journey that is completely customized. With digital tools at our disposal, it is absolutely easy not only to design a curriculum but also to capture feedback at an individual level.
Coaching, Mentoring, and P2P Learning: Training, mentoring, and coaching is critical to the success of an Academy. To develop future leaders and for team manning large teams, it is imperative to have structured one-on-one and group coaching sessions respectively.
Alongside, it should also factor in Peer to Peer (P2P) learning with a special focus on real-life challenges faced by the professionals.
Business ROI – Without this, the entire objective of an Academy fails. Business ROI holds paramount importance to measure and demonstrate the positive impact of sales and service training. Reflecting exactly how training contributes to the business, encourages learners to dedicate the necessary time and effort towards their learning, and also secures buy-in from executives and managers.
7- Key Program Outcomes
- Achieve higher business growth
- New Hire-Shorter time to productivity
- Higher win rates and lower staff turnover
- Increase in NPS or CSAT Scores
- Career advancement coupled with lower attrition
- Rewarding, motivating and enriching learning environment
- Direct ROI Measurement with linkages to business growth
Business organizations are gradually realizing that learning is a life-long process. Incorporating this age-old maxim in the organizational set up is what a Sales and Service Academy does. Its long-term and well-defined structure caters well to all the learning aspects for a sales and service professional. In short, it is a ‘lifelong’ learning journey that prepares your professionals to deliver their best on a continuous and long-term basis!
If you would like to create an Academy, reach out to our Sales and Service Academy experts to know how we can positively impact your business through our new age, impact-driven Academy model.
Here are some sales and service academy interventions we have delivered for our clients
Academy @ Reckitt Benckiser
Academy @ Delhi International Airport